Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University graduate numbers more than quintuple in four years

09 December 2022 | News

As Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University celebrates the graduation of another high-achieving cohort of young scholars, the future of tamariki seeking lifelong learning couldn’t be more positive

Launched in 2019 with a graduating cohort of 151 students, Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University has this year presented 830 certificates of achievement to its graduating cohort.

The stunning result represents an increase in graduate numbers of more than 450% in just four years, an especially pleasing outcome given the considerable pandemic-related disruptions experienced in 2020 and 2021.

The 2022 Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University graduates, aged between seven and 14, received their certificates in front of crowds of whānau and friends at a series of graduation ceremonies held over four nights (21, 22, 28 and 29 November) at the James Hay Theatre, Christchurch Town Hall.

The tamariki were presented with their graduation certificates by Emeritus Professor James McWha, Vice-Chancellor Professor Grant Edwards and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Student Life Damian Lodge from Lincoln University, and Professor Letitia Fickel and Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Professor Catherine Moran from University of Canterbury.

A total of 1126 tamariki participated in Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University in 2022 from 34 schools and rūnanga across Christchurch, Selwyn, Hurunui and Waimakariri Council areas.

Unique in Aotearoa, Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University is delivered by a partnership between University of Canterbury and Lincoln University, and is part of an internationally renowned outreach programme which aims to foster lifelong learning among young people and raise their aspirations for higher education.

The tamariki join the programme through their school or rūnanga, and on joining they receive a Passport to Learning.

The tamariki fill their passports with hours of learning outside the classroom by visiting learning destinations, taking part in university campus experiences and engaging in online activities. This year the participating tamariki could visit over 100 learning destinations in Canterbury, including libraries, museums, galleries and wildlife parks.

390 Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University scholars visited the Lincoln University campus on 30 June and 1 July 2022 to engage in a range of experiences designed to broaden their interests, demystify the university environment and spark an interest in a tertiary education.

The Lincoln campus activities included tamariki making unique shapes from food with the 3D food printers, understanding the different flammability of plants through a plant BBQ activity and a range of other activities looking at insects, soil, sport science and more.

Similarly, 470 tamariki visited the University of Canterbury campus on 28 and 29 June 2022.

Lincoln University Pro Chancellor, Emeritus Professor James McWha, has been Patron of Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University since its inception, and was first introduced to the Children’s University programme in his role as Vice-Chancellor of the University of Adelaide.

Professor McWha was instrumental in establishing Te Mātāpuna Mātātahi | Children’s University in Aotearoa, and he believes “its greatest impact has been creating opportunities for all young people to experience new learning for life opportunities and to think about what they might do with the rest of their lives”.

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