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Te Mana Motuhake o Ngāi Tamarāwaho and the challenges of education. Whakapūmautia te tangata i tōna ake mana

Throughout history, colonisation has deliberately suppressed and subordinated the knowledge, languages and identities of indigenous peoples. Colonial education policies were designed, at best, to domesticate indigenous children to create subjugated and compliant labouring classes. These historical policies have intentionally consigned successive generations of indigenous families and communities to the socio-economic margins of the societies created by colonisation (Shields, Bishop & Masawi, 2005). This thesis explores the intergenerational educational experiences of Ngāi Tamarāwaho, an indigenous Māori community in New Zealand, their relationship with Pākehā (colonial settlers of European descent) and their place, as Māori, in the society created by colonialism. At the heart of this story is the inter-generational societal abuse of a small indigenous community and the active resistance of that community to colonisation. To survive as a people, Ngāi Tamarāwaho created a space at the intercultural interface between Māori and Pākehā by maintaining and revitalising their cultural identity and language. The intergenerational struggles of the whānau (families) of Ngāi Tamarāwaho, to engage with an imposed system of western education, are related through the narratives of hapū whānau (sub-tribal families) and from archival records. These stories demonstrate that educational failure was not because of the limitations of hapū whānau, but rather a result of the limiting conditions imposed on them. Despite these limitations, over the past 180 years, hapū leadership has focussed on maintaining the independent identity of the hapū and their mana motuhake, i.e. their right to be self-determining; seen as critical for whānau and hapū development and successful participation in wider society. To enable the success of future generations, Ngāi Tamarāwaho have accommodated new ideas and learning into their existing cultural framework by weaving together elements of learning from both Māori and Pākehā funds of knowledge. This hapū story has implications for current education settings intended to engage indigenous and minority students in learning and improve academic achievement. Strong cultural identities, and the ability to be self-determining, promote indigenous students’ self-esteem and the confidence to accommodate new learning into their existing cultural frameworks, thereby providing a platform for education success.
Type of thesis
Woller, P. R. (2016). Te Mana Motuhake o Ngāi Tamarāwaho and the challenges of education. Whakapūmautia te tangata i tōna ake mana (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9994
University of Waikato
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