Celebrating Massey's inaugural Rainbow Orientation

Thursday 16 March 2023

Semester One saw the first-ever Rainbow Orientation, led by Rainbow and Takatāpui Wellbeing Adviser Ellyn Rose Smith Whatley and Diversity and Inclusion Advisor Connor McLeod.

From left: Student Wellbeing Advisor Aaron Yan, Student Success Advisor Deb Lee, Dr Phoebe Fletcher, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor Connor McLeod and Rainbow and Takatāpui Wellbeing Advisor Ellyn Rose Smith Whatley.

Last updated: Thursday 16 March 2023

Across all three campuses, almost 600 students rallied to join in the fun, with eight events including initiatives like Queer-aoke, Gunch (lunch, but gay) and Queer Trivia Night for the distance community.

Diversity and Inclusion Advisor and event organiser Connor McLeod says the orientation is pivotal in showing support for our marginalised student communities.

“We know that one of the biggest challenges for rainbow and takatāpui tauira are feelings of isolation and disconnection from their wider community, which leads to a number of mental health disparities. Our aim is to have our people feel more connected and welcomed to the university, and to empower them along their student journey.”

With Sunday marking the end of Rainbow Orientation, Massey volunteers took to Coyle Park in Tāmaki Makaurau for Auckland’s Big Gay Out. Festival goers were greeted with pronoun pins, rainbow face painting, brochures, fridge magnets and tote bags highlighting the newly launched social media platform Kāhui Irarau.

Kāhui Irarau is an online space created by and for rainbow and takatāpui communities to connect. The platform will cover everything rainbow at Massey, from event announcements to recent university studies highlighting research within the queer space.

Kāhui Irarau is an indigenous-led initiative centred around the whakataukī provided by Associate Professor Hone Morris:

“E Koekoe te kōkō, E ketekete te kākā, E kūkū te kererū. The tūī squawks, the kākā chatters, the kererū coos.”

The proverb highlights our native birds as motifs of our people. With the distinct features of each bird, they are all recognised individually in our taiao (environment) with their many colours and sounds. They represent the diversity and natural state of our rainbow and takatāpui peoples in this space.

You can find more information on our Kāhui Irarau platform here or contact rainbow@massey.ac.nz.

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New social platform to connect with takatāpui and rainbow communities launched

Thursday 9 February 2023

Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa Massey University has launched a new platform to help connect with its takatāpui and rainbow communities and create a welcoming space to engage with staff and students.

Kāhui Irarau image.