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Bicultural Challenges for Educational Professionals in Aotearoa

By Ted Glynn


In this article Glynn analises the funding document of New Zealand (The Treaty of Waitangi), which many non-Maori regard as an expression of principles, but Maori consider a charter for power sharing and self-determination, as well as a guide for the intercultural relations of Aotearoa. 
The most critical articles for those in education is the Article II (Rangatiratanga), since included amongst the treasures are all things related to pedagogy (curriculum development, teaching methods, assessment, research, etc). However, in spite of all the promises, for Maori, participation in mainstream education come at a cost of their language and identity, since Maori aspirations, approaches and perspectives do not come to the forefront of NZ education.
Kaupapa Maori is a proactive and reactive initiative concerned with respond to to the domination by majority, so common in imperial cultural models of domination. 
Assuming that as New Zealanders, Maori and no-Maori have equal access to education fail to address, first, Maori aspirations as well as limiting their chances to affect cultural change. 
In order to honour Te Titiri, the mainstream needs to change, by normalising a series of principles and practices. 
  • Ako: teacher and learner cooperating on a single enterprise
  • Modeling: learning through exposure
  • Learning groups: learning in group context over individual contexts
  • Memory learning: oral transmission of knowledge
  • Storytelling: structural link between past and present actions
Educational researches have long neglected issues of locus, power, control, and ownership when generating research questions. Traditionally, Western researchers have interpreted their research from a Western worldview, which has ended up consolidating the idea of deficit models. Kaupapa Maori research is a reaction to this appropriation, Tino Rangatiratanga is at its heart: the control over the process (questions, paradigms, etc) and the dissemination of the information sit within a Maori perspective.


Kaupapa Maori approaches to pedagogy has the best chance to emerge in institutions that operate totally within the Maori world view. However, Glynn notes, the majority of Maori students attend mainstream education. Seemingly, the majority of the educational professionals work in English-medium schools rather than Maori immersion.
Another possible limitation would be the access to research. If Kaupapa Maori research emerges from a Maori world view, who is entitled to research? How do we address cross-cultural bias in this interpretation? 
Even though the article addresses the question of learning and improving achievement, little is mentioned about assessment and qualifications. Do the current options available to Maori allow them to express their cultural identity?


The emergence of Kaupapa Maori challenges the Western interpretation, analysis and perspective as the only option when embarking on a research. It also encourages to further understand what it means to be Maori in the 21st Century as well as challenging current practices and the mainstream education status quo.
Documents such as the Tātaiako are revolutionising the way mainstreams understands pedagogy.
Kaupapa Maori embodies the principles of partnership, participation and protection that underpin the relations between Maori and the Crown, mobilising them from the realm of politics into social practices, challenging educational practices to reflect (effectivel0 the dual partnership and identity of Aotearoa New Zealand. In time, this challenges would motivate further changes in regards to assessment and qualification. 


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