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Parekura Horomia: Kia hiwa ra - Listen to culture

Parekura Horomia: Kia hiwa ra - Listen to culture

Kia hiwa ra - Listen to culture

I am happy to be here today and I congratulate Angus MacFarlane on preparing this book.

The other day I told parliament that Maori were achieving in more numbers now than ever before.

Two things have contributed to this surge in achievement.

The first is that this government is investing in education and recognises there is no one-size- fits-all approach.

This has empowered those at the chalk-face, working closest with our tamariki, to develop creative and proactive solutions. This has encouraged people to reflect the culture of institutions, the culture of classrooms and to recognise the diversity amongst learners in the classroom.

Secondly, Maori have raised their expectations. In my own whänau we have raised our expectations of our own children and what we want to see as the pathways for future success for them. I have to admit I didn't really know what academia was all about as I grew up. There were very few PhDs or Masters Degrees in my whänau during my youth. As a result I never saw it as a pathway for me. However, I know it is for my moko now.

That is why I am glad to be here today. To support the launch of a book that brings together research on teaching and learning in a practical manner.

Kia Hiwa ra Listen to culture is an academic analysis of Mâori teaching techniques. It validates what we as Mâori have known for many years. We have a lot of knowledge and experience from our ways of thinking and doing that we can contribute to our children's education.

The word AKO is an example. For Maori it means both to teach and to learn. In other words learning is integral to teaching and teaching is an integral part of learning. The two ideas are synonymous. Yet for many students schooling and learning is about what they were taught - not about a shared and guided experience of learning that the concept of AKO suggests.

And that is - mainstreaming on its own has failed to deliver successful outcomes to our people.

I was interested in the field studies that were conducted at Ngongotaha school. In particular the study that was carried out on the Ngati Whakaue Enrichment class. It was refreshing to hear about Bev Anaru and the ways in which she achieved results from her children.

Why did children who supposedly had behaviour problems and learning difficulties thrive in Bev Anaru's class? Angus puts it down to a simple but effective cocktail of skills. He writes, "Bev Anaru has a rich store of knowledge, both of the New Zealand curriculum, and of te reo and tikanga Maori."

Bev puts it even more succinctly herself, "There is nothing like teaching a child to read and can't buy the joy you get from seeing the glint in the youngsters eye when they make out their first words.but there is one other ingredient for educational success - aroha."

Bev reinforces the notion that pride and self-belief are extremely important tools in maintaining positive interactive relationships with children. Angus observed her teaching techniques as being assertive and taking a leadership role. He also pointed out the slight nuances that she employed during the teaching day and how they all contributed to her success.

Angus says, "culturally responsive teachers need not come from the same culture of the students". This is highlighted in an interview with a former non-Mâori student taught by Bev. She told Angus that Mrs Anaru "cared for everyone." And I guess that's what it's all about.

We need a lot more Bev Anaru's in this world. People like her who think outside the square in order to prepare our emerging leaders for the trials and tribulations that life is going throw at them.

Given the current climate the launch of this book is so very appropriate. I just wonder whether Don Brash paid this school a visit while he was in Rotorua yesterday.

It's our children and mokopuna who are going to be the leaders of tomorrow. In 15-20 years time one in five of the population is going to have a whakapapa. This is what succession planning is all about.

That's why I have been keenly pursuing education as the Associate Minister of Education with responsibilities for Maori education.

Congratulations Angus this is a good resource I hope teachers will take time out to read this book. I think it provides a useful insight into how we can get the results if we are willing to adapt to the circumstances that we find ourselves in.

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