Further study options and the introduction of a secondary teacher education programme are just some of the developments the new director of Whangārei's education campus would like to see.

Professor Stephen May is the new director of the University of Auckland's Te Tai Tokerau campus in Whangārei, replacing Professor Cindy Kiro who is now the Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori at the university.

The Whangārei campus has existed for 25 years and offers a Bachelor of Education in both an English medium and Māori medium.

May said he would like to see some development and has already introduced post-graduate course options out of the campus next year, with a particular focus on Māori-medium education, and is looking at re-engaging in secondary teacher education in 2020.


"We haven't offered it in a number of years, but we are going to re-offer post graduate programmes based out of Tai Tokerau," he said.

"There's been a lot of growth in bilingual and immersion units across Tai Tokerau and a real sort of community driven demand for it. So we're offering a range of courses that focus on that."

May, who received The McKenzie Award at the recent New Zealand Research in Education Conference for his contribution to educational research, originally trained as a high school teacher and has been involved in teacher education for nearly 30 years.

He is a professor in Te Puna Wānanga - UoA's school of Māori and indigenous education - and said his work is focused on issues to do with diversity, and Māori medium education.

"How did a Pākehā boy from Ōtautahi Christchurch get into that? When I first started teaching, the head of Māori studies - a guy called John Manuel from Ngāti Porou - he took me under his wing as a first time teacher.

"I ended up getting involved in the Māori student teacher group and I got interested from that time. My honours degree was in social linguistics so I've always been interested in language," he said.

May said it was also important that more people were aware that the UoA had a campus in Whangārei.

"That's why I think the potential discussion in what we might do around the campus and its redevelopment is pretty critical. We know politically that Northland, Tai Tokerau, has been a region that's been overlooked," he said.

"One of the key issues that's very clear is the university is absolutely committed to this campus and to continuing it. I see my role as trying to further cement the work of Cindy Kiro and Lindsay Laing around how we might make this a place people are aware of, and that it's their first option if they live here."