Radio Free never takes money from corporate interests, which ensures our publications are in the interest of people, not profits. Radio Free provides free and open-source tools and resources for anyone to use to help better inform their communities. Learn more and get involved at

RNZ News

Auckland University of Technology’s new vice-chancellor — the country’s first Pasifika educator in the top role at a university — is determined to break down inequalities among students in the sector.

Professor Damon Salesa, formerly at the University of Auckland, started in his new role this week.

He told RNZ’s Nine to Noon programme that improving the experience of student groups that had not previously been well-catered for would be AUT’s top priority under his leadership.

“The reason I want to be a vice-chancellor is because I don’t think universities have made this the priority it needs to be,” he said.

“We will measure ourselves by how our Māori students do, how our working class students do, how our Pacific students do, and how they feel, because actually a positive outcome isn’t just a qualification.”

He said the covid-19 pandemic illuminated inequities in education, with online learning hindering many students’ ability to participate.

“That mode of teaching had an inequality in it … the digital divide is a real thing.”

Professor Salesa said universities needed to be held to a higher standard of fair outcomes for all students.

This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.

This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.


[1] New Zealand | RNZ News ➤[2] Damon Salesa - The University of Auckland ➤[3] AUT’s new academic head seeks to build relationships around Pacific | Asia Pacific Report ➤[4] AUT’s new academic head seeks to build relationships around Pacific | Asia Pacific Report ➤[5] Pacific scholar Dr Damon Salesa named AUT’s next vice-chancellor | Asia Pacific Report ➤[6] ‘Transform lives’ with education, new vice-chancellor for AUT tells Pasifika | Asia Pacific Report ➤