«A LITERATURE REVIEW ON KAUPAPA MAORI AND MAORI EDUCATION PEDAGOGY Prepared for ITP New Zealand by IRI The International Research Institute for Maori ...»
The idea that ako was constant does not mean that ako occurred in an unorganized fashion. On the contrary ako was conducted through various learnerteacher relationships. Nepe (1991) identifies the following kinship relationships as central in the transmission of knowledge in traditional Maori society; kaumatua kuia (elders); matua - whaea (parents); tuakana - teina (elder and younger siblings of the same gender) tuahine - tungane (siblings); tama-tamahine (children); tipuna whaea/tipuna matua – mokopuna (grandparents – grandchildren) at various whanau, hapu and iwi levels. Everyone, in particular the children, were exposed to teachings from each group of people at various times based on the range of activities in daily life. The complexities and inter-connectedness of these relationships are key to understanding the way in which ako operates.
While each group had a significant role to play, Nepe (1991) argues that tipuna whaea/tipuna matua – mokopuna (grandparents – grandchildren), were the most “intimately bonded” (ibid:30) and fundamental of these relationships. The grandparents were usually responsible for the daily care of the young, so it was through a caring and nurturing relationship between the child and the grandparent that learning and teaching transpired. The elders were treasured because they were viewed as a conduit of cultural knowledge between the past, present and future. Hemara (2000) identifies waiata as ‘mixed media’ or ‘educational tools’ that were used to teach very young children about things such as tribal lore, genealogical origins, to commemorate feats and tragedies, encourage them to avenge deaths and take on leadership roles. Whakatauki (proverbs), too, provided lessons about all spheres of life, while korero tawhito (old stories) served implicitly to express expectations through the sharing of historical information - not only about individual and whanau but political relationships between hapu and iwi. It was the elders that were most knowledgeable about inter and intra-relationships of whanau, hapu and iwi, and who provided wise counsel to the younger generations.
In short, Nepe (1991) says:
the tipuna (elder) has the role of transmitting to the mokopuna (grandchild) knowledge that will develop the child’s intellect to ‘think Maori’ as well as to nurture the child’s wairua to ‘feel and be Maori’ (p. 31).
Ako was embedded within these intimate familial relationships that precipitated the cultural conditions of teaching and learning not only knowledge, skills and abilities but instilling a sense of the spiritual realm, the politics of the social and economic world, as well as values that included the core issues of identity and belonging.
In turn, kinship relationships existed within the wider framework of whakapapa.
Usually translated as ‘genealogy’, whakapapa was more than an issue of identity through genealogical connections. It provided explanations for the origins and present position of all things. Whakapapa informed who we are, how we are connected to each other, what whakapapa means in our social relationships and why it matters. It also set up a relational framework governed by notions of reciprocity. Whakapapa also underpins Maori relationships with the natural environment and spiritual realm through Papatuanuku (Earth Mother), Ranginui (Sky Father) and our many atua (gods/godesses) that make up the Maori world.
An integral part of ako was the metaphysical dimension. Ako was sanctioned in various ways through karakia and tikanga. Traditionally, the physical realm was not detached from the spiritual realm. Just as there were physical requirements in order to effectively teach and learn, so too were there spiritual implications (Pere, 1988). For instance, an important part of becoming an expert in fields such as carving, weaving and cultivation was knowing the rituals that recognised the atua (goddesses/gods) of that particular knowledge. Ceremonies that initiated students into particular disciplines were considered vital in facilitating more effective teaching and learning. For instance, children did not only learn to plant and harvest crops, but they also became familiar with atua associated with horticulture, the deities responsible for seasonal growth and plenty, as well as the ancestors who were famous as food producers.
Ako as Maori pedagogy is derived from a need to transmit, maintain and further expand Maori knowledge and therefore must be seen in relation to the ways in which Maori knowledge is understood. Fundamental beliefs in regards to matauranga Maori (Maori knowledge) and its origins in the physical world is conveyed within the korero on Nga kete Wananga, the three kete of knowledge.
