Te Piko o te Māhuri: The key attributes of successful Kura Kaupapa Māori Publications
The research project examines the key attributes of successful kura and how and why the attributes contribute to kura being successful. The research adopted a strengths based approach and focused on what is working, the strengths and resilience of kura, with the intention of promoting and building on the successes. The methodology implemented a case study approach involving 5 successful kura. The report addresses the outcomes and experiences sought and valued by whānau and iwi of the respective case study kura.
Author(s): Nuki Tākao, Denis Grennell, Kate McKegg and Nan Wehipeihana, Māreikura Limited.
Date Published: September 2010
The Nature of Success
- This is what kura themselves have to say about the nature of success in Kura Kaupapa Māori Te Aho Matua.
- The key questions asked were:
- What does success mean to the parents, grandparents, teachers, staff, principals and graduates of these kura?
- How do they themselves measure, quantify and qualify success?
- The approach used to gather this information was grounded in an appreciative philosophy (Preskill and Catsambas, 2006) i.e., that focusing on what has worked, and what has been successful will encourage people to reveal some of the deep practices, values and principles that underpin how people in organisations really work and operate. This approach recognises and affirms the learning that comes from people's lived experiences and in doing so strengthens people's confidence, energy and creativity for the future.
What does success mean to you?
"A rugby league team was started at the school that spoke only in Māori. So that's an important example, not just for the kura kids, but for all those other rugby league kids around Auckland too. Every Saturday the sports field is packed with parents. What we do outside of the kura is very powerful." - Bailey Mackey, Whānau, Ngā Maungārongo
"The patterns are like the many and varied learning pathways that this kura provides for its students. Each child can also focus on his/her chosen interest areas. The weaving itself represents the relationships that bind kura children and their families together, although not perhaps by kinship, we are a family nonetheless." - Whānau, Tāmaki Nui a Rua
"The rising of the Pleiades constellation over Pukepoto hill. We wake up early and all meet there. We say our farewells to those who have died in the past year, we pray and sing. I was amazed at the depth of knowledge the little kura kids had when they talked about Matariki. Heaps of people were there, then it was off to the kura eat hāngi together. The children had prepared the food beforehand too. It's a high level of learning, it's a high level of generosity." - Kāwharu Greensill, Whānau, Ruamata
"At the pōwhiri, all the school attends. The kids have learnt to respect the tikanga. They sit through that. They're brilliant. They sit there they know what to do. It's noticeable. They're learning respect." - Gloria Smith, Whānau Tāmaki Nui a Rua
"Before I arrived, I'd heard glowing reports about this school from my brothers and my parents, their kids are all good at speaking Māori. So, I enrolled my girl, (the youngest) into the school. Due to enrolling the baby at Mana Tamariki our whole family is speaking Māori again, even the older girls." - Hinemoana Durie, Whānau, Mana Tamariki
"I have no problem looking out for our kids, intervening with our rangatahi and our children anywhere they are." - Ana Paewai, Pouako, Tāmaki Nui a Rua
Our kōhanga went on a trip with the kura and there was a 16-17 year old boy actually looking after and helping the teachers with a 5 year old. It was natural too, not forced. Making sure that small child had their lunch before they ate theirs. That is not something you will get from a mainstream school. That actually made my decision to come to the kura, and I can see that's going to happen to my children, they will have the same values." - Jean Bartlett, Whānau, Tāmaki Nui a Rua
"Graduation Day - it's a day the whānau rallies together to support the ones out the front and the ones working at the back. When a child has made it to graduation day, they wear their own whānau korowai and the kura honours them. They might be the first person in their whānau to graduate." - Awatea Hōhepa, Pouako, Ruamata
"We're a whānau despite us not being related by blood. The language is one of the things that binds us together. The amazingly close connection between the whānau of Mana Tamariki was most evident at the tangihanga of Te Wai." - Pōtaka Taite, Whānau, Mana Tamariki
"My definition of success is not to be afraid to embrace new ideas as well as staying with the 'tried & true'. We must have a good, committed whānau who manaaki, awhi etc. Passionate kaiako. Good management and Board of Trustees." - Whānau, Te Ara Hou
"When I was with my elders I pleaded with them to speak Māori to me, but despite my pleas to them, they still spoke to me in English. However, they speak Māori to my children. Maybe it's because they can see that the Māori language is in my children, that they speak Māori to them." - Donna Tākitimu, Whānau, Mana Tamariki
"Depicts what I remember seeing on arriving at Te Ara Hou. What captured me was te mita o te reo, ngā tamariki harikoa, te manaaki, te whare (kōwhaiwhai) caught my eye, ko te pouako he kuia (Nanny Kani) and I was totally blown away with whakangā." - Whānau, Te Ara Hou
"We are not saying that we are a successful kura. What we are saying though is that we are making good progress and that we believe in this kaupapa. We believe it is the right kaupapa for us and that we are the right people for it." - Brian Paewai, Tumuaki, Tāmaki Nui a Rua
"What is critical is that we are giving our kids a taonga - the language, as a tool for their future." - Stephen Paewai, Whānau, Tāmaki Nui a Rua
"That our tamariki are able to go out into the world standing strong in who they are and where they are going and enjoying ongoing education along the way in whatever they choose." - Whānau, Te Ara Hou
What are the key attributes of an exceptional pouako?
"I truly believe that the most important quality is aroha. They must demonstrate this, teach it and carry it wherever they go, whatever they do. It's impossible to go wrong if we do something with aroha. Aroha for the children, for the job of teaching and for the Kura Kaupapa Māori movement. If this happens, then everything flows smoothly, not just the job but the outcomes as well. In the end, it all comes down to aroha."
