Te Takanga o te Wā in marau ā-kura

Issue: Volume 101, Number 5

Posted: 27 April 2022
Reference #: 1HATpj

Te Takanga o Te Wā framework is designed to ensure ākonga develop a keen sense of identity to carry wherever they go in the world. It is delivered through marau ā-kura at Monrad – Te Kura Waenga o Tirohanga, developed in collaboration with ākonga, whānau, hapū and iwi.

Kapa haka time at Monrad – Te Kura Waenga o Tirohanga in Palmerston North.

Kapa haka time at Monrad – Te Kura Waenga o Tirohanga in Palmerston North.

Teaching and learning local critical histories is not new in Māori medium education settings. Our Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Wharekura and Kura ā-iwi have always done this, but having the histories outlined in Te Takanga o Te Wā is hugely validating,” says Lewis Karaitiana, assistant principal of Monrad – Te Kura Waenga o Tirohanga.

“For a long time, our people have been told that we won’t amount to much or that our stories aren’t important, and Te Takanga o te Wā is about validating our knowledge base and embedding the learning within our kaupapa. Our tūpuna were amazing and innovative people who navigated their way across Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. We talk a lot about concepts such as growth mindset, problem-solving, and global citizenship, all of which our ancestors embodied. Going through an English medium secondary school, I remember learning about Martin Luther King and all these other inspirational people from overseas, and now all our tamariki get to learn about our own heroes, our Māori heroes, our tūpuna”.

Monrad – Te Kura Waenga o Tirohanga is an intermediate school in Palmerston North with four Māori medium immersion classes named Tahuna-ā-Rua, an ancient name for the area gifted to the kaupapa by Rangitāne kaumātua Peter Te Rangi.

Lewis says the journey towards creating a localised curriculum started in Tahuna-ā-Rua in 2011 when the former immersion unit leader Brett Cribb created the first marau ā-kura in consultation with tamariki, whānau, hapori Māori and iwi.

In 2014, Kara Mason, the deputy principal, led the kura through change which included adopting a new mission statement, schoolwide values, and strategic aims.

“Kara was instrumental in bringing our people together to create a new and exciting direction for our kura, drawing upon and highlighting the successes of the localised curriculum model in Tahuna-ā-Rua. 

“In 2018, we were fortunate enough to go through an extensive consultation process with local iwi Rangitāne O Manawatū. As a result of that consultation, we were gifted names for all the learning areas and buildings in our kura. From here we have moved into the development of our localised curriculum with the names, stories, and histories of Rangitāne O Manawatū now reflected in all the learning that occurs. Our Māori medium classrooms have been the model for what has now become ‘Te Marau o Tirohanga’, the localised Tirohanga curriculum.”

The mahi ramped up this year, beginning with a professional development day for all kaimahi/staff.

“Previously we have climbed the Tararua Ranges to Tirohanga, then followed the journey of Matangi stopping in at the local marae ‘Te Rangimārie’ and finishing in Himatangi. We couldn’t do that this year because of wind farming preventing access to Tirohanga. Instead, we began our Teachers’ Only day with a whakatau, pae kōrero and mihimihi, then we learnt about the history of Tirohanga by singing and learning a mōteatea, a traditional lament composed for Tirohanga which outlines the whakapapa of our kura. 

“We used storytelling to hook in our kaiako, then we unpacked the Aotearoa New Zealand histories curriculum and Te Takanga o Te Wā. Once our kaiako were engaged, we planned our schoolwide inquiry focus ‘Ko au, ko Tirohanga, ko Rangitāne, ko Aotearoa’. This was an ideal opportunity to wānanga with staff to explore the differences between the Aotearoa New Zealand histories curriculum and Te Takanga o Te Wā. 

“In our kura, we have English medium classrooms operating under The New Zealand Curriculum, and Māori medium classes operating under Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. We took the opportunity to wānanga with staff about why Māori medium/Kaupapa Māori do things the way we do. It’s about reclaiming our knowledge, reclaiming our tikanga by doing what we know works best for Māori and being able to approach our storytelling and learning of our history through a Māori lens. It’s about indigenising our tamariki and decolonising our thinking.”

An across-school inquiry was planned.

“The classrooms have names from Rangitāne, which reflect ancient pā sites along the Manawatū River and other significant landmarks. The idea behind this is that when our tamariki go to their classroom, they know that they’re going to a home base, and they will be learning about the history of that pā site. They will go to visit that pā site, and they’ll understand how they now connect to the whenua in which their kura, their classroom is situated.

“Our original plan was to do it for the first term and see where it goes, but the feedback we’ve had from kaiako is that they want to keep going with this kaupapa all year. They want to move into land wars and learn more about the rich history of our whenua.”

Kelsi Te Peeti leads Tahuna ā Rua, the school's Māori immersion unit.

Kelsi Te Peeti leads Tahuna ā Rua, the school's Māori immersion unit.

Kelsi Te Peeti, who leads the immersion unit, has already seen growth in the sense of identity amongst ākonga.

