Kia ora koutou! Welcome back and congratulations on studying at New Zealand’s top ranked university (in terms of money spent on lavish Parnell housing). To our freshers, nau mai, haere mai to our University of Auckland whānau.
For all of us, 2020 was a tough year. Vice Chancellor, Dawn Freshwater, had to relinquish her $5 million home, and Munchy Mart upped the price of its muffins to $3. But above all, what hit us hardest was learning to adapt our lives to COVID.
For returning students, your university experience would have been severely affected last year, and for our new students, you may not have had the final year you wished for leaving high school. The University itself had no enviable experience; in a nightmare year, they were caught surveilling students on social media, buying a $5 million house for the Vice-Chancellor, prompting everyone to ask, “hang on, can they do that with students’ money?” And when it came to teaching delivery methods, the University was keener to swap than a seven-year old Pokémon card trader, flipping from in-person to remote learning several times.
But nevertheless, we’ve all made it through to 2021 – a new year, and a clean slate. The new year presents Craccum with a new editorial role, the Te Ao Māori Editor (sponsored by, but editorially independent from Stuff – Pou Tiaki), to bolster Māori student representation, which has lacked in the 93 years that Craccum has been around. The magazine itself has felt the effects of COVID too. Earlier this year, Craccum defended a budget cut that would have resulted in us becoming a fortnightly publication. Despite Craccum publishing a lot of bullshit, the stuff that student media does is a vital part of democratising the student voice, holding power to account, and giving students a sense of community. So here we are, all 40 pages for you, every week of the semester, and we’re here to stay.
At the time of writing this editorial at least, it’s a relief that students can enjoy O’Week without restrictions and attend classes in-person (Edit: well, turns out we jinxed it, sorry team). We know that the first weeks of university can set a precedent for our wellbeing for the year, particularly as a time of whakawhanaungatanga. COVID may still be around, but we’ve grown comfortable with
a new normal for doing things keeping our expectations low.
Still, we can’t help but feel, with distance and anonymity, a large hole has grown in the centre of our student community in the wake of this outbreak. Quite poetically, directly beside Symonds St, a gigantic hole has literally appeared in the centre of our university. At nearly half a hectare (as measured on Google Maps), the massive construction site is not only a nightmare in terms of noise and accessibility, but is also a massive disruption to the campus experience.
For the site of a new recreational centre, the closest it’s getting to having a pool inside it right now is a period of heavy rainfall. Come over to our office and you’ll get an excellent view of it. Our closet-sized office is located above the Quad next to 95bFM and C-Space and we’d love to meet some new faces. And of course, the new year calls for new contributors, so if you’d like to volunteer for Craccum but would like to know more or just want some kai and company, come to our Open Day in our office on Friday 5th March (Edit: which obviously isn’t happening anyone, but we hope to see you on campus sometime soon!).
Brian Gu (he/him) and Eda Tang (she/her).
Co-Editors of Craccum 2021