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Tukua Kia Rere! Maori Adult Students Succeeding at University

A considerable amount of research has focussed on Māori underachievement in mainstream education. There is, however, much less research that celebrates Māori academic success. Even less has been written about the experiences of adult Māori students who return to study long after leaving school and go on to become academically successful in higher education. This study contributes to the growing body of knowledge regarding Māori academic success at university. It sought to explore the experiences of sixteen adult Māori students who entered university via special admission and went on to attain undergraduate degrees. The study examined the challenges that these individual’s experienced on their way to becoming academically successful and identified the main factors that helped them to achieve educational success. An overarching Kaupapa Māori theoretical framework was employed in this study. A qualitative research methodology was implemented and Kaupapa Māori research principles informed both the research processes and the interpretation of research outcomes. The findings suggest four major factors contributed to the success of the participants in this study: a strong determination to succeed (whāia te iti kahurangi), the extended family (whānau), strong social support networks with peers and faculty (whakawhanaungatanga) and Te Ao Māori (the Māori World). However, some of these same factors were also found to hinder academic success in the university setting. The Manu Tukutuku (kite) model was developed directly from the research findings. In addition to providing a theoretical frame for understanding the experiences of Māori special admission students at university, this model also provides a useful ‘toolkit’ for those wanting to support Māori students within the university context. The implications of this study suggest that New Zealand Universities can better support Māori special admission students by being more inclusive of their cultural capital, by eliminating racism and discrimination in the university environment and by fostering better relationships between staff and students. Creating opportunities for Māori students to develop social networks at University was also identified as important.
Type of thesis
Williams, D. C. (Tina). (2010). Tukua Kia Rere! Maori Adult Students Succeeding at University (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/5151
University of Waikato
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