Maori Marsden (1988) outlined the existence of three sacred baskets of knowledge. Within these baskets rested three intertwining paradigms relating to celestial knowledge; esoteric knowledge and knowledge pertaining to the physical universe of ‘sense perception’ or ‘constructed’ world. Marsden (1988) identified that Maori paradigms begin from the position of the world ‘behind’ this world of constructed reality is the world Maori consider to be the ‘ultimate reality’. In this view, Maori are direct descendents of our atua. Our language is also our heritage handed us through atua and tupuna. Knowledge then is viewed as having a dual structure, a sacred inner corpus and a general or every day corpus of knowledge.
Tuakana Nepe (1991) emphasises that Kaupapa Maori knowledge is distinctive to Maori society because it has its origins in the metaphysical. Kaupapa Maori she states is a “body of knowledge’ accumulated by the experiences through history, of the Maori people” (Nepe 1991:4). For her, this knowledge form is distinctive to Maori in that it derives fundamentally from Maori epistemologies that include complex relationships and ways of organising society. She argues that this distinctive nature of Kaupapa Maori is seen in the ways in which Maori
the concept of the relationship between the living and the dead; life and death; the Maori concept of time, history and development; the relationships between male and female; individual and group; and the implication of such relationships for social power relations. These knowledge types and their functions are the content and product of the interconnection of the purely Maori metaphysical base and Maori societal relationships. (Nepe 1991:5) Tracing further the origins of Kaupapa Maori knowledge Tuakana places its origins in Rangiatea which she stated makes it exclusively Maori. Rangiatea is the first known Whare Wananga located in Te Toi-o-nga-Rangi, the uppermost domain of the twelve domains that exist within the spiritual realm and the home of Io-MatuaKore, the creator. Nepe writes that from Io-Matua-Kore comes the gift of matauranga Maori, Maori knowledge, brought by Tane to the earthly realms in three kete, Te Kete Tuauri, Te Kete Tuatea, Te Kete Aronui alongside two kohatu (sacred stones) Hukatai and Rehutai. Within these kete was held knowledge of both the celestial and earthly realms and that knowledge provided for the teaching within Whare Wananga. Through various Whare Wananga knowledge and culture was transmitted. Numerous Whare Wananga, each connected to particular knowledge, are known to have made a complex educational system through which knowledge was retained, maintained, developed and transmitted.
Another metaphor which conveys this duality is found within ‘te kauwae runga’ and ‘te kauwae raro’ as the sacred upper and lower jawbones which symbolise ancestral wisdom and again indicates the existence of sacred and earthly knowledge systems. This metaphor is a way to understand the structure and organisation of the traditional Whare Wananga with the ‘kauwae runga’ representing esoteric and most sacred knowledge and the ‘kauwae raro’ representing the knowledge of daily existence. There is a broad variation between whanau, hapu and iwi in regards to the names functions and everyday expression of ‘nga kete wananga’ and of the range and functions of the various forms of Whare Wananga.
To explore in depth the complex systems of Whare Wananga is beyond this review, however it is necessary to recognise and acknowledge that our people have always maintained structures and systems of knowledge development and transmission. Some Whare Wananga identified by Tuakana Nepe include; wharewananga, whare-kura, whare-maire, whare-puni, whare-takiura, whare-tatai, whare-pora, whare-mata, whare-takaha and whare-porukuruku Nepe indicated that within the Whare Wananga exists two teaching divisions;
kauwae runga - restricted to celestial knowledge, this included:
cosmogonic genealogies, rituals, waiata, narratives and exceedingly difficult, cryptic and elliptical karakia (Nepe 1991: 18) kauwae raro - concerned with terrestrial knowledge.
Relating to the origins of ‘te ira tangata ki te Ao marama’, that is, from the conception of life within the mother’s womb into the World of Light; through the genealogical descent, ‘mai i Rangi Tuhaha ki a Papatuanuku, ki a Hine-hau-one’, from the twelve heavens to Papatuanuku the Earth Mother, then to Hine-hau-one the first woman. (Nepe 1991:18) Knowledge has always had a central place within Maori society and the complexities of knowledge and knowledge transmission recognised in the structures of the Whare Wananga. Kaupapa Maori is, Tuakana Nepe (ibid) argues, the conceptualisation of Maori knowledge transmitted through te reo Maori. The centrality of te reo Maori is critical in understanding traditional Maori pedagogies. Maori knowledge has been formed, shaped, constructed and transmitted through an oral tradition. Maori Marsden (1988) relates a notion of the ‘kupu’ (word) as the ‘kahahu of sound’, the cloak or garment of sound. Sound and vibrations are critical to the transmission of knowledge and can be heard and felt within te reo Maori.
