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Redistribution of funding needed for te reo Maori education

Redistribution of funding needed for new Maori language education model – Te Aka o Te Aho Matua

A group of Maori language educationalists is calling for a redistribution of funding to support a model of education where pre-schoolers, primary and secondary students and their extended families learn together on one site – from the cradle to the grave.

The model is known as Te Aka o Te Aho Matua and is an holistic total immersion Maori language education option underpinned by the philosophy known as Te Aho Matua. (Legislated in 1998 – Education Amendment Act)

The group behind the idea, Te Runanga Nui o Nga Kura Kaupapa Maori o Aotearoa (Te Runanga Nui) represents 63 Kura Kaupapa Maori nationwide who have their own curriculum Te Marautanga o Te Aho Matua and are reviewed

according to the principles of Te Aho Matua. Forty-one of these kura cater for primary and secondary. Twenty – three already cater for preschool through to secondary.

Te Runanga Nui Tumuaki, Dr Cathy Dewes says Te Aka o Te Aho Matua - is an education lifestyle for the whole whanau.

“Whanau learning together from the cradle to the grave is a normal experience for Kura Kaupapa Maori Aho Matua (KKM). We want to see the development of Te Aka o Te Aho Matua for all our communities who believe in the Aho Matua philosophy as a way of life for the whole whanau.”

“We want to see this model resourced properly and developed further because the benefits for the whole whanau are enormous.”

“Whanau in KKM learn together, sleep in a marae-style setting together and play sport together. When children learn waiata, whakapapa and tribal histories – their parents and extended whanau also take part.”

“The whole community participates in rituals and ceremony for important occasions such as birth, 21sts, marriage, graduation and death.”

“Whanau look after each others children and raise money together for educational activites.”

“An essential feature of families learning in a Te Aho Matua environment is the care shown for one another and the demonstration of that love in many ways on a daily basis.”

“We see this model as vital for the health and well-being and the future of our families. Kura Kaupapa Maori Aho Matua have been operating for nearly 30 years now – and our students are achieving great results in NCEA and are having great success in sport and cultural activities,” says Rawiri Wright, Tumuaki Tuarua for Te Runanga Nui and Tumuaki for Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Hoani Waititi Marae.

“Students retain and build their language skills and knowledge right through to the age of 18 when they leave the programme to study further or take up employment. We know this model is successful not only because of the results achieved – but also because our rangatahi continue to return to their kura to support and take part in the daily programme – some even return as teachers and ancilliary staff. That is a sign of the success of our kaupapa and we want to build on that,” says Mr Wright.

“It is crucial that we continue to provide a strong Maori language immersion option for our tamariki and their families where Maori values such as whanaungatanga and manaakitanga are upheld and where all tamariki are treasured. It is also crucial that we do not lose the language skills our children have developed in their earlier years,” he says.

“The establishment process for Kura Kaupapa Maori and other schooling options is currently under review as well as the funding for all schools. We will be asking the Ministry of Education to support Te Aka o Te Aho Matua as a strong holistic Maori approach to learning. We believe it reflects the education goals of IES (Investing in Educational Success) and COL (Communities of Learning) says Dr Dewes.”

“Life-long learning ‘cradle to the grave’ would support our communities coming together with a shared interest in language and culture revitalisation in the belief that one should be able to access a high-quality Maori language immersion pathway from birth to old-age. It will however require current funding to be distributed in a new way to allow clusters of communities to flourish, says Dr Dewes.”


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