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Literacy research partnership formed

5 August 2004

Niki Murray

Excited about the combined literacy project are (clockwise from left) Aaron Te Aramakutu, Aneta Rawiri, Judith Timpany, Su Olssen, Niki Culligan, Alison Bourne, Frank Sligo, Gail Harrison, Associate Professor Margie Comrie, Bob Dempsey and Sally Patrick.
courtesy of the Wanganui Chronicle
Story courtesy of the Wanganui Chronicle, Thursday 5 August 2004

Another step in a three year journey was made yesterday at a meeting between Massey University and Wanganui community researchers.

Massey University's Department of Communication and Journalism has joined forces with the Wanganui community to research links between literacy and employment and potential solutions.

Its aims include getting a better understanding of New Zealand's relatively low attainment in adult literacy, and develop solutions for communities and policy-makers to maximise the benefits of this country's growing investment in adult literacy.

Funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology for a period of three years, the research's findings would enhance the well being of the community, Wanganui District Library manager Sally Patrick said.

"It is an exciting project. The Wanganui community's strength in working together and finding practical solutions has made it the ideal choice for what is a very significant study," Ms Patrick said.

"Strong communities are those in which people have a sense of connection and mutual support.

"People who have problems with literacy often are unable to fully engage in their community."

Difficulty in filling in forms, writing applications for jobs or reading the local newspaper are all ways of being connected that are denied to those with low literacy."

The study is supported by a group of prominent community stakeholders including the Wanganui District Council, Whanganui Iwi, Wanganui police, Enterprise Wanganui, WINZ, Whanganui Community Foundation, Community Corrections and Wanganui District Library.

Yesterday's meeting was attended by its project leader Associate Professor Frank Sligo of Massey University and its researchers Su Olssen , Niki Culligan and Associate Professor Margie Comrie; Te Puna Matauranga O Whanganui manager Aaron Te Aramakutu and its researcher Aneta Rawiri; Whanganui Community Foundation chief executive Judith Timpany; Literacy Aotearoa Wanganui manager Alison Bourne and its researcher Gail Harrison Wanganui District Library learning service manager Bob Dempsey and Ms Patrick.


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