Putting policy into practice

Issue: Volume 93, Number 21

Posted: 24 November 2014
Reference #: 1H9csG

Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013–2017, the Māori education strategy, is all about enjoyment and achievement in education for Māori, as Māori. But many teachers have been asking ‘what does Ka Hikitia look like on the ground?’

In response, the Ministry of Education has released Ka Hikitia In Action, a collection of real life examples of how early learning services, schools, parents, whānau, and communities are working together to turn government strategy into community action in real and practical ways.

The following two articles from Ka Hikitia In Action will give teachers a taste of some of the inspiring and practical examples on offer.

Find your copy of Ka Hikitia In Action online(external link)

Homegrown: Ngāti Hine rangatahi rise to the challenge

“Our marae are really important places for us as Māori because that’s where so many of our stories are told. But the digital platform gives us a chance to share these stories with our people who live away from home.”

Te Waihoroi Shortland, Ngāti Hine kaumātua.

Sixteen keen rangatahi, armed with cutting-edge technology and the wise support of kaumātua and kuia as well as a collection of writers and artists: when a team like this unites, you know something exciting is about to happen!

Northlanders know what it means ‘to make do’. So, when a number of local schools teamed up with local iwi to produce 20 of their own high-quality teaching resources ready to upload to iTunes for use in classrooms worldwide, the results were spectacular.

In a 48-hour process called Kiwa SLAM, 16 students were split into small groups guided by digital industry experts Kiwa Digital. The rangatahi also had access to the mātauranga and guidance of kaumātua and kuia and the creative input of local artists too.

A ‘SLAM’ is a workshop where students are guided to tell a shared story, create a drawing about their cultural identity, present a personal experience, or kōrero about their family legacy. As the students build their stories, the Kiwa Digital team captures them in a digital book that is then launched to the world through iTunes. Kiwa Digital calls this a “cultural storytelling for the digital generations.”

In the end, the students produced a series of free apps for worldwide classrooms and students. On iTunes, check out their stories about Te Tai Tokerau, complete with illustrations drawn by mokopuna of the area. The stories include: Hine Tirairaka (Hine the Fantail), The Tuna Whakaheke That Wanted to Go Home, Kumara Quest, and The Man Who Lay Down and Never Got Up. For many of the students, the project had a special significance because they wanted their resources to be true to their stories and identity. They felt it was important to produce resources about themselves in a format that would be easy to access because they knew their stories would ring true for other smaller rural communities like their own.

Te Waihoroi Shortland, who worked on the project as a kaumātua, said the work gave students an opportunity to test their skills in an industry and a format that is relevant and modern.

“It’s important for our rangatahi to understand the technology industry because there are heaps of opportunities in the industry for people like them,” he says.

“It was a cool project because it opened the students’ eyes to a whole heap of other possibilities in the technology world. This could be something that many of them could look at for future mahi.”

Kei whea te Aute? Ngaati Whanaunga ask, ‘Where are our future leaders?’

“How is it that people can grow up in the same place all their lives and not learn anything about their local iwi?” It’s a question that 26-year-old Briar Van Doirt asked herself after attending an iwi heritage course run by Ngaati Whanaunga on the Coromandel Peninsula.

“All of the local knowledge I learnt on the course was new,” says Briar, who is keen to ensure her two tamariki Maaori grow up with the rich information she’s only recently learnt herself about Ngaati Whanaunga.

Ngaati Whanaunga education officer Mike Baker explains that the iwi worked with the Ministry of Education to make a curriculum for the course that reflected both what the iwi wanted to share and what local schools and whānau would find useful. In the end, Ngaati Whanaunga developed two teaching and learning resources to support the course. Both resources are entirely bilingual and written in Ngaati Whanaunga reo. They are a great way to ensure Matauranga Māori and local knowledge is shared with tamariki who are growing up in the rohe.

The first resource, Kei Whea te Aute?, is based on a paatere (song or chant) that is at the heart of sharing the heritage and identity of the iwi.

Mike Baker wrote the paatere after learning the history of important landmarks and events and wondering how that knowledge could be captured.

“Most of our ancient waiata are area or event specific,” Mike says. “This paatere touches on all the regions and speaks to all the generations.”

The second resource, Ngaa Waihotanga Iho, is all about looking after the environment. It can be taught as part of a science, maths, or social studies programme. It includes visual, audio, written, and other tools to help students get a deeper understanding of Ngaati Whanaunga knowledge. An important part of Ngaa Waihotanga Iho is the two-day waananga the iwi offers to teachers and waananga for whānau.

Pita Mahaki, who teaches at Waiheke High School, says, “The waananga exceeded my expectations. The travel around Hauraki and Coromandel was a big undertaking. However, it gave the stories and whakapapa a realism, context, and relevance to the resources we were using.” The first few lines of the Ngaati Whanaunga paatere refer to a famous ancestor, who said to a war party from Ngaapuhi before he was killed, “What does it matter if I die? I have planted the mulberry tree beside my house.” The mulberry tree is a metaphor for a child, or in this case, an up-and-coming leader, Hauauru, who was the nephew of Pokere.

From this one paatere, resources have been created, including a DVD, Google maps, and an exploration of pepeha (tribal sayings).

Note: The use of double vowels is a feature of Ngaati Whanaunga reo a-iwi (tribal dialect) and has been used at the request of Ngaati Whanaunga in this article.

View the Ngaati Whanaunga educational resources online(external link)

If you, your early learning service, school, iwi or community is doing something new and exciting to support Māori education, please contact ka.hikitia@education.govt.nz and tell us all about it.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 1:31 pm, 24 November 2014

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