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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Your Lifes Work, Mahi Ora, a new phenomenon in adult distance education for New Zealand

SusanWetere Bryant.

The programme was developed by Susan Wetere Bryant who entered into a joint venture arrangement with Te Wananga o Aotearoa to operationalise the programme. Te Wananga o Aotearoa is an indigenous technical college established with its own recognition under the NZ 1990 Education Act. As an institution it shares the same funding and educational policies as Universities and Polytechnics in NZ however it focusses on education programmes in Maori cultural topics, language and technical education.
Through the launch of Mahi Ora Te Wananga o Aotearoa adopted many of the innovations inherent in the mode of delivery and philosophy of education and in two years has become the largest tertiary institution in New Zealand. Te Wananga o Aotearoa in 2002 provided education for 45 thousand students, in the year 1999 it had 2500 students. Te Wananga o Aotearoa translated from Maori means the University of New Zealand. It is currently larger in student numbers and revenue than New Zealands largest University.
There have been many contributing factors to the phenomenon, and in this workshop we hope to outline all of these with the desire to enable other insitutions to discover how they could serve greater numbers of the population through innovative thinking about social, cultural and economic education targeting socially and economically isolated adults, and communities.


SusanWetere Bryant  (New Zealand)
Founding Director
Te Wa Research Unit Chief Executive Office Te Wananga o Aotearoa University of New Zealand
Te Wananga o Aotearoa Translated to University of New Zealand

I am the founding director of the Mahi Ora distance learning programme in New Zealand targeting the social, cultural and economic development needs of Maori people. In two years we have enroled 27,000 adult learners and started a new learning phenomenon never before seen in NZs tertiary education sector total turnover for the programme only was 33mil. The programme and its innovations has made a previously small indigenous college now the largest tertiary insitution in NZ. We have more students enroled than our largest University, and have recently launched a European targeted programme in a joint venture with the largest distance Polytechnic in New Zealand. I am 35 years old, widowed mother of two, I have degrees in Chemistry, Preclinical Medicine, Adult education and a Masters in Educational Administration. I am the director of five companies in research and multimedia development, work internationally in support of indigenous tribal colleges and was part of a five year development to establish the world indigenous higher educational authority. I am sorry I cant access my CV or photo off this computer but if you can email me a direct address I can send them on?

  • social, cultural and economic education
  • adult distance education
  • New Zealand
  • Education phenomenon
  • Your Lifes work
  • Mahi Ora
  • Maori education
  • Transforming social, cultural and economic conditions
Person as Subject
  • Susan Wetere Bryant

(60 min Workshop, English)