Gateway to identity and hope

Issue: Volume 99, Number 19

Posted: 19 November 2020
Reference #: 1HAEdQ

A virtual wharepuni with tukutuku panels which are portals to the stories and knowledge of Ngaa Rauru Kiitahi, is just the beginning of the vision of the south Taranaki Iwi to nurture and develop the potential of its people.

In 2017, Ngaa Rauru launched an online portal which can be accessed by tribal members and 10 schools and education providers in the rohe – tribal land which stretches between Patea and Whanganui.

The Iwi education priorities encompass maatauranga (education from external sources) and moohiotanga (knowledge from within the Iwi) and include whakapapa (identity), tuupuna koorero (stories handed down) and te ao hurihuri (the modern world).

Te Kooiwi-roa is an online resource, which has seen 925 online views since December 2019, says Ngaa Rauru education coordinator, Ngareta Patea.

“The online portal was designed using local Maaori research and Iwi members’ expertise. The entrance to the portal is a wharepuni adorned with tukutuku panels: the tukutuku designs come from the 12 active marae across Ngaa Rauru,” she says.

Ngareta explains there’s a matrix approach to each of the whenu (content strands) in the panels, which overlap.

“If you click into any one of those panels, you will be able to access the Iwi content resources that we have developed so far. We’ve got a number of ebooks, videos, compilations and have also provided an array of material packaged as unit plans. While the unit plan might talk about the environment (te taiao), it actually covers quite a number of the moohiotanga and the whenu,” she says.

Buy-in from schools

Apart from two koohanga reo and two Maaori medium kura just outside the tribal boundaries, Te Kooiwi-roa is also being used by kura auraki (English-medium) schools which have agreed to embed the Ngaa Rauru curriculum into their school’s curriculum and engage an Iwi expert (pouako) to help with facilitation and delivery of the learning.

“We went to every education centre throughout Ngaa Rauru tribal rohe to discuss whether or not they want to ‘buy in’ to this. The portal was absolutely free for them and they could purchase any of the tactile resources at cost,” says Ngareta.

She says the unit plans provided for teachers offer a haakari/platter for them to choose from.

“There are some options and ideas about how the content links back to our whenu, and it also connects to The New Zealand Curriculum.”

Spring of knowledge

Ngareta gives the example of an inquiry study completed by Whenuakura School near Patea, which used ideas and resources from the online portal, tactile resources and activities developed by the Iwi, and Iwi experts.

“The school has been doing a study around the waterways up at Wai o Turi Marae on the southern side of the Patea River. There’s an untouched puna (spring), so the whole school went to the marae and were guided and facilitated through some learning with the local kuia.

“They used resources from the online portal and took the opportunity to work with one of our Iwi pouako to help focus on the curriculum intent of that school. They had access to our Iwi-developed resources such as board books, flash cards, taonga aa iwi, traditional Maaori instruments, poipiu, ebooks, posters, kono and a range of unit plans to support teaching practices.

“These reaffirm the learning, the resource materials and ebooks that are available online as well, “ explains Ngareta.

Following their marae stay, Whenuakura School principal Kat Haerewa wrote:

“This inquiry topic explores its connections within the community. A visit to Wai o Turi Marae last term provided an excellent introduction to the unit of work. This overnight stay forged an ongoing relationship between Wai o Turi and Whenuakura School; a relationship fostered over the generations and reinforced in this exchange.

“The tamariki learned about the marae and about Paarara ki te Uru, the local puna. Each term, they will learn about a different part of the history and the environment of the marae. In term 3 they were also invited to visit Whenuakura Marae, to learn about the connections between Whenuakura and Wai o Turi.”

Augmented reality projects

The Iwi has partnered with Christchurch research and development company JIX Ltd to develop the portal and is currently discussing concepts around different ways to use digital technologies to share Iwi content.

For example, Ngareta shares that she is from a small marae called Kai Iwi in the Ngaa Rauru rohe.

“When I was growing up, I was involved in weaving tukutuku panels. My dad, the late William Rakeipoho Bennett, his younger sister and older brother were traditional Maaori arts and crafts practitioners. We were involved in the building of a dining room, Te Ririno o te Rangi, at Kai Iwi marae.

“We are talking to JIX about the possibility of a virtual tour of our wharepuni and wharekai, with my father as an avatar: welcoming people into the dining room because he ran the kitchen and we were his workers.

“A virtual tour would allow you to walk through the doorway, and be greeted by a number of tukutuku panels; so creating an opportunity for elearners to virtually touch the panels, and hear their stories,” she says.

A number of co-design waananga or workshops have recently been held by Te Kaahui o Rauru Iwi Development Team, who engaged with each of the three marae clusters (paahuki) of the Iwi.

“Those hui have just finished and debriefs provided around our Iwi priorities and where education sits within that. For our Iwi, education doesn’t stand alone; it’s coupled with a whole range of different things: environment, economic development and this year it has been about our hauora due to the recent Covid-19 raahui, and will remain so for a while.”

Potential and hope

The online portal, Te Kooiwi-roa, offers content and resources for a range of people at various levels and aims to help tamariki mokopuna through to matua (adult) learners achieve their potential, says Ngareta.

“This is ako using those resources starting from koohanga reo, early childhood centres, beginners in mainstream schools to middle and secondary schools, where they could use these as another pathway forward that looks at inquiry learning.

“The inquiry learning component will help individual learners think more broadly about what that means for them, how they connect to where they come from; and the sorts of conversations they could be having in their own communities.”

Ngaa Rauru has been working with the Ministry of Education across a number of projects for many years, including developing an education strategy called HOPE MAAKU (HOPE= Helping our people excel) to support the ongoing development of tribal members.

“There are a whole range of reasons for this, when I think about providing opportunities that are centred around what we believe is intrinsic to growing our people to thrive and excel. It’s around partnering, local investment decisions, planning that enables Maaori learners to succeed as Maaori, and to continually realise, attain and celebrate Iwi potential.

“We want to provide opportunities for all tamariki mokopuna and rangatahi, not just Iwi learners,” explains Ngareta.

Future thinking

Augmented reality projects will be part of Te Kura i Huna, the Iwi school of excellence, which has been outlined in the Te Kura o Rauru Education Framework. Of the 7,549 total learners affiliated with Ngaa Rauru Iwi, only 1.7 per cent (128 learners) attend schools within their rohe.

They wish to establish Te Kura i Huna on a digital platform mai i te koopae kii Rangiaatea (from womb to heaven), to enable their uri (descendants) access to an Iwi-led education on a digital platform across the education pathway, no matter where they live.

“We have been working alongside JIX to help us develop the next phase of sharing our moohiotanga: Te Kura i Huna. We are wanting to provide access across our Iwi locally, nationally and globally, but it will also be hugely beneficial to Aotearoa learners in general.”

Te Kura i Huna will support Iwi participation in education across a variety of platforms including a blended reality platform to realise Maaori potential and provide a pathway that will deliver a better future across Aotearoa and globally.

“If we don’t embark on this journey, there is the fear that all of this intrinsic knowledge that has been left behind from our tuupuna, our taonga tuku iho, will be lost. Everything is really critical, for us, like most other Iwi, no doubt,” says Ngareta.

“This will provide education resilience and sustainability for our people on so many levels,” says Mike Neho, chair of Te Paepae o Te Kaahui o Rauru.

Please note: Ngaa Rauru uses double vowels instead of macrons when writing te reo Māori.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 12:10 pm, 19 November 2020

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