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by Sam Clark (he/him)


Hoki mai anō, tauira!

The break may be over, but at least there’s a fresh copy of Debate in stands… I hope you all had a chance over the break to relax, party or do whatever’s necessary to blow off some steam and temporarily remove uni from your brain. Because you need to switch off every now and again. In the meantime, we’ve been working behind the scenes to bring you the ‘Matariki’ issue of Debate. Campus has been quiet without you!

I also hope everyone had a chance to celebrate Matariki. It’s a time to reflect, honour those who aren’t with us anymore and spend time with loved ones. It’s also a chance to set some intentions for the year ahead. I was lucky enough to see the whetū in the sky at dawn, which was a first for me.

At Debate, the time since our last issue has given us an opportunity to consider our role as a student magazine. We’ve been reflecting on our journey, where we fit in, which stories we tell and how we represent tauira at AUT. Improving our Te Ao Māori coverage doesn’t happen overnight, let alone in one issue. So, we hope to start with some genuine long-term goals and commitments, to ensure that Debate covers Te Ao Māori in a meaningful way, and makes it a safe place to do so.

As Matariki enters the public sphere in Aotearoa, and becomes more widely celebrated, we should be mindful of how holidays can become commercialised, and stray from their cultural origins. Our writers explore this in more detail throughout this issue, as well as ways to honour Matariki in a dignified way. Looking ahead, for the second half of 2023, we can all reflect on how we can be better treaty partners - there’s a lot we can learn and benefit from.

Now, as we race towards the election, it’s also a good opportunity to question wider capitalist systems, especially in education. The oldest debate (hehe) at university is questioning whether your time here is an education, or a ‘meal ticket’… Keep in mind that back in the day, university was free and students were up in arms when fees were raised to $1,250 a year in 1989 (can you imagine?) It’s looking pretty dire now, as student debt in Aotearoa reaches $16 billion, and universities lay off staff en masse and cut courses. My time at uni began with the closing of the Elam Fine Arts Library, widely considered the best in the southern hemisphere, and in my second year as the editor of Debate, this trend is not slowing down anytime soon. It’s a sad reality that ultimately, universities are run like a business and our education is mostly preparing us to work for the man.

All that aside, you’ve all reached the halfway point of 2023, so ka pai! We’ll see you all in a fortnight. Remember that Debate is powered by your voices, so keep sending your thoughts, writing and art through!


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