Connecting our students from the “space in-between”

Mr George Greig1, Ms Tanya Savage2

1Tuākana Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland 1010, New Zealand,, 2Tuākana Arts, Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland 1010, New Zealand,

The University of Auckland’s Tuākana program has supported Māori and Pacific (MPI) students for decades through pedagogically relevant learning environments. Tuākana employs senior students to guide undergraduate MPI students through university in an academic and pastoral capacity. Despite the success of this program, today’s increasing state of social expansion and the depersonalisation of learning environments has weakened the relationships of the effective parties involved . At Tuākana Arts, a subset of the Tuākana community, we tasked ourselves with optimising the integration of student mentors and teaching staff. Our conclusions suggest that the Tuākana team needs an intermediary party, someone who knows the role and understands its institutional matrix. This was the starting point for the Tuākana team leader – a school specific intermediary that streamlines its student mentors while communicating their activity to the relevant bodies. This presentation will convey how the team leader role addresses many issues inherent in the modern student engagement sphere. Using our own experiences, we will illustrate how a team leader operates in an innovative “space in-between”. The role possesses an ability to slide on a spectrum between flexibility and procedure, an effective nuance we trust our audience will both understand and apply. We believe it empowers student engagement through communication, delegation and integration and we aspire to show this year’s student engagement community how a team leader will benefit their own endeavours.


George is a fourth-year undergraduate student completing a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Laws at the University of Auckland. He is an active advocate and speaker for the rights and affairs of students on campus. Examples of his work include heading the ‘I, Too, Am, Auckland’ initiative , acting as a student representative in the Faculties of Arts and Law and presenting to first-year students throughout the year. During his university career, George has worked for the Tuākana program mentoring undergraduate Māori and Pacific students in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Auckland. This year George acted as the Tuākana team leader, a new intermediary role that supports the activity of its mentors. His transition from Tuākana mentor to team leader has granted him a powerful insight into the ubiquity and importance of such a role. As a student, an experienced mentor and a presenter, George seeks to present his perspectives on his team’s efforts and how they may be replicated in the wider student engagement space.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

Conference Managers

Please contact the team at Conference Design with any questions regarding the conference.