Navigating the way ahead: 2016 Kupe Scholars announced

Issue: Volume 95, Number 14

Posted: 8 August 2016
Reference #: 1H9d3e

A group of promising Māori and Pasifika student teachers was recently awarded Kupe Scholarships in a ceremony at Parliament.

Kupe Scholarships are designed to attract highly talented Māori and Pasifika to the teaching profession and to help them become inspiring teachers and role models.

Thirty scholars were selected for 2016 from across the country.

The successful scholars include accomplished postgraduate students, representative sports people and bilingual speakers, who are highly active in their local communities.

More than 90 people applied for the scholarships, which fund course fees and study allowances, and offer professional mentoring and recruitment support after graduation.

The recipients also received taonga keepsakes in the form of stylised paddles ‘hoe’ or waka/vaka/va’a as a permanent recognition of their achievements.

Education Gazette meets four Kupe Scholars.

Te Whaiwhaia Ritchie, PGDip(Psych), BSpLS Raglan, Waikato University

Ngāti Kahungunu (ki Wairarapa), Ngāti Kahukuraawhitia, Ngāti Moe

Currently completing a Master of Teaching and Learning at Waikato University, Te Whaiwhaia holds a postgraduate diploma in psychology, plus a bachelor’s degree in sport and leisure studies from Waikato.

Now living in Raglan, he was educated at kōhanga reo and kura primary, and has also been a tutor at Waikato University and St Peter’s College, Cambridge.

For Te Whaiwhaia, teaching is all in the family: his mother is an associate professor at Victoria University of Wellington, his father a deputy principal, and two grandparents are psychology professors.

“It’s a family thing – I’m following in my parents’ and grandparents’ footsteps in many ways,” he says.

Te Whaiwhaia is training as a primary teacher, and he says he is open to teaching other year levels in the future, once he is registered.

Sport and fitness are his passions (at the moment it’s basketball, golf and surfing in particular – “You can surf and play a good game of golf in one day in Raglan”) and he believes physical education is integral to childhood.

“I’ve always loved sport – playing games and being outside has always been an important part of my life,” he says.

“I think that through sport and games children can learn a lot of life skills, such as collaboration, teamwork, confidence and how to have fun."

“I’m definitely going to share my love for sport and fitness with my students. Children need to move – especially these days when they’ve all got their own device with a screen – they need to move and get outside.”

Te Whaiwhaia says that receiving a Kupe Scholarship is huge, and he wants to be a role model for his future students.

“This scholarship is a big thing, and something I can carry with me into my future. I look on it as an important achievement, and I know it’s inspiring me to carry on with this path I’ve chosen."

“There is still a big achievement disparity between Māori and Pasifika and their non-Māori counterparts in education. So I think we need to have more people leading the way, and giving our young people something to aspire to.”

Te Whare Kotua Hare, BA (Hons) Rotorua, Waikato University

Te Arawa, Tūhoe, Ngāti Maniapoto

Immersed in te ao Māori since birth, Te Whare Kotua is a senior member of Te Mātārae I Ōrehu, the outstanding kapa haka group who placed second in the country at last year’s Te Matatini competitions.

He is now completing a Graduate Diploma of Teaching Secondary, in te reo Māori and social studies.

“Seeing the enjoyment of students learning something new and keen on coming back to learn more – that is what fed my interest in teaching,” he says.

After completing a bachelor of arts with honours at the University of Waikato, he returned home to Rotorua and worked a number of jobs before deciding to train as a secondary teacher.

His passion for classroom teaching is new-found.

“After leaving school I had no idea what I wanted to do, and going to Waikato University was a way for me to figure out my future,” he says.

“Now I’ve been through this diploma in teaching, the future is looking bright.”

Te Whare Kotua says that in his classroom practice, he is able to draw on his experience teaching kapa haka and Māori weaponry.

“In my studies, I was exposed to the scaffolding part of teaching – taking students through ideas and skills in a step-by-step manner, and making sure my teaching is effective.”

He’s enjoying the practical element of his teaching studies so far, and has recently finished a placement at a local boys’ secondary school.

“It was awesome – teaching te ao Māori in general, and seeing students enjoying my lessons was an awesome feeling."

“The plan is to obviously be teaching somewhere in New Zealand – doing my best to help students achieve their goals.”

