Māori identity, language and culture to thrive at Te Matatini 2017

Issue: Volume 96, Number 2

Posted: 13 February 2017
Reference #: 1H9d63

The whakataukī ‘Whāia te mātauranga hei oranga mō koutou’ can be translated into English as ‘Seek after learning for the sake of your wellbeing’. Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival supports this by celebrating authentic Māori identity, language and culture and linking it to school life.

Te Matatini Thousands of kapa haka fans will gather in Hastings next week for Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival (23–26 February).

The Ministry of Education, which proudly supports Māori identity, language and culture, partners with Te Matatini Inc. to support the biennial primary and secondary schools kapa haka competitions, and the national kapa haka festival.

A team from the Ministry of Education will be at the festival to engage with parents and learners about their education. There will be information available for whānau to support learners’ pathways from early learning through to tertiary.

Celebrating authentic Māori identity, language and culture is critical to Māori enjoying and achieving education success as Māori, according to the Ministry of Education.

The Ngārimu VC and 28th (Māori) Battalion Memorial Scholarships is one example of Māori education success being fostered. Herewini Ammunson (Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa, Ngāti Whakaue, Rāngitane and Vaimoso) is a Ngārimu scholarship recipient and kapa haka fan.

“The scholarship has been a huge help financially. It’s helped me focus on my studies and it’s helped me a lot with my accommodation in my first year. I’d really like to encourage all our rangitahi to apply for this scholarship. No matter what iwi you’re from it can really help you in your studies.”

In 2002 kapa haka was formally recognised as an academic subject by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA). This helped to raise the importance of Māori students participating in kapa haka, enabling students to earn credits towards a National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA).

Research focusing on the educational benefits associated with Māori students participating in kapa haka is limited. However, there is growing evidence to suggest that Māori students participating in kapa haka is having a positive effect on their participation levels at school (Rubie, 1999; Whitinui, 2007).

In 2014 the Ministry for Culture and Heritage released the report Ngā Hua A Tāne Rore: the Benefits of Kapa Haka.

The report identified that kapa haka plays an important role in the life of our nation. It is a unique part of our identity as New Zealanders and contributes positively to employment, economic growth, social cohesion, the acceptance and encouragement of diversity, and creative thinking in a range of fields.

The report also highlighted the connection between kapa haka and improved learning outcomes. One report participant said: “I come from an education background and for me I know particularly the power of kapa haka and I’ve seen what kapa haka can do in a school.

“I think that we underestimate how important it is... When you have kapa haka in a school you raise the value of what it is to be Māori and you raise the value for all those children sitting on the seat waiting to see something of themselves bounce back off walls."

“So when you have kapa haka that’s inclusive and it involves everybody, it makes the Māori children in the school feel proud about who they are and they can stand tall as Māori..."

“There is a lot of value around being successful as Māori, and for schools to have the responsibility to make it safe to do that... kapa haka is very much a tool that allows that to happen.”

Te Matatini National Kapa Haka Festival will be held from 23–26 February 2017 at the Hawke’s Bay Sports Park, Hastings.

To find out more, visit the Te Matatini website(external link) 

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

Posted: 11:04 AM, 13 February 2017

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