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«A LITERATURE REVIEW ON KAUPAPA MAORI AND MAORI EDUCATION PEDAGOGY Prepared for ITP New Zealand by IRI The International Research Institute for Maori ...»

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Prepared for

ITP New Zealand



The International Research Institute for

Maori and Indigenous Education

Dr Leonie Pihama, Ms Kaapua Smith, Ms Mereana Taki, Ms Jenny Lee



E nga reo, e nga mana, Tena koutou katoa.

He mihi whanui tenei ki a koutou e awhi nei i tenei kaupapa.

He putanga tenei mahi rangahau na koutou.

No reira, e rau rangatira ma tena koutou, tena koutou, tena koutou katoa.

Research Team The research team for this research project is Dr Leonie Pihama (Te Atiawa, Ngati Mahanga), Ms Kaapua Smith, Ms Jenny Lee, Ms Mereana Taki. Advisor to the project is Professor Linda Tuhiwai Smith. The research was conducted under the auspices of the International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education and was contracted through UniServices. The International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education (IRI) was established in 1997 and is situated in the Faculty of Arts of the University of Auckland. The Institute consists of a multi-disciplinary group of mainly Maori academics with a proven record in research. The Kaupapa of IRI is to conduct and disseminate research, scholarship and debate which make a positive difference to the lives of Maori and other indigenous peoples, by drawing together a group of highly skilled and respected scholars who are dedicated to quality outcomes in Maori and indigenous education.

UniServices Auckland UniServices Ltd (UniServices) is an independent limited liability company wholly owned by the University of Auckland. It provides consulting services in New Zealand and internationally. It is also a research and technology transfer company.

UniServices has the following Mission Statement:

UniServices seek to meet the needs of the community for professional and technology services by matching those needs with the resources available from within the University of Auckland.

UniServices ensure that client’s requirements for quality services are met and that University Departments and Staff, and the University at large, are appropriately rewarded in the performance of their activities for outside organisations.

UniServices was the contracting agency for the present project.



Research Team







Te Reo me ona Tikanga

Tino Rangatiratanga

Taonga tuku iho

Ako Maori

Kia piki ake i nga raruraru o te kainga







This literature review provides an overview of Kaupapa Maori principles and practices, which form the basis for Maori educational pedagogy. Furthermore it includes some examples of key notions in Kaupapa Maori service provision.

Kaupapa Maori principles and practices are inseparable are considered dialectical and enable us to understand key elements that provide for a contemporary expression of Maori pedagogy.

The purpose of this review is to contribute to the ITPNZ project Critical success factors for effective use of e-learning with Maori learners. The contribution of The International Research Institute for Maori and Indigenous Education (IRI) is outlined here.

The subcontract states that the background report and review will focus on research evidence for the critical success factors for Maori adult learning,


Maori formal schooling development from 1816 to the present Kaupapa Maori education philosophies, including pre-colonial and key educational and pedagogical elements Evidence of theory and effective practices for adult Maori learners Relationships with other indigenous experiences, including e-learning e-learning with adult Maori learners.

It is noted that as an outcome of the literature review process the team has focused most specifically on the area of Maori educational philosophies and pedagogical elements. Since presenting the draft report to ITPNZ we have developed some specific pedagogical areas in more depth and included a discussion of ‘ako’ as a concept that relates to the wider definition of pedagogy within a Maori context. As such there has been a need to prioritise certain aspects of the review process, this has been necessary also as a result of the limited time frame within which this background paper has been developed. Indigenous references are included where appropriate, however it is noted that time constraints have limited this part of the review.

The priority areas for the literature review are (i) Maori formal schooling development from 1816 to the present and (ii) Kaupapa Maori education philosophies, including pre-colonial and key educational and pedagogical elements. It is the view of the research team that the elements discussed in relation to these two areas are transferable across sectors and specific groups of students. The transferable nature of Kaupapa Maori has been strongly argued by Graham Hingangaroa Smith (1997) in his doctoral thesis. As such the theory and practices inherent within Maori pedagogy are laid out in more general terms and where information specific to Maori adult learners is available that has been included in the discussion.

There is however an area that does not receive discussion in this review, that being e-learning with adult Maori learners. The time constraints has meant that limited time has been available to review these areas. It appeared evident to us that the critical literature and discussion was that surrounding Maori pedagogy and as such intense time and space has been dedicated to adequately covering that material. Given that a corresponding e-learning literature review is being undertaken we expect that the material directly related to Maori and e-learning, and to Indigenous Peoples involvement with e-learning, would be included in that review. What we have provided is a significant piece of work that provides a discussion of Maori educational philosophies and pedagogies that will act as a guide for those working in the wider Maori and e-learning project being undertaken by ITPNZ.

This report will provide the workshop participants and others with a general understanding of Maori pedagogy to support the development of e-learning pedagogies with Maori. As noted above the notion of critical success factors is discussed in the report in relation to Kaupapa Maori and traditional Maori educational philosophies and pedagogies. The report does not provide a formulaic approach to what constitutes critical success factors rather the approach we have taken is to outline key concepts and practices that have been identified within the literature as critical to a Maori pedagogical approach and which a range of expert authors believe to be critical to successful Maori learning and teaching processes.

The report has been written so that it may be used by those with no or little understanding of Kaupapa Maori education philosophies as a basis for considering the implications for enhancing learning outcomes for Maori learners in tertiary education settings. It is noted that IRI operates within a Kaupapa Maori research framework and the discussion of this methodological approach is where we will commence the review.

Kaupapa Maori & Maori pedagogy: A Literature Review

–  –  –

Those that draw sustenance from the tree of knowledge theirs is the world.


According to Tuakana Nepe (1991) Kaupapa Maori derives from distinctive cultural epistemological and metaphysical foundations. This is further argued by Dr Linda Tuhiwai Smith (1996) who states The concept of Kaupapa implies a way of framing and structuring how we think about those ideas and practices. Nepe argues that Kaupapa Maori is a conceptualisation of Maori knowledge.

Kaupapa Maori is not new but has its foundations that reach well beyond the colonisation of these lands. As Leonie Pihama (1993) notes In the New Zealand context distinctive modes of theorising have emerged, from Maori communities, which have as a common element the validation of Te Reo and Tikanga Maori. These movements have been framed under a range of broad terms, ‘Tino rangatiratanga’, ‘Maori Sovereignty’, ‘Maori perspectives’, and ‘Kaupapa Maori’. These modes of analysis and theory are by no means contemporary phenomena. Since colonisation Maori people have been actively asserting their positioning in this land as Tangata Whenua.

Inherent in these struggles has been an ongoing demand for the recognition and legitimation of Te Reo Maori and Tikanga.

The marginalisation of Maori has meant the privileging of Pakeha knowledges over Maori knowledges. This privileging originates from processes of colonisation and the imposition of colonial institutions. The existing education system is but one of these institutions. There are many such institutions. This is also an area within which the contestation related to processes of knowledge selection has been vigorously undertaken by Maori.

As a part of that struggle we have seen contemporary expressions of Kaupapa Maori develop within the education system. Their development and ongoing survival has been driven by Maori. Te Kohanga Reo (Immersion Maori Language Nests) and Kura Kaupapa Maori (Immersion Maori Language Primary Schools) are two well known examples. Te Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Maori developed as resistance to a mainstream Pakeha centered system that failed to address key needs of Maori. As a founding member of Kura Kaupapa Maori in Tamaki Makaurau (Auckland Isthmus), Graham Hingangaroa Smith has argued that Kura Kaupapa Maori is a successful intervention for Maori. One of the key elements is that the development originated from and is driven by Maori. Within Kura Kaupapa Maori key features are consistently evident.

Contemporary expressions of Kaupapa Maori have been summarised by Graham

Hingangaroa Smith (1990:100) in the following way:

A Kaupapa Maori base (Maori philosophy and principles) i.e. local theoretical

positioning related to being Maori, such a position presupposes that:

• the validity and legitimacy of Maori is taken for granted

• the survival and revival of Maori language and culture is imperative

• the struggle for autonomy over our own cultural well-being, and over our own lives is vital to Maori survival.

These features speak not to content per se, but to Maori aspirations, philosophies, processes and pedagogies, which are consistently found within successful Maori interventions. The term intervention is used in this sense to relate to the need, to bring about specific positive transformation in the experiences and positioning of Maori.

Where much existing material related to Kaupapa Maori initiatives is located within the Maori education field, Kaupapa Maori is not limited to any one sector. Graham Smith (ibid.) notes that Kaupapa Maori is relevant to all aspects of society. The success elements that are evident in Te Kohanga Reo and Kura Kaupapa Maori derive from wider Maori knowledges, they are inherently a part of tikanga Maori.

Kaupapa Maori can not be seen to be bound to any one sector (for example education or justice) as Kaupapa Maori does not know the parameters that are a part of defining those sectors. Those parameters are defined within western philosophies not Kaupapa Maori.

Locating Kaupapa Maori as an intervention strategy, Smith, Fitzsimons and

Roderick (1998) highlight the following:

Kaupapa Maori encompasses the social change or intervention elements that are common across many different sites of Maori cultural struggle, and as the collective set of key intervention elements in the Maori-driven, cultural resistance initiatives.

There is a growing body of literature regarding Kaupapa Maori theories and practices that assert a need for Maori to develop initiatives for change that are located within distinctly Maori frameworks (Smith. L. & Cram, F. 1997).

As Graham Smith (1997) has articulated, Kaupapa Maori initiatives develop intervention and transformation at the level of both ‘institution’ and ‘mode’. The mode can be understood in terms of the pedagogy, the curriculum and evaluation.

The institutional level is the physical component; economics; power; ideology and constructed notions of democracy. Kaupapa Maori challenges the political context of unequal power relations and associated structural impediments.

Smith (1997:273) makes the point however, that transforming the mode and the institution is not sufficient. It is the political context of unequal power relations that must be challenged and changed. In short Kaupapa Maori strategies question the right of Pakeha to dominate and exclude Maori preferred interests in education, and asserts the validity of Maori knowledge, language, custom and practice, and its right to continue to flourish in the land of its origin, as the tangata whenua (indigenous) culture.

Kaupapa Maori thus challenges, questions and critiques expressions of dominant Pakeha hegemony. In doing so Kaupapa Maori engages with and seeks to intervene in and transform unequal power relations that exist within Aotearoa and which continue to subordinate Maori aspirations (Pihama 2001). Further to this, Bishop and Glynn (1999) refer to Kaupapa Maori as the “flourishing of a proactive Maori political discourse.” For these writers Kaupapa Maori is a movement and a consciousness. Since the 1980s with the advent of Te Kohanga Reo, Kaupapa Maori has become an influential, coherent philosophy and practice for Maori conscientisation, resistance and transformative praxis, advancing Maori cultural and educational outcomes within education.

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