What aspects of mātauranga Māori are relevant to Māori-medium schools, for example mātauranga pūtaiao, that promote the wellbeing of the students, the kura, the place and the community?
Māori-medium schools have been significant contributors to the revitalisation and maintenance of te reo Māori over the past 30 years. However, the reintroduction of mātauranga Māori in areas such as pūtaiao has not matched language revitalisation efforts. One reason for this is that the focus to date has been saving the language. Additionally, many of the published te reo Māori resources for subjects such as pūtaiao that are readily available are translations of material based on a Eurocentric world view.
Furthermore, Māori-medium schools have been required to follow state mandated curricula based on Western knowledge as a condition of receiving state funding (McKinley, 2005). While the state in the form of the Ministry of Education has been much more accommodating of demands from the sector for the inclusion of mātauranga Māori, for example the recent release of the Aho Matua curriculum for Kura Kaupapa Māori in 2015, the goal of reintroducing mātauranga Māori is still very much work in progress. Although information is now more readily available over the internet, much of it is in English and the work is left to individual teachers and schools to build the knowledge base from which lessons can be planned.
This takes time and effort that is beyond an individual teacher’s capacity. This project will establish a network of people knowledgeable about mātauranga Māori who can provide support and advise on this kaupapa. Relevant texts (inclusive of literature, interviews etc.) will be identified that examine and discuss mātauranga Māori; interviews with selected community groups such as iwi and kura will be carried out to identify what mātauranga means to them.
Collectively, this information will be used to discuss the implications for how national curriculum and localised school based curricula might be considered. This project supports students who are tracking toward higher education and careers that require knowledge of such areas as science/pūtaiao. The findings will also have implications for teacher education.