- Pēhi Waho, Raukura/Pouako, Mana Tamariki
"Your child is my child, and my child is your child. That way they are kept safe within the warm embrace of the whānau's support. In other words you love them to bits." - Ānahera Bowen, Pouako, Ruamata
"Good communication skills are what's needed. The person must enjoy working together with the whānau to realise the aspirations of the whānau. The wishes and dreams of the whānau are different to that of the Ministry and so that person must also be a part of the whānau to fully understand them."
- Taramea Bevan-Brown, Pouako, Mana Tamariki
"First and foremost is love. If the teacher loves the child, the child can feel it. The child will then open up and trust. Secondly, is the understanding of human nature. Accepting that every child is different means they won't judge or categorise the child, but rather adapt what they're doing to suit the child. Thirdly, the teacher must remember that these children are the faces of their ancestors. Behind them are their families, their forebears and all of their learning experiences up until now.' - Awatea Hohepa, Pouako, Ruamata
"Teachers who open their arms to the children, so that they can fly to the heights of success. Good teachers know how to step aside to allow students to choose the pathways that they wish to pursue for themselves."
- Hineao McLean, Wharekura, Te Ara Hou
"An effective teacher is one who knows his/her subject well. This teacher patiently guides the student. He/she has three eyes. One of these eyes allows the teacher to sense whether or not the student is coping or struggling." - Tāwhana Chadwick, Raukura, Te Ara Hou
"Someone who truly promotes all the aspects of human kindness, like showing care and respect. Someone who cares for and respects the child with grace and humility." - Te Huarahi Rask, Pouako, Mana Tamariki
"What a good teacher does is realise that there's always more to learn. The thing is, learning is life-long, it never stops." - Sherry Centeno, Pouako, Mana Tamariki
As a graduate, what has kura given to you, that you most value?
"The support of the whānau. The whānau is the backbone of the kura, without which the kaupapa would surely fail. And the knowledge that the whānau will always support me, no matter where I go." - Tuahine Hakiwai, Raukura, Te Ara Hou
"Caring for people, so that we all thrive as a people. Working together as one. What I value above all else, is manaakitanga." - Niloufer Hassan, Wharekura, Te Ara Hou
"The awakening of my identity as Māori and as Ngāti Kahungunu. I will always have this, the knowledge of who I am." - Tāwhana Chadwick, Raukura, Te Ara Hou
"My language and culture are my immutable treasures. I value my all encompassing Māori world view. It is my sustenance and my wellbeing." - Te Hēmara Rauhihi, Raukura, Mana Tamariki
"The kura has sustained me in every way. I am a product of the kura." - Mānia Wī Kaitaia, Raukura/Pouako, Ruamata
"My language and my identity. When I finished kura I went to South America for a year. One of my elders from the river gave me this invaluable advice, "Leave your customs and traditions here at home but take your ancestors with you." Being raised to really appreciate my identity as Māori, I felt confident in following his advice." - Pēhi Waho, Raukura/Pouako, Mana Tamariki
"Learning how to interact with people regardless of who they are, where they are from, or what they do. I consider this ability to be invaluable to me." - Hineao Mclean, Wharekura, Te Ara Hou
"The most important thing to me is my ancestors and my elders whose examples I seek to follow in all I do." - Haimona Te Nahu, Raukura, Ruamata
"My Māoritanga and my language. Now that I am at uni, and part of the group of Māori students there, I realise there are so many of my peers who don't have the language or a firm grasp of tikanga." - Amokura Tapiata-Walsh, Raukura, Mana Tamariki
What would you give so that kura may be even more successful?
"The reo. We must continue to grow our capacity and strength in the reo."
"I am at uni studying to be a teacher. This is my contribution to realising the dream for this kaupapa. Our koha (as graduates) is to keep coming back to our kura, to retain the connection between ourselves and the kaupapa."
"To establish a tertiary level of education here at kura for adults, so that we as parents demonstrate to our wharekura students that learning is a lifelong pursuit."
"A business arm so that we may enjoy financial independence."
"Teachers, teachers and more teachers!"
"A much stronger connection between the kura and the home, so that the responsibility for the language is carried by the whole whānau, not only the kura."
"A deeper understanding of the origins of the kura. Establishing a kura is an incredible feat, and if the current whānau understood this better they would be better able to engage in the kaupapa, and would more confidently follow our leaders."
"Funding that allows our children to enjoy the same types of experiences that we (the graduates) enjoyed when our kura was much smaller.
"The Te Aho Matua curriculum with all its resourcing, application and understanding."
"A teacher training programme."
"A scholarship for Kura Kaupapa Māori graduates to attend uni."
"A business arm so that the kura can operate financially independently."
"To enable all who so desire, to speak Māori fluently and immediately."
"To become a pouako myself."
"The sweat from my brow and the callouses on my hands."
"Māori speaking friends for my children."
"To ease the transition for our graduates from kura to tertiary study."
"For the entire kura whānau to fully understand our origins as a kura, so that we might move forwards as one."
"My yet unborn mokopuna."
"Time for whānau and leadership to strategise for the development into an independent kura for 100 years to come."
"That the children themselves may come to understand the pain of the loss of our language, so they might work harder to retain what they have."
"Just me and all I have to give, because that is what this kura was built on people and their love for the kaupapa."
"To keep coming back to support the kaupapa. We are the children of the leaders and grew up in the kaupapa, aware of all its shortfalls and of how much work still needs to be done. So I will always return, with my hands and my heart."
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