|dc.description.abstract||The title of this thesis is "Comparisons of Experiences at Native Schools of Te Arawa with Today's Schools: The Aspirations and the Realities". It builds on the topic of native schooling introduced in my Master of Education thesis (Raureti, 2000), yet differs to that study by comparing past Maori (indigenous people of Aotearoa-New Zealand) educational experiences of kaumatua (esteemed elders) within Native Schools, with current educational experiences of their mokopuna (grandchildren) within today's schools. This thesis also adds a new dimension to current literature by exploring past and present educational aspirations, and identifying aspects of past and present schooling that helped fulfil Maori aspirations.
The main focus of this thesis is to converse with kaumatua and their mokopuna through a series of sequential, in-depth, semi-structured interviews as conversations, in order to explore, examine and compare past and present educational aspirations and experiences, within an indigenous Kaupapa (agenda) Maori approach, while incorporating suitable aspects of qualitative methodology.
In carrying out the above, this thesis addresses two main questions, 1. What were the educational aspirations and experiences for a group of Te Arawa (indigenous tribe) kaumatua and their mokopuna? 2. What factors assisted or limited the realisation of those aspirations?
From the late 1800s, many Maori people within Te Arawa have viewed education as a means of enhancing their lives, and complementing their current skills and knowledge in order to participate effectively within society. In contrast, throughout the years, governments have utilised the education system as a tool of oppression to purposefully assimilate Maori people and restrict their participation in society. In spite of oppressive structures and policies, and in line with a spirit of resistance, Maori people have continuously formulated new options to realise their aspirations. It seems that the key factor lies with the degree of Maori control and engagement (tino rangatiratanga) within the educational context. That is, the more that Maori exercised their tino rangatiratanga, the greater the degree to which their educational aspirations were realised.
Therefore, this thesis is not merely "descriptive, telling us what we already know, yet not proposing any solutions or action that can be taken for change" (Cram, 1993, p 31); nor does it attempt to revolutionise schooling for Maori; it does however, identify and examine effective aspects of past and present schooling, as identified by a selection of Te Arawa kaumatua and their mokopuna. It is suggested that this careful intergenerational consideration of curriculum and pedagogies could inform current teaching practice, which has the potential to be useful because "many schools were aware of issues for Maori students but were unclear on how to make improvements" (Education Review Office, 2003, p 2).||