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Whakatau held to welcome 800 Ara students

25 Feb 2019

Starting tertiary study can be a daunting prospect for new students, while those who are returning to study this year are one-step closer to completion.

To welcome all students to Ara for 2019 a whakatau will be held at each of the main campuses, with Christchurch’s ceremony attended by 800 students this morning, Monday 25 February.

The whakatua is an opportunity to “set out values which hold the relationship between students and Ara together,” Te Marino Lenihan, Ara’s Kaiārahi said.

Lenihan invited all the students to come up and engage in a traditional Māori hongi with the Ara staff. “The hongi is a sharing of our breath, and a symbol of our unity,” he explained.


Ara staff and students hongi at the whakatau

Ara Chief Executive, Tony Gray greeted the students saying it is an “absolute privilege to be the Chief Executive of Ara.”

Gray spoke of the whakatau being held on a rainy day, and the symbolism of rain helping plants to grow, just as Ara will nurture each of its learners to grow and develop throughout their educational journey.

“It’s also about what you, the students, bring to your own learning experience and what legacy you leave behind,” Gray said, before saying that he is looking forward to seeing each of the students graduate in the future.

On Wednesday 27 February, Ara will welcome South Canterbury students at their whakatau, to be held at the Arthur Street, Timaru Campus.