Te Pā o Rākaihautū – Wetekia kia rere: Kaitiakitanga and decolonising methodologies

Project commenced:

This proposed research will undertake a co-generative process with our community and collaborating researchers to scope and develop specific research questions that would form the basis of individual applications to three funding bodies. However, our meetings to date have broader research questions that have been discussed so far include:

  • Is the Te Pā o Rākaihautū approach to decolonising education effective?
  • What decolonizing methods are being implemented?
  • What does success look like from and individual, whānau and community perspective?
  • How can you measure success (what tohu can be implemented)?
  • What does a Pā Wānanga look like?

Interventions to improve Māori educational achievement have, for the most part, fallen short of expectations as evidenced by the high percentage of Māori who are disengaged in education and an absence learning environments that are conducive and encompassing of Māori cultural constructs.

Te Pā o Rākaihautū (Te Pā) is a designated special character school that opened in Ōtautahi in 2015. Fundamentally this initiative is based on a Pā Wānanga approach, or a learning village, that embeds learning in an environment that is readily identifiable as Māori. Te Pā was established by a group of parents, none of whom were educationalists, but who were fundamentally concerned about the lack of Māori-medium education choice available for their tamariki where they can succeed in education and culturally. ‘Te Pā o Rākaihautū: Wetekia kia rere’ will empower a multidisciplinary discussion and rigorous research framework to describe the educational strategies being employed by a new educational imperative in Ōtautahi (Te Pā o Rākaihautū), and their impact on improving student achievement and well-being and wider whānau empowerment.

The collection framework and collected data will have immediate currency for strategy and decision-makers at Te Pā who are not currently collating any data, beyond the narrow testing frameworks currently prescribed by the MoE. This research will also assist Te Pā o Rākaihautū to further conceptualise the establishment of their permanent Pa Wānanga (learning village). Currently they are domiciled in a decommissioned school but have secured private investor funding to build a new site and are working with the Ministry of Education to determine an appropriate site.

The team of science and education researchers, and Māori-medium education practitioners will consolidate the results of this research through peer reviewed publications and strategic engagement in order to position applications to three fund providers.

Research Lead(s) and Team

Ngāti Whakaue

Angus Macfarlane is Professor of Māori Research at the University of Canterbury. He is an experienced educator and practitioner and has been an advisor and professional development provider for Special Education Services and the Ministry of Education on a number of national projects. His interest is the exploration of cultural concepts and strategies that affect positively on professional practice, on which he published widely.