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Speech: Turia - School of Maori Education

Te Uru Märaurau – School of Maori Education
A collaboration between Runanganui o Nga Kura Kaupapa Maori and Massey University

Launch of Te Aho Tätairangi Maori medium teacher education
Hon Tariana Turia, Co-leader of the Maori Party

Tuesday 7 February 2012; 4pm

Hon Steve Maharey; Vice-Chancellor; Associate Professor Huia Jahnke; Dr Cathy Dewes and Rawiri Wright; Board of Studies members; staff; whanau and students.

In this week in which we recognise and reflect on our progress as a nation in meeting Treaty aspirations, it is exciting to be with you all today at this launch.

And it is of course opportune to note that making the news today, was a feature on the Ministry of Education’s briefing to the incoming Minister, which highlighted the fact that the Ministry is coming under increasing pressure to deliver, in relation to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Today with the unique collaboration between Massey University and Te Runanganui o nga kura kaupapa Maori we are witnessing a step in the right direction, along the journey of partnership.

This event, if you like, is a perfect opportunity for providing the nation with ideas about how, as Treaty partners, we can act in good faith towards one another.

Our founding document inspires us to consider, collectively, how to improve the participation and achievement of tangata whenua.

And critically, it challenges us to put in place mechanisms to protect our taonga tuku iho – te reo Maori; cultural revitalization and regeneration; and Maori educational outcomes which Aotearoa can be proud of.

It is a great pleasure therefore to be a part of this special event for Te Aho Tatairangi – a total immersion Maori medium teacher education programme.

In completing this programme students will be qualified with a Bachelor of Teaching Maori and a Diploma in Maori Education.

Those qualifications are important – they represent the knowledge and understanding, the kaupapa and the aspirations that will inform and influence our children and our mokopuna for years to come.

But even more than the qualifications for each of the graduates; is the future that we can look to as a result of the ground-breaking programme we launch today.

And I say ground-breaking deliberately.

Many of us will be familiar with the ceremonies that are associated in preparing the space before any new construction takes place. The sacred forces from the mountains to the seas are called upon. The karakia performed will often lay out the historical connections to the lands, the whakapapa will be recited, and a blessing provided to help find the way forward.

In many ways this is what Te Aho Tatairangi is doing.

You are digging out a new space, a space characterized by originality and innovation; a safe place to learn.

You have been guided and nurtured by the wisdom generated by your Board of leaders – and I want to formally acknowledge Professor Timoti Karetu; Erima Henare, the Chair of Te Taura Whiri i te reo Maori; Kahu Stirling, Kaa Williams and Dr Kathy Dewes.

Collectively, the experience and the expertise that the Board of Studies offers this programme is second to none.

The guidance of the board is enhanced by the active involvement of current practitioners and leaders from kura kaupapa Maori as lecturers on the programme.

The staff are leaders in their own right, who have each shown by their example, their commitment towards improving Maori medium student outcomes.

But there is one more aspect of your approach in Te Aho Tatairangi which is revolutionary in its design and application – and that is the recognition and respect accorded whanau, hapu and iwi.

In the 28 students enrolled in the 2012 intake, there is representation from Te Tai Tokerau; Te Arawa; Tuhoe; Te Whanau a Apanui; Te Tai Rawhiti; Taranaki; Whanganui; Tuwharetoa; Kahungunu; Manawatu; Horowhenua and Te Wai Pounamu. It is literally the length and breadth of nga hau e wha brought together in one place.

Each of the whanau, hapu and iwi associated with each student here today, will have diverse perspectives and tribal understandings underpinning their values and views of matauranga.

Some of the students have refined this learning as graduates of wharekura or as kaiarahi reo in kura kaupapa. During the programme, the support and leadership of the respective whanau, hapu and iwi will be called upon again, as kura hapai – kura that will provide a supportive environment for the students to learn.

I want to really congratulate Te Aho Tatairangi for your determination to affirm the vital connection that whakapapa plays in grounding students, teachers and school communities.

Wally Penetito describes the artifacts of whakapapa – iwi, marae, te reo, tikanga – as “pillars of Maori survival into the 21st century”. They provide the basis for our collective transformation – they are fundamental to our identity; our context; and our learning. And so, I want to just extend this concept of Maori survival a bit further.

On this very day, this morning in fact, a new kura was opened in Kawerau. Te Whata Tau o Pūtauaki comprises parents who wanted their children to be educated through Māori medium. It is a kura which will operate under the auspices of section 156 – the special character clause

The special character of this kura is not just that its delivery is entirely in te reo Māori, but that it will also integrate the tikanga and mātauranga of Ngāti Tūwharetoa ki Kawerau and Ngāti Awa, as well as those other iwi that reside within the Kawerau township.

In another part of the land, some ninety secondary students from Huntly to Te Awamutu with a passion for science and the potential to become leaders are enrolled in another new kura, Tai Wananga Ruakura. The focus of this kura is to be a tikanga Maori-based secondary school with a focus on technology and innovation.

It is a joint initiative between Te Wananga o Aotearoa and the Ministry of Education which follows on from another unique initiative, founded here in Palmerston North, Tu Toa, where sport became the means to inspire and engage students in learning.

Alongside of these initiatives in Ruakura; in Kawerau and here in the Manawatu; it was heartening to read, from the Iwi Chairs Forum held up at Paihia in the weekend, that iwi leaders, and I quote, have declared “we must apply the same amount of energy and effort to raising our children’s educational achievement as we have shown to fisheries, forestry and treaty settlements”.

Our tupuna placed great faith in studying the constellations of stars, and navigating their pathway forward on the basis of the direction set.

In much the same way, if I look at the models being developed by whanau, hapu and iwi I feel confident that we are shaping a promising future ahead, that we can all benefit from.

This is indeed a proud day, that on this day we can look ahead to 2020 when we will have 200 teachers for teaching in kura kaupapa Maori.

I want to thank everyone involved for their commitment to this programme, your willingness to look far and wide to provide support;

I am delighted to launch Te Aho Tatairangi; and to wish you all much courage and much strength, in your pursuit of Maori educational excellence.


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