Press Release – Bay of Plenty Polytechnic
It’s a proud but nostalgic moment that marked the end of an era for Bay of Plenty Polytechnic as they bid farewell to revered kaumātua, teacher and friend, Tamati Tata. Bay of Plenty Polytechnic farewells esteemed kaumātua and colleague
22 December 2011
It’s a proud but nostalgic moment that marked the end of an era for Bay of Plenty Polytechnic as they bid farewell to revered kaumātua, teacher and friend, Tamati Tata.
After almost two decades of outstanding contribution to teaching, staff development and improving the educational achievements of Māori, the Polytechnic’s highly esteemed ‘Matua’ Tamati is embracing well deserved retirement.
As many of his peers pointed out in an emotional farewell celebration on Monday, Tamati’s overarching ethos for ‘inclusiveness’ and his genuine love and respect for all has had significant impact on staff and students alike.
Age has never been a barrier for learning and Tamati set a fine example when, at almost sixty five years old, he gained a Bachelor of Māori Studies (Hons) in 2006. He is currently within reach of completing his Masters, both with the University of Waikato.
“Tamati’s passion for education and increasing the knowledge and understanding of Māori history and tikanga has been a lifelong commitment and will be sorely missed,” said Dr Alan Hampton, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic’s Chief Executive.
Tamati first joined the Polytechnic in 1992 as a part-time tutor in Māori studies. In his most recent appointment in 2007 as Mātauranga Advisor, Tamati tutored across a wide range of programmes with a particular focus on raising the bicultural awareness of students and staff to improve student retention and success.
Tamati’s extensive knowledge of Tauranga Moana history, in particular the events of Gate Pa and the intricacies of Mauao (The Mount), have been of great benefit for a large number of his students and peers. He is also a consummate orator about his own marae at Huria, his Ngaitamarawhao hapu, his Ngati Ranginui iwi and of course Tauranga Moana.
As Kuku Wawatai, Director Education and Māori Development at the Polytechnic said “Tamati is truly bicultural and has been infectious in his ability to engage students, learners and visitors to the fascination and practicalities of Māori world view as a real option for everyone.”
As Tamati reiterated in an emotionally charged farewell speech, he leaves the Polytechnic physically but as with many of his influential whanau who have gone before him he will always be spiritually tied to Te Kuratini o Poike.
Tamati’s uncle, master-carver Tuti Tukaokao, designed the striking stainless steel monument that stands proudly beside the Polytechnic’s library and student services building, Te Aongahoro. He is also related to the distinguished scholar, educator and community leader Dr Maharaia Winiata (Ngati Ranginui, Bay of Plenty) whose name adorns the Polytechnic / University of Waikato partnership building at the Windermere campus. It is also his mother’s own weave design that adorns the paved entrance to the Polytechnic’s Wharenui – Pomare.
E te hoa, kei whea mai he kōrero hei mihi ki ngā taonga whakahirahira kua ōhaki mai e koe ki a tātou.