Demand for Māori immersion education

Issue: Volume 95, Number 6

Posted: 11 April 2016
Reference #: 1H9d13

Parents talk about why they chose immersion education for their children.

Schools and early learning centres across Aotearoa New Zealand offer tamariki and rangatahi access to education in Māori language immersion settings (also called ‘Māori-medium’).

In this article, parents talk about why they chose immersion education in kōhanga reo, puna reo, kura and wharekura for their children.

Most of the children who participate in immersion education are Māori. On average, approximately 12 per cent of Māori children participate in Māori immersion education.

Much higher numbers of children participate in early learning mostly in kōhanga reo, but the number of children in kura reduces as they get older. Importantly, however, those rangatahi who stay in kura through to wharekura levels, have very good achievement rates.

Julian (Ngā Puhi, Te Arawa) and Maia (Ngai Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou) and their three children aged 15, 10 and four live in Christchurch. Julian and Maia believe the most important thing that Māori immersion offers for their children is education that uses a Māori world view and expresses Māori values, philosophy and wairua.

Being educated in this way supports the children’s identity, Maia says. “Being in Māori immersion education has ensured our children feel comfortable, confident and like they belong, generally, but especially in Māori situations. I love that they come home singing waiata koroua and that they use Māori to express themselves.”

Māori ways of doing things, like ‘manaaki’, are reflected in the way the kura functions and the way the children behave. For example, students with special education needs are fully integrated within the school’s learning, social and sporting activity and students know how to take care of visitors.

In Taupō, Sarah (Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Pūkenga) and Nick (Ngāti Maniapoto) have chosen Māori immersion education for their three girls aged nine, four, and one. The way the ‘kura kids’ act has sold the value of a Māori-medium education to them.

Sarah says, “The kura kids are at ease with themselves, they are confident and grounded in the way they hold themselves and the way they interact with others – at sport, at kapa haka, and in town.”

Sarah, Nick and their girls see themselves as “part of the kura community; we participate and contribute to activities, kapa haka, and fundraising."

“It’s a given that our girls will go to that kura and that they will be looked after and thrive.”

Some people worry about the breadth of the curriculum offered at senior secondary in wharekura. Sarah, however, has no concerns.

“Our kura is small, but they know our children, they know their strengths and interests. As far as I can see, the kura and teachers will do whatever is needed to extend children and support their progression and prepare them to leave school too.”

Anthony (Ngāti Ingarangi) and Ngāhuia (Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Pūkenga) have a one-year-old who attends a puna reo. This was the only Māori language early learning option they could find in central Wellington.

They have already committed to him going to kura when he turns five and they are focused on strengthening their own Māori language now so they are ready to support his schooling when he is older.

Arohatiia Te Reo

He tono ki te ako mātauranga mā te arareo Māori.

Eāhei ana ngā tamariki katoa i roto i ngā kura me ngā whare kōhungahunga o Aotearoa ki te ako ma te arareo Māori. Kei roto i tēnei pānuitanga ngā whakaaro ō ngā mātua mo ā rātou tamariki e ako ana i roto i ngā kōhanga reo, ngā puna reo, ngā kura tae atu ki ngā wharekura.

He Māori te nuinga o ngā tamariki e ako ana i ngā karaehe rumaki. Tata ki te 12 paiheneti ngā tamariki Māori e ako ana i roto i ngā akomanga reo Māori. He nui ake ngā tamariki e ako ana i roto i ngā whare kōhungahunga, ā, ko te nuinga kei roto i ngā kōhanga reo. I te wā ka pakeke haere ngā tamariki kua heke iho te maha i roto i ngā kura. Ko te matū o te kōrero, ki te noho ngā tamariki ki roto i ngā akomanga reo Māori tae atu ki te mutunga o te wharekura, kua kitea te tino angitū o ngā taumata ka tāea e ēnei rangatahi.

Ānei ngā kōrero a Julian (Ngāpuhi, Te Arawa) rāua ko Maia (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Porou). Kei Ōtautahi e noho ana me ā rāua tamariki e toru. Ko ā rātou tau pakeke tekau mā rima, tekau, me te whā. Ko te take motuhake o te ako i roto i te reo Māori mō ā rāua tamariki he whakamahi, he whakatinana i ngā āhuatanga ao Māori, te wairua Māori me ngā mātāpono Māori.

E tautoko ana ēnei akoranga i te mana, me te whakapapa o te tamaiti e ai ki ā Maia mō ana tamariki. “E ngākau nui, e mārama ana nō hea rātou i roto i ngā kaupapa, he tino Māori tōna āhua. E harikoa ana ahau ka hoki mai ana rātou ki te kāinga kei te waiatatia ngā waiata koroua, me te whakaputa i ō rātou ake whakaaro mā te reo Māori.”

Kei roto i ngā āhuatanga Māori te manaaki perā i ngā kaupapa mahi ā kura me ngā whanonga o ngā tamariki. Hei tauira ka āhei ngā tamariki hauā, tamariki mātea motuhake rānei ki roto i te katoa o ngā akoranga ā kura, ngā kaupapa whakahoahoa me ngā mahi hākinakina. No reira he mōhio ēnei tamariki ki te manaaki manuhiri.

I Taupō, kua whiriwhiria e Sarah (Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Pūkenga) rāua ko Nick (Ngāti Maniapoto) me ako ā rāua kotiro e toru i roto i ngā akoranga reo Māori. Ko te pakeke o ēnei kotiro ko te tahi, te whā me te iwa tau. Nā te āhua o te whanonga o ngā tamariki ō ēnei kura ka kitea te hua o te ako i roto i te reo Māori mo ā rāua tamariki. Ko te kī ā Sarah, “He ngāwari, he ngākaunui te āhua o ngā tamariki, he pakari hoki tō rātou tū i roto i ō rātou whakawhanaunga hākinakina, kapa haka me ngā haerenga ki te tāone.”

E ai anō ki ā Nick rāua ko Sarah “e mahi ngātahi ana mātou me te hapori o te kura i roto i ngā mahi kapa haka me ngā mahi tono pūtea”.

“Kua oti kētia te whakatau kia haere a māua tamariki ki ngā kura nā te mea ka manaakitia, ka tipu te ōranga i reira.”

Kei te āwangawanga tonu ētahi tāngata mō te whānuitanga o te marautanga kura tuarua i roto i ngā wharekura. Kāore ā Sarah i te māharahara. “Ahakoa he iti tō mātou kura e mōhio ana rātou ki ngā pūmanawa, ngā pūkenga me ngā ngoikoretanga o ā mātou tamariki. Ki tōku tītiro ka tāea e te kura me ngā kaiako te whakawhānui i te ako ā ngā tamariki, ki te tautoko hoki i ā rātou huarahi ako otirā ki te whakareri i ā rātou mo te wehetanga mai te kura.”

Kotahi tau noa iho te pakeke o te tama ā Anthony (Ngāti Ingarangi) rāua ko Ngāhuia (Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Pūkenga). Kei roto ia i tētahi puna reo. Koinā anake te whare kōhungahunga reo Māori i kitea e rāua i Te Whanganui ā Tara. Kua tau kē te kōrero kia rima tau tana pakeke kua haere ia ki te kura ako reo Māori. E ai kia rāua kia pakari tonu tā rāua reo Māori ki a tāea te tautoko i āna akoako i ā ia e pakeke haere ana.

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

Posted: 12:36 PM, 11 April 2016

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