Te Wananga o Aotearoa (NEW ZEALAND)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Pages: 6696-6702
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Curriculum models based on Māori concepts that have been marginalised historically are now experiencing a ‘renaissance’ as Māori educators are beginning to reclaim indigenous approaches to education. Edwards et al (2007) advocates a Māori centric marau (curriculum) that incorporates Māori principles, values, theories and practices. Some elements of the Māori centric marau includes Māori values and principles as pillars and bedrock for teaching and learning, content and delivery that have high personal and contextual relevance, and environments that cater for the expression of a Māori world view such as noho marae (mode of delivery based at a tribal gathering centre). Edwards et al state that “The presence of the elements of the Māori world view in harmony within the marae spaces supports the holistic operation of thought, philosophy, theory, and practice, most commonly culminating in tikanga and kawa (customs) that serve as the foundational physical and spiritual principles for the Māori world view to become embedded in an environment that is conducive to quality teaching and learning”.

Moreover Edwards et al (2007) contends a Māori centric marau would provide collaborative and supported learning environments and peer learning, teaching, and assessment opportunities grounded in whanaungatanga (relationships), tautoko (support) and mana tangata (integrity). Furthermore the use of ako “often referred to as reciprocal learning through real-life contexts and experiences” is the basis for an experience-based curriculum that is “based on the conditions in which the students live, utilising local as well as outside resources”. Thus the Māori centric curriculum is about connections that make learning real, meaningful and contextual (Edwards et al, 2007). Edwards et al (2007) state that the strengthening of connections between development, delivery and environmental contexts as a holistic delivery methodology is central to successful outcomes in relation to a Māori centric curriculum.

On that note, this paper will be based on an oral presentation exploring the design of a Māori centric curriculum for Te Tira Hoe o Waikato (group paddle of the Waikato). Te Tira hoe o Waikato is an initiative that has taken place over the past decade within the tribal region of Waikato, New Zealand. Te Tira hoe o Waikato aims to re-connect and re-associate the local tribal kin group with the Waikato river through undertaking a 50 km waka ama (single hulled) paddle of the Waikato river. In addition to the paddle, participants engage in both traditional teachings from kaumātua (elders) and contemporary teachings from experts in the field of science; law; resource management and history.
The benefits of this curriculum are wide ranging as present and future descendants have an opportunity to learn both traditional and contemporary teachings that are meaningful, that explores and combines the theoretical knowledge with the practical application of teachings conducive to traditional Māori concepts and ultimately be flexible enough to be transformed within a noho marae environment.