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Mai hē tātou e haka ‘ite nei ki te ŋāpoki: A collaborative story of indigenous knowledge in a school setting in Rapa Nui

This research explores the stories of indigenous educators in Rapa Nui, and their engagement with the development of Rapa Nui language and culture in the primary school curriculum. It is suggested that indigenous education in the island has promoted considerable agency in the development of national intercultural policies, emphasizing the resourcefulness they have had in doing so. This will be discussed in the case of an indigenous education programme that has been worked through to allow Rapa Nui children to learn in their native language, focusing on the participation that school teachers, staff and parents have in this endeavour. Positioning myself as a non-indigenous researcher, I am interested in following up on concerns discussed by theorists of decolonization, as a response to Western determination of what constitutes research; particularly in indigenous communities. This concern is reflected in the question that the research addresses, namely how intercultural education in Rapa Nui may or may not allow a forum for indigