Computer Science Tuakana Programme

Computer Science Tuakana Programme

Kia ora, talofa lava, kia orana, mālō e lelei, fakaalofa lahi atu, bula vinaka, mālō nī, fakatalofa atu!

Welcome to the Canvas page of the Computer Science Tuākana programme. You'll have this 'course' in your Courses list because you are a Māori and/or Pasifika student. The programme isn't really a course. It is a space for you and other Māori and Pasifika students as you journey through university and the school.

So what do we offer, and who are we?



First and foremost, the Computer Science Tuākana programme offers a community aimed at Māori and Pasifika students.  The programme's activities revolve around the Computer Science Tuākana room, 301-409 (see the FAQ at the bottom for directions), which is always open to you while the building is open, for you to come to, relax, study, meet friendly faces, build your network, snap up great ideas and the latest gossip and insights, and have your lunch. Some of our top students hang around there, and it's a great place to get out of the cold of winter or the heat of summer during those hours between lectures and labs/tutorials and after/before your lift or bus/train. We also have a limited number of lockers available – contact Daniel ( if you'd like to get one.


Academic Support

Weekly Wānanga (homework/drop-in sessions)

SEMESTER TWO UPDATE: This semester all Wānanga will be in-person, on campus!!! These will be hosted in our Computer Science Tuākana room (301-409). These will be every lecture week, timetable below! Come and get some help with your courses (especially 101, 110, 120, and 130, we'd love to meet some more first years!) or just hang out for a while, no pressure.


Wednesday: 12pm–3pm

Thursday: 11am–2pm

Friday: 12pm–3pm


Our Computer Science Tuākana room, 301-409 (see the FAQ at the bottom for directions), is always open to you while the building is open. This is your room, you can use it to study or relax whenever you like, whether during wānanga or not.

The purpose of wānanga is to give you a supported space in which you can tackle your assignments or revise your lectures. All wānanga are staffed by tutors who understand where you're coming from – they've been there. You can attend for the whole period of any wānanga or for part of it. You can (and are encouraged to) attend all wānanga every week. The tutors in attendance have experience in different courses, but between them they can generally support every course Computer Science has to offer. There'll be some kai available during the wānanga as well.

Test and Exam Revision Wānanga

We will try to offer test and exam revision sessions for COMPSCI 101, 110, 120, 130, and maybe other courses that you request. Please do let us know if you'd be keen on us running a revision session. Highly recommended for that extra grade point or two!

Help with study-related problems

Wanting a general chat about where you might be heading and why? Wanting an advocate to approach your pākehā lecturer about something? Applying for a scholarship and need a reference? Don't be whakamā, talk to us – we can help!

***Notice about Covid-related support***

Below are some financial, equipment, and study-space-related support options if you or someone in your network needs them. Please feel free to email Daniel ( if you are having trouble accessing these.

Support services for students

Most on-campus activities will be in remote delivery mode at Alert Level 2 and above, with few exceptions. The Kate Edger Information Commons (KEIC) will be open for students who do not have a suitable study environment or equipment at home to access a quiet study space or a computer. Loan laptops and Wi-Fi devices are available for eligible students to support online learning, with details available on the student technology support website. 

University related financial support:

Student emergency fund:

AUSA hardship grant:


The Computer Science Tuākana Team

Tuākana Tutors

Our Tuākana tutors are the people you'll probably be dealing with most frequently – hopefully at least on a weekly basis. They run the wānanga, are available to meet on request, and can answer questions/solve problems/provide advice via email or other online channels. They are all students too, so they really get where you're coming from, feel free to ask them anything. Our 2021 Tuākana tutors are:

Alexander Swain

Alexander Swain

Alex is a postgraduate student studying Logic and Computation, having completed a BA/BSc in Computer Science, Logic and Computation, Philosophy, and Psychology. He's been a Computer Science Tuākana tutor since 2015 (which is when this old picture of him is from)! He'd love to talk to you about logic or philosophy of mind as well as computer science and is also happy to help you with degree planning and choosing your courses. Alex is an Auckland local, having lived here almost his entire life, though he has familial ties to Muriwhenua up north.

Alex can be reached at:

Grace Thompson

Grace Thompson

Kia Orana! My name is Grace and I am a BSc student majoring in Computer Science and Logic and Computation. I took a bit of an indirect path to university but I am so glad I’ve ended up here! I was born and raised in Auckland but love visiting my family back in the Cook Islands. I hope to one day visit the islands of Penrhyn and Aitutaki where my grandparents grew up. In my spare time I love reading and swimming. I can help with stage 1 courses.

Grace can be reached at:

Dion Wharerau


Dion can be reached at:

Willow Te Kapaiwaho


Willow can be reached at:


Tuākana Coordinators

We're here to help you when our Tuākana tutors can't, or you need something a bit more complicated such as a support letter for a scholarship, or someone to help you with extensions etc. across multiple courses, or just a general career chat. We're all very approachable – please don't ever hesitate to call us or knock on our doors if you need help or have questions! Your 2021 Tuākana coordinators are:

  • Daniel Wilson

    Daniel Wilson

    Ko Whakarongorua te maunga
    Ko Utakura te awa
    Ko Tauratūmaru te tangata
    Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua, ko Māhuhu-ki-te-Rangi, ko Tainui, ko Te Arawa ngā waka
    Ko Te Taoū, ko Te Ngahengahe, ko Ngāti Toro, ko Ngāti Manaia ngā hapū
    Ko Ngāpuhi, ko Te Roroa, ko Tainui-Pare Hauraki, ko Ngāti Pikiao ngā iwi
    Ko Daniel ahau

    Daniel joined the School of Computer Science in 2020 and is a Tuākana programme coordinator. He has postgraduate degrees in philosophy and in data science from UoA and combines these in his interest in the ethical use of algorithms. He is also a member of Te Mana Raraunga, the Māori Data Sovereignty network (ask him about it sometime!).

    Please stop by Daniel's office to kōrero at any time (building 303S, room 479). Or you can email:

  • David Welch

    David Welch

    David has yet to add his mihi here, despite being part of the programme for many years, but he can be found in room 303S-465, on phone extension 88930, and his email is

  • Damir Azhar

  Damir Azhar  

Damir is from Malaysia and has lived in New Zealand since 1994. His PhD research involved looking at using machine learning algorithms to estimate the development effort of web projects. As a professional teaching fellow his focus is now on computer science education, primarily Stage 1 and Stage 2 computer science papers. Damir's office is room 303-411 and he has an open door policy. You can also contact him at


Frequently asked questions

Where is the Computer Science Tuākana room?

Our Computer Science Tuākana room, 301-409 (which is on level 4 of building 301), is always open to you while the building is open, it is also where all wānanga are held. The room is on the same floor as the School of Computer Science office and it's accessible via the stairs or lifts in any of buildings 301, 302, or 303.

The easiest way to get there is to take the lifts in 301 to level 4 then just head left down the corridor; alternatively, you can head to the School of Computer Science office on level 4 of 303, follow the corridor into the common area, then go over the bridge connecting to 301 and continue down the corridor.

You enrolled me into this 'course'. I didn't ask for it and I'm worried about the extra workload. Can you unenrol me?

Our Tuākana programme isn't a course, it's a support programme for all Māori and Pasifika students that take a Computer Science course. On Canvas, it looks like a course, but it really isn't. There is no extra workload, assignments, tests or exams involved – just lots of support, aroha, and some kai to help you succeed in your 'real' courses. We track attendance only so we can record how many sessions you've been to, so if you want to apply for a scholarship later that requires proof of participation, we have the proof right there. However, if you absolutely don't want to be involved, email Daniel and he'll remove you from the programme.

What if I can't make it to the wānanga because I need to be at home?

We realise that many tēina have family commitments, and we can offer Zoom-based support on request for those of you who can't make it. Email the tutor in question in advance. You can also email us at any time – not just during wānanga – or make an appointment with one of the tutors, or come and see the coordinators in person.

Will there be pre-test and pre-exam wānanga for my course?

For COMPSCI 101 and the core stage 1 courses (110, 120, 130) there probably will be, subject to demand, and maybe for a number of courses at stage 2 as well, let us know if you'd like one for your stage 2 course. We'll announce them closer to the test/exam dates.

I heard that there's kai at the wānanga. What's the story?

When we are in on campus teaching mode, there will be food, e.g., sandwiches, pizza, or sushi, at every wānanga. Please serve yourself – this kai is for you and you don't need to wait for others to have eaten. When the kai arrives, feel free to offer a karakia if you wish.

My friends think that the Tuākana programme is remedial?

That's a common misconception, but it couldn't be further from the truth, at least as far as the abilities and academic performance of our tēina are concerned! Many of our top notch Māori and Pasifika students (we're talking A-grade students here) are part of the programme, and swear by it. It's where their friends are and where they hang out. Not everybody needs help with their assignments, but we all need whānau that support us in our academic endeavours and that give us a safe place to go to and feel understood, where we can laugh and cry and be ourselves.