A new scholarship at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha University of Canterbury will support and help first-year Maori and Pacific students navigate university life.
Deputy vice-chancellor academic Catherine Moran says the Takere programme is part of UC's commitment to addressing the inequities that Māori and Pacific students face.
"We're already seeing how it creates a sense of community, builds on their cultural and community connections, and provides them with opportunities to connect with Māori and Pacific academics and support staff on campus."
Takere also provides participants with meals, a weekly allowance, a fees-free education course on the theory of learning, social and cultural activities and the opportunity to participate in the UC Māori leadership programme, Paihere, and the Pacific Mentoring Programme.
Up to 40 students have been staying at Ilam Apartments accommodation for the four-week programme which will wrap up today, but will be supported throughout the year.
Assistant vice chancellor Māori, Pacific and Equity, Dr Darryn Russell, says one of the most important aspects of Takere is having whanaungatanga (connections) with other Māori and Pacific students and staff.
"Takere represents a new approach to support the success of talented Māori and Pacific taiohi, and aims to disrupt UC in order to better respond to diverse learners at the institution.
"We want all our students to feel part of UC and to know they have a network of people they can turn to if they need help or support. Takere is a way of fostering that at the very start of their UC experience."
Favor Leavasa, 17, was deputy head boy at Catholic Cathedral College, in Christchurch, and will study criminal justice and psychology with the goal of becoming a police officer.
He says the programme "really set me up for the reality of what university life is like".
"I think university is totally different to high school, you have to manage your own time. No one's going to be there to tell you what you should do at a certain time. It's your own journey."
The 2021 Takere programme is a trial that will be regularly evaluated and adapted throughout the year based on feedback from the students taking part.