SIT Academic Year Begins
Publish Date: Friday, 23 February 2024
SIT Academic Year Begins
SIT international students Siddharth Santhosh (left) and Hari Krishnan Satheesh (right) join in the fun and challenge each other on Blaze Pods, at Monday’s activities for Welcome to SIT week.
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SIT | Te  Pūkenga campuses around the south are once again buzzing with energy and activity as the summer break finishes and the 2024 academic year begins this week. 

The Invercargill campus welcomed students back this week with a focus on fun, games and food, providing plenty of opportunities for the student body to meet and mingle, break the ice with new classmates, and gather information to help them settle in and establish new routines. Campuses in Gore, Christchurch, Balclutha (Telford) and Queenstown also began their programmes this week.

A pōwhiri was held in the main administration block on Monday 19 February to formally welcome back all staff and students, followed by morning tea. The pōwhiri started with a karanga (call) by SIT’s Student Support Pastoral Coordinator, Gina Nathan, with a reply by Whaea Lisa Tito. For SIT, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa (TWOA) kaiako, Henry Johnson led the whaikōrero (formal speech), and was supported by another kaikōrero (speaker), Joe Waru-Slade, TWOA kaiako. Te Wānanga o Aotearoa kaiako, Waiheke Hauiti, was the kaikōrero for new staff and students.

Guest speaker, Chris Ramsay, Chief Executive of the Invercargill Licensing Trust, said the ILT are proud of their ongoing alignment with SIT, “for the benefit of our community”. From providing seed funding of more than $1.7 million, to helping set up the Zero Fees Scheme, to trade scholarships, to their most recent contribution of $120,000 to establish the ILT Academy Zero Fees English Scholarship. Mr Ramsay also had some words of wisdom to the attending students: “Be open minded – and be a sponge to learning,” He noted that in life, in general, but particularly when studying, “you get back what you put in”.  

Daryl Haggerty, SIT Operations Lead, said it was fantastic to see so many new ākonga  (students) attend the pōwhiri this year, to be able to experience its significance    before heading to the entertainment - live music, provided by ākonga, and food and games run by kaimahi (staff).  “A special thanks to Te Wananga o Aotearoa, and I really appreciated the preparation and delivery of the day by our kaimahi, it was a great success.”

Once the pōwhiri programme concluded, SIT Staff from nearly all departments, manned the activities at a colourful, carnival-style event at the trades ‘shed’. There was music, food, and games such as the horizontal bungee, testing the strength and skills of new and returning students. As one attendee said, it was “a welcoming and happy atmosphere – perfect for the first day back.”

The Community Stallholders day, held on Tuesday in the same location, was also a hit.  A variety of local businesses and organisations were present to showcase services available in Southland to support the students while they are living in the city. Mid-week saw a visit from team members of the Southland Stags for the rugby enthusiasts.  Each day the SIT information stands are out to help students orient themselves.

The event culminates tomorrow at Te Rau o te Huia, centre for creative industries, with a visit from Southern Steel team members who will be chatting with the students, and there will be a pizza stall.