First marae-led Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia recipients build indigenous connections in Japan
First published 23/03/2023 on enz.govt.nz
The scholarship enabled eight members of Te Piruru Papakainga Marae, Ngāti Maniapoto to travel to Japan for six weeks, including a customised internship that connected them with the country's indigenous Ainu people of northern Japan.
The first marae-led Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia recipients (members of Te Piruru Papakainga, Ngāti Maniapoto) visited Japan for a six-week visit that included a customised internship that connected them with indigenous Ainu organisations and villages in Hokkaido.
ENZ’s Manukura Chief Advisor Māori, Ed Tuari and Director of Education – Japan, Misa Kitaoka, welcomed the scholarship recipients in Tokyo in early January.
This is a great outcome for the Prime Minister’s Scholarship Programme, which has seen an increase in Māori participation. The latest round of applications for the scholarships saw an increase in Māori participation to 22 percent in 2022 from 5 percent from 2016 to 2019.
ENZ is eager to continue partnering with iwi, marae and whānau groups to raise Māori participation in the Prime Minister’s Scholarship programme, particularly in the current group round that opened for applications in March.
ENZ’s Manukura Chief Advisor Māori, Ed Tuari said it was a privilege to participate in what is an important milestone for building indigenous connections between Māori and the Ainu people of Japan.
“This is a significant achievement for ENZ Manapou ki te Ao. I want to acknowledge this collective achievement as we break new ground with this marae-led group of PMSA recipients.
“It’s hugely encouraging to see the increase of Māori participation in the latest round of the scholarships. This is a demonstration of ENZ ‘walking the talk’ to ensure Māori are better represented in opportunities to share and learn on the global stage, as well as promote indigenous to indigenous exchanges.”
ENZ’s Director Scholarships Carla Rey Vasquez said she was excited to see the growth and learnings that these programmes would bring to the wider whānau and iwi.
“Our scholarship recipients cherished the opportunity to connect with indigenous communities in Japan, and they particularly appreciated the value of reciprocity as well as the importance of generational knowledge being shared along.
“We look forward to continuing to raise Māori participation in the Prime Minister’s Scholarship programme.”
The latest visit by scholarship recipients has also been a good opportunity to enrich the existing education connections between New Zealand and Japan under a Memorandum of Understanding between New Zealand and the Hokkaido Government, which was renewed in 2022.
The customised internship that saw scholarship recipients visit Ainu villages and organisations, was organised by the Hokkaido Government and the Hokkaido Board of Education.
ENZ’s Director of Education – Japan, Misa Kitaoka, said the visit by scholarship recipients was timely as Japan starts to promote Ainu history, language and culture.
“The Ainu people received official recognition as ‘indigenous people of northern Japan’ from the Japanese government in 2019. As the government begins to promote Ainu history, language, and culture in Japan, Ngāti Maniapoto’s visit to Hokkaido was timely and appreciated by the Ainu community to learn about how New Zealand society has embraced Māori language and culture.”