“The students and I have been diving deeper into local stories, and they understand why it’s important to know the places in the stories. They say, ‘Oh, I know that place, I swim there all the time!’ So now they understand that a classroom at school is related to an area in our region and the importance of knowing areas, knowing names, and tūpuna who have made the journeys and stories for us. They are finding more mana within themselves by learning that they belong here. Even if they’ve just moved here, they can connect something that happened in the story to where they’ve come from.”

Relationships with iwi

It was important to the kura that the relationship with iwi was sustainable, says Lewis.

“Our iwi has gifted us these names, and it’s our responsibility to uphold the mana that comes with those names and to report back to iwi about how we are fostering and ensuring the sustainability of their kōrero.”

Lewis recalls how the mahi began.

Lewis Karaitiana is assistant principal at Monrad - Te Kura Waenga o Tirohanga where local histories are central to learning

Lewis Karaitiana is assistant principal at Monrad - Te Kura Waenga o Tirohanga where local histories are central to learning

“It was important that when we approached our iwi, our kaumātua, that we did it properly. We wanted our iwi to determine the process and guide us in the right direction. We visited different kaumātua here in Palmerston North, and we just had a cup of tea, a kai and yarn with them. We heard lovely stories about their experiences here on the whenua. We spoke about what we’ve been doing here at school and our exciting new direction. We then asked our kaumātua how we could foster the relationship between our kura and Rangitāne O Manawatū and they, in turn, guided us.”

Kaumātua Peter Te Rangi put the word out to the kaumātua in this area and extended an invitation to a hui at Te Kura Waenga o Tirohanga.

“We put on an evening where the kaumātua came to our school, we had a big kai, and we collaborated with Peter to present our ideas to the iwi. Most of the kaumātua present had already heard about our ideas through the initial cup of tea. Some of our ideas were to rebrand our kura with names that reflected the stories of this area.”

Until that point, the school was named Monrad Intermediate.

“We have a high population of Māori and Pacific tamariki, and historically they were learning about Ditlev Gothard Monrad, a Danish politician and bishop for whom the school was named. Although Monrad remains a significant part of our history, there was a disconnect because our tamariki couldn’t relate to that. To make it more relevant and meaningful, we adopted the name gifted to us, Tirohanga, after one of the peaks on our maunga, which we can see from our marae ātea at kura. 

Monrad – Te Kura Waenga o Tirohanga

“Iwi advised us to have a dawn ceremony to unveil our new names to the community. At that ceremony, they unveiled two new taonga – a pou toka whakairo/stone carving ‘Te Piri Mai O Rangi Tikitiki’, which reflects our tamariki; encapsulated within it is a mauri rock that was collected from Tirohanga, and there are three designs on the pou that reflect mauri, mana, and Māui. Those three concepts are key in the way we plan and deliver teaching, learning and the way in which we report back to whānau. Māui is a significant tūpuna reflected in the pou because not only can most of our tamariki whakapapa back to Māui, but they all possess characteristics of Māui, which are also now reflected as indicators in our Tirohanga learner profile. 

“The other taonga was our tomokanga/entrance way ‘Mā te Atatū’ carved by Rangitāne kaumātua Charles Matenga. The tomokanga reflects stories from te ao mārama, the Kurahaupō waka from Rangitāne and Nukutaimemeha, the waka that belonged to Māui.

“When whānau start here at Monrad Tirohanga and we have our pōwhiri, the first thing they see is the pou, a reflection of their tamariki and what they bring into this space, their space. Then when the karanga goes out, they all come through the tomokanga sheltered by the kōrero, whakapapa and rich history reflected in ‘Mā te Atatū’.”

Culturally sustainable practice

The kura is now making plans to continue with iwi to ensure the practices are culturally sustainable. 

“We do not want it to be just a token gesture where our iwi gifts us significant, meaningful names, and we don’t do anything with them. We’ve been having conversations at management level about how we bring the iwi into our board of trustees meetings and how we report back to iwi about tamariki achievements.”

Kelsi says ākonga are inspired by making connections with tupuna. 

“I had a student say to me yesterday that she’s read stories about her tupuna, and when she’s old enough, she wants to be part of those stories.”

“They want to be good tūpuna,” says Lewis. “They say, ‘I want to be an ancestor that’s remembered for good things. I want to be a positive influence’. And they want to go home and give back to their iwi and learn more about their own marae and their own hapū – and that’s what this is all about.” 

The Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories document places ākonga and whānau at the centre of the learning.

The Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories document places ākonga and whānau at the centre of the learning.

Te Takanga o Te Wā

Te Takanga o Te Wā curriculum content has been developed to reflect the direction of the redesign of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. As Te Marautanga o Aotearoa goes through the process of redesign, the content for Te Takanga o Te Wā may evolve as well.

Te Takanga o Te Wā, through the marau ā-kura, will ensure ākonga have a greater sense of identity and be confident to carry this wherever they go in the world and will meet the aspirations of ākonga and their whānau.

He Tamaiti Hei Raukura(external link) 

Te Takanga o Te Wā curriculum content(external link)

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

Posted: 1:31 PM, 27 April 2022

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