'Ahopanilolo Tech Institute and MIT sign partnership

Press Release:

MoC signing secures MIT’s partnership with ATI and the Tongan Community

Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) has signed a Memorandum of Co-operation (MoC) with ‘Ahopanilolo Technical Institute, Tonga (ATI) to encourage pathways for Tongan students to continue their studies at MIT’s Faculty of Consumer Services.

This will be the first time MIT has had the opportunity to create a mutually benefitting relationship with a Tongan institution.

The relationship aims to promote and enhance educational opportunities for Tongan communities in Counties Manukau, New Zealand and in the Pacific nation of Tonga.

MIT’s Faculty of Consumer Services Dean, Cherie Freeman, visited Tonga earlier this year to be a panellist for a review of the hospitality sector. It was during this time that she visited ATI.

The MoC, signed by MIT’s Director of External Relations, Dr Stuart Middleton, and Sister Kieoma Finau, will allow both parties to explore the opportunities afforded to them through collaboration and the development of joint initiatives.

Potential initiatives may include programme articulation between MIT and ATI, sharing of teaching materials, staff development and general advice and assistance to support advancement in culinary, hospitality and hairdressing sectors.

Cherie Freeman says, “We will look at the key skills that are needed in the Tongan community and then work with ATI to develop suitable programmes of study”.

“Currently the programmes at MIT are tailored to New Zealand industry needs. In order to improve industry standards in Tonga we will have to develop customised qualifications for ATI that pathway onto MIT qualifications,” she says.

Dr Stuart Middleton says, “MIT is enriched by this relationship and we are looking forward to growing and flourishing with great mutual benefit.”

“We don’t see this as a one-way partnership and both parties stand to gain knowledge and development,” he says.

“We hope to be considered the New Zealand base for ATI and this relationship will prove to be an important partner in our Tongan relationships.”

Sister Kieoma Finau says, “We are so grateful for the chance to have a working relationship with MIT.”

“This partnership will open the door for us to develop our programmes and give opportunities for our students to gain higher qualifications and hopefully experience greener pastures in New Zealand,” she says.

“We did not think our little school would come this far so we are grateful to MIT for seeing promise in us and we feel so blessed.”

Toleafoa Sina Aiolupotea, Manager Pasifika Development, is excited and looking forward for the advancement of the education of our Tongan communities, both here in Manukau and in Tonga.

Tongan Senior advisors for MIT, Ikani Fifita, Anna Tolia Ulakai-Cullen Senior Lectures Faculty of Education and Social Sciences  and Monte Payne, Senior Lecturer Faculty of Engineering are working closely with Sina and are supportive of the relationships MIT has with our local Tongan communities in the region and look forward to stronger relationships so as to fulfil the educational aspirations of our local communities

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