School of Psychology - Leading psychological science, scholarship and practice

Māori and Pacific students

Kia Ora, Talofa Lava, Bula Vinaka, Kia orana, Fakalofalahi atu, Malo e lelei.

School of Psychology Tuākana programme

Our Tuākana tutoring and mentoring programme is designed to help Māori and Pasifika students achieve the best possible grades via tutorials, workshops, study groups and sessions with tutors and mentors. Tuākana (senior students) and teina (newer students) work together to achieve these results.

What we offer

Tuakana logo

Increased support and encouragement

  • Stage I, II and III Psychology Tuākana Laboratories.
  • Tutors/mentors throughout the semester to assist with lab reports, psychology course-related problems and pastoral care.
  • Revision sessions for tests and exams, and writing sessions.

Increased communication and access to resources

  • The Kohanga Potu is a student space solely reserved for Māori and Pasifika students in psychology. This can be found in Science Centre Building 301, level 1, Room 198.
  • Shared kitchen facilities and a comfortable breakout space.
  • Access to a personal library of Stage I, II and III text books and other useful reading material, as well as computer and printing facilities.
  • Facebook page, and a CANVAS group for Māori and Pasifika students only.
  • Tuākana phone communications so you can receive reminders about upcoming events, workshops and writing sessions.
  • The Tuākana app.

Increased networks

  • Get to know more students and make friends at your own level and above.
  • Our Kaupapa Māori lecturers (Jade Le Grice, Shiloh Groot, Margaret Dudley) are available to discuss anything related to Māori Psychologies.
  • A Pasifika lecturer (Sam Manuela) is available to discuss anything related to Pacific Psychologies.

Increased enjoyment and opportunity to succeed

  • Overall, student pass rates for mentored Māori and Pasifika students in Stage I Psychology are higher than those of non-mentored students.
  • Students are more connected and find the University experience more enjoyable.
  • Students have immediate access to scholarship information and other opportunities.
  • Students interact more with other students, increasing their peer networks within the University.
  • This support system for students assists with both academic challenges and pastoral care (general wellbeing). 

Student feedback

We ran an evaluation asking students who were enrolled in the Tuākana tutorial streams (at Stage I and II) what they thought of these. Overall, the ratings on all questions were above average, with comments such as:

  • “Tuākana tutorials were effective for my learning.”
  • “The smaller group was easy to learn with, and it made it easier to be comfortable with the others in the group.”
  • “As always, the other people in the tutorial made me feel welcome to voice my opinion.”
  • “Being with other Māori and Pacific students, growing a bond with them and helping each other study together until we understand everything.”

Tuākana programme coordinators

Sonia Pope

Sonia Pope

Science Centre - Building 303, Level 1, Room 165
Tel: (09) 923 7198

Office Hours Tuesday 11am-4pm; Wednesday 10am - 2pm



Hineatua Parkinson

Science Centre - Building 303, Level 1, Room 165
Tel: (09) 923 7198



Postgraduate opportunities in Māori and Pacific psychology

There is also a network of postgraduate Māori and Pasifika students studying across various areas of psychology; from indigenous to clinical, organisational, cognitive and health psychology. These students are connected to the Māori and Pacific Psychology Research Group.

Find more information on the Māori and Pacific Psychology Research Group.