March 06, 2024

Victoria University of Wellington Creates an Ombuds Service for Staff

In September 2023, Te Herenga Waka, in Wellington, New Zealand, established an Employee Assistance Resolution Services (EARS) Te Rauawa. The new program provides Organizational Ombuds services for staff at the public university: "a confidential, impartial, informal service which can provide independent advice and resolution assistance for workplace issues." (The use of the term "Ombudsman" is limited by law in New Zealand, which may explain the name of the program.) 

This would be the second Organizational Ombuds program at a university in NZ and it duplicates an EARS program at Auckland University of Technology established by Wayne Marriott. A webpage for VUW's EARS program provides this further explanation: 
Te Rauawa, the Māori name for this service, refers to the carefully crafted piece of wood that was secured to the hull of traditional Māori waka (canoes) to raise the height of the sides and help keep water out. Te Rauawa alludes to the core Māori principle of kaitiakitanga (protection) and the spirit of Te Rauawa can be expressed in this whakataukī (proverb): He moana pukepuke ka ekengia e te waka—a rough sea can be navigated. 

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