The influence of his renowned mother, the late Taini Morrison, one of Māoridom’s legendary kapa haka leaders and a primary school teacher, is strong in Te Whare Kotua.

“I didn’t think I would find myself following in Mum’s footsteps as a teacher, however life changes and this is how it’s turned out for me now,” he says.

“People tell me it’s awesome that I’m following her path of being a teacher, and I’d like to think that she’s probably guiding me along on the right track.”

Jane Caffery, BSW Hamilton, Waikato University

Tainui, Ngāpuhi

For Jane Caffery, becoming a primary teacher is yet another way she hopes to serve her community.

A busy mother of three daughters, she holds a degree in social work and has worked as a personal trainer.

Jane and her whānau are active in their Hamilton community of Nawton, where she founded and continues to run Vision of Hope, an emergency clothing bank.

She is now completing two master’s degrees: one at Waikato University and the other at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, and says she wants to be a leader and a role model.

“I’ve been inspired by the philosophy of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, which is all about whānau transformation through education,” she says.

“To me, it centres on manaakitanga – working to support others and to be a role model in the home. My daughters see my actions and I want those to be inspiring to them, just as I watched the actions of my mother, and so on.”

Jane acknowledges that her Christian faith plays an important role in the way she approaches teaching and community service.

“The practice of giving and serving unto others – that’s developed from wairuatanga, love and manaaki that I have through my faith in God,” she says.

In lifting Māori student achievement, Jane believes bicultural educational leadership is integral.

“When we’re thinking about the framework of tātaiako – for me it’s about saying, ‘This is a way forward for us”.

“What responsibility do we play as leaders, standing in front of our whānau, to help them reach their potential and achieve success?"

“I also believe that it calls for a bicultural approach. Māori and non-Māori both need to think about the concepts of tātaiako, whakawhanaungatanga, and ako in terms of reciprocal learning.”

Jane says it’s very important to contextualise learning for Māori and Pasifika students.

“We have to be aware of the experience of our students – even if they are urbanised Māori – and realise that if we don’t make learning relevant for them, they are constantly having to decode what is going on in the classroom,” she says.

“If we want to see transformative change, we have to model that change in ourselves.”

Moana Tautua Mangere, Auckland, University of Auckland

Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Cook Islands

Moana has been studying full-time in the Bachelor of Education (Primary) degree programme with outstanding results. During her first year, Moana was invited to become a member of the University of Auckland High Achievers Initiative. In the same year, 2014, she was also awarded the University of Auckland’s First in Course Award for Mathematics.

She received the Dean’s Award 2016 for Top of Programme and the Dean’s Award 2016 for Top Māori Student in the entire university programme for the second year as well.
Moana’s first job was in a kōhanga reo – and after 14 years spent in the media world, she decided it was time to come back to her roots.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do – my first job was as a teacher aide – so in a way, I’ve come full circle. I’ve been working at an office for a number of years, and I realised I didn’t want to sit at a desk staring at a screen forever – I wanted to do something more hands-on, to give back to the community, and teaching seemed like a good choice,” she says.

The teaching and learning of mathematics is a particular passion for her.

“I’ve always been interested in maths – it’s one of my strengths. I managed to get the first in course award for maths in my first year, so that reaffirmed for me that it was an area I could pursue. I don’t know if I find it easy but I definitely enjoy it.”

Moana is also a parent and an integral part of her church community.

“My husband is a pastor, and we live with our four children in the manse attached to the church."

“I wouldn’t recommend it as the ideal study environment – but it seems to work for us so far,” she laughs.

“I’ve quite often had exams and assignments due but not been able to work on them, because of things going on so it’s a miracle that I’ve managed to pull it off somehow.”

Next on the list: a master’s degree. Moana wants to explore cultural stereotypes and identity in urban, modern Aotearoa.

“I’m interested in how cultural identities exist and change in an urban setting and how this affects education.”

Moana believes we need a wide range of strong leaders within our education system.

“I think our students definitely need role models they can identify with. When I was growing up in Dunedin, which is predominately European, I never had that myself until I got to high school, where I could study Māori language as a subject, with a Māori teacher."

“She was an amazing woman – she was very professional and just in the way she spoke and carried herself – I realised that I could be like that too. I could be a teacher and inspire others.”

You can learn more about the Kupe Scholarships for Māori and Pasifika High Achievers on the TeachNZ website(external link) 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 6:59 pm, 8 August 2016

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