The centrality of te reo Maori me ona tikanga is voiced powerfully by Rangimarie Rose Pere;
Kotahi te tino taonga ki a ngai taua te Maori, ahakoa te iwi, ahakoa te hapu, ahakoa te whanau, ko to tatau reo rangatira. Ko te reo i heke mai i Rangiatea, te hoki ki nga rangi tuhaha, i whakaparekereketia ai ki te oneone, i tanumia, a, mai i te kohuretanga ake i roto i te oneone nei, i whakatipuria ai, i poipoia ai, i penapenatia ai, i manaakitia ai, i tipu ai, a no te tipunga, ka haumi, ka awhiowhio tona kakara ki nga topito o te ao a ratau ma. Te reo rangatira nei, he wairua kamaatua tona, he momo huna, kia kore e mohio a tauiwi ki ona hohonutanga, engari te raruraru i tenei wa, he maha nga tangata Maori, kaore i te mohio ki nga hohonutanga, nga whanuitanga o te reo.
The following translation is provided in the publication by Rangimarie herself:
There is one truly great treasure among us Maori, no matter which tribe, sub-tribe, or family, and that is our chiefly language. The language which came from Rangiatea, the highest heaven of the far-flung heavens, down to earth, was planted here, and thereafter since it was first uncovered in the soil, it was grown, it was cherished, it was nurtured, it was cared for, it grew. Then from its growth, it gradually spread its sweet scent to every corner of the universe of the ancients. This chiefly language has its own spirit of inherent wisdom, it is communication of the abstract, in order that outsiders might not understand it’s hidden depths. The problem at this time is there are many Maori who do not know its depths, or the breadth of the language.
(Pere, R. 1999 3-10) Rangimarie Rose Pere provides us with an understanding of the depth that te reo Maori offers us in regards to understanding traditional knowledge forms. In the publication ‘Te Wheke’ (1991) Rangimarie Pere also provides multiple examples of the ways in which te reo Maori is able to provide us with deeper insight into
understanding ourselves as Maori. She writes:
Language is the life line and sustenance of a culture. It provides the tentacles that can enable a child to link up with everything in his or her word. It is one of the most important forms of empowerment that a child can have. Language is not only a form of communication but it helps transmit the values and beliefs of a people. (Pere 1991:9) To example the power of te reo Maori to provide understanding of the values and beliefs of Maori Rangimarie Pere provides insight into meanings and understandings of specific kupu Maori (Maori word), for example the role of children is profoundly identified within the kupu ‘tamariki’.
Tamariki: Tama is derived from Tama-te-ra the central sun, the divine spark; ariki refers to senior most status, and riki on its own can mean smaller version. Tamariki is the Maori word used for children. Children are the greatest legacy the world community has. (Pere 1997:4) Such a definition indicates the way in which Maori children were viewed within traditional Maori society and the key role that they were seen to hold as future leaders. Such a position is affirmed by early records, where it is noted that Maori were considered to be overly indulgent of Maori children (Salmond 1997).
In a key note address at the ‘Kaupapa Maori Theory and Research hui’ held at Waipapa Marae (2004), Kaa Williams stated that there are many layers and depths of te reo Maori that operated within Maori society and which require specific focus within the current revitalisation processes of te reo Maori (see also Pihama 2001).
She notes that there are many genre of te reo Maori that exist and which transmission particular forms of matauranga Maori, some examples of this being te reo Karakia (the language of invocation), te reo Powhiri (the language of ritual welcome), te reo Paki (the language of story narration). This indicates that within Maori society there are complex language and knowledge systems and therefore there existed a range of pedagogical approaches that required a range of approaches and processes, and which provides insight into the traditional use of a range of Whare Wananga.
Te Kapunga Dewes (1977) contends that the oral tradition of Maori means that the transmission of Maori knowledge “rests on the foundation of te reo Maori” (ibid:46).