Making the waka go faster

Issue: Volume 94, Number 2

Posted: 9 February 2015
Reference #: 1H9cqH

When Peter Kaua, principal of Whanganui City College, was asked what kind of assistance he wanted to help boost Māori achievement in his school, his response was ‘the support of an outrigger.’

His reply was in response to a question put to him by Dr Pam O’Connell, a principal consultant of Cognition Education and a co-director of Te Kākahu, a Building on Success/iwi education partnership between Te Puna o Whanganui and Cognition.

Fellow Te Kākahu co-director Dr Te Tiwha Puketapu explains:

“Building on Success is about what makes the waka go faster. It’s about looking forward, not back. Māori didn’t need support with waka made to travel close to shore, but when we sailed into the open ocean, our waka needed that extra outrigger to provide speed and stability. It’s a useful metaphor.”

Whanganui City College is one of around 10 schools taking part in Te Kākahu, a locally developed professional learning approach for secondary schools in the Whanganui rohe (region).

So what’s in a name?

Building on Success works with school leaders and teachers on professional leadership and schooling practices, as well as on curriculum design, to increase educational success for Māori in English-medium secondary schools. It’s underpinned by the principles of the Ministry’s Māori education strategy Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013-2017, to enable Māori students to reach their full potential and to achieve, excel and succeed as Māori. Building on Success will also contribute to the Government’s Better Public Service target of 85 per cent of 18 year olds gaining Level 2 NCEA in 2017.

This approach builds on evidence and practices developed through Te Kotahitanga, He Kākano, Starpath and the Secondary Literacy and Numeracy projects. It also builds on existing work in schools and communities.

Building on Success is delivered by two groups: a consortium comprising Waikato University, Auckland University and Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi is leading a national response; Te Puna o Whanganui and Cognition Education are delivering a locally developed approach in the Whanganui rohe.

Dr Graham Stoop is the Ministry’s Deputy Secretary, Student Achievement. He says Building on Success is challenging and supporting schools to develop school-wide and in-class practices, systems and structures that make a significant difference for Māori students in education.

“We know Māori students do much better when education reflects and values their identity, language and culture, and includes the engagement and contribution from parents, whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori communities.

“Māori students and their whānau, hapū and iwi are at the centre of the approach – strengthening leadership, teachers and teaching will support them to build on existing achievements.”

So what does that mean for implementation?

Dr Puketapu says what makes Te Kākahu - Building on Success unique is guidance from iwi in ways of “knowing, doing and being.” This is visible through iwi contributions to support whānau engagement in learning, iwi curriculum and educative relationships.

“Success for Te Kākahu needs to be able to answer the question ‘what does success for Whanganui Māori look like?’

“Only Whanganui iwi are capable of answering that. Our model is iwi/student-centric. That means iwi working with whānau, whānau working with students, and iwi and our education partner working with schools.”

The big picture

Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success has a similarly defined kaupapa of working to give life to Ka Hikitia; addressing the aspirations of Māori communities and ensuring Māori students’ potential.

Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success takes a strategic change management professional learning and development approach. It requires all participants to self-review, be open to wider perspectives and reflect and make the necessary changes so Māori students enjoy and achieve educational success as Māori.

Director Dr Mere Berryman elaborates:

“Kia Eke Panuku develops strategic leadership underpinned by a moral imperative to improve valued Māori student outcomes.

“The approach provides a culturally responsive pedagogy of relations across all levels of the school and with Māori communities.

“It uses data and evidence, takes an inquiry approach to effect positive change in in-class and school-wide practices, systems and structures, and works towards creating long-term sustainable change.

“Kia Eke Panuku encourages school leaders to work with whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori organisations to ensure their support and expertise with Māori language and culture, and can also be positively directed towards Māori student engagement and achievement.”

Kia Eke Panuku is working with around 103 schools across New Zealand. In general, the approach will work with between 90 and 120 schools, as some join and others take a more sustainable and independent leadership role as an identified ‘Community of Success.’

“Kia Eke Panuku appeals to school leaders who are committed to enacting the principles of Ka Hikitia but need additional guidance and support to ensure this aspiration is able to be implemented across the school and out into their Māori communities,” Mere explains.

Academic Director Dr Camilla Highfield adds, “Kia Eke Panuku creates a professional learning community in the school with a mandate to drive improvement.”

The name Kia Eke Panuku, captures the essence of a journey towards success that is dynamic and continuous, building from one’s current location to where one aspires to be in the future. It speaks to individual and collective shared commitment to achieve excellence.

Game Changer

Tom Parsons is principal of Queen Charlotte College in Picton, which is taking part in Kia Eke Panuku. He says his team is motivated by adding value to education and Building on Success does that. He says his school’s journey began with He Kākano.

“That was really rewarding and raised our consciousness, but through Building on Success we’re now sharpening that pencil.

“I read something really interesting which talked about the role a mother’s experience of school can have on her child’s experience of school and achievement. Building on Success recognises the critical role parents, whānau and the community play in boosting achievement.

“Building on Success is a potential game changer for Māori achievement – we have the potential to make a hell of a difference. This is a very exciting approach to be working with – our Māori students are enjoying it and
so are we.”

Whanganui College Principal Peter Kaua confirms there’s a lot to be gained from a professional learning and development perspective.

“In our experience it’s been very enriching and rewarding. This isn’t just about academic learning – it’s about a much more holistic and inclusive approach to education and achievement.”

Both Building on Success providers agree; the programme is different because of its holistic and responsive approach to individual school, community and iwi needs. School leaders, principals and teachers working in the context of broader relationships – whānau, iwi, boards of trustees and the wider school community. Everybody has a role to play.

What does this mean for schools?

  • School leaders, teachers and principals will develop culturally responsive and relational contexts for learning.
  • The use of evidence, teaching as inquiry and continuous improvement to ensure Māori students are able to enjoy and achieve education success as Māori.
  • Boards of trustees, school leaders and the wider school community will review, implement and embed systems, structures, processes and practices that work for Māori learners and their whānau.
  • Leaders, teachers and schools will ensure Māori students attend, engage, stay on at school, excel, achieve academic success at the highest level and successfully realise their cultural distinctiveness and potential.
  • School, whānau, hapū, iwi and community relationships will be invited to contribute in the learning and education success of their rangatahi to develop key enduring, educationally powerful partnerships with their local schools.

Building on success – The highlights

  • Approximately $31 million over three years invested in the programme.
  • Aimed at principals, leaders and teachers engaging successfully with Māori students, whānau, hapū and iwi.
  • Professional development for the whole school, includes workshops and training with experts.
  • Initiative builds off programmes including Te Kotahitanga,He Kākano, Secondary Literacy and Numeracy and Starpath.
  • Up to 120 secondary schools participating at any one time.
  • Contributes to Ka Hikitia – Māori education strategy.
  • Feeds into the Government’s Better Public Services target of 85 per cent of 18 year olds having an NCEA Level 2 or better qualification.
  • Schools wishing to participate should contact their local regional office.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 4:58 pm, 9 February 2015

Get new listings like these in your email
Set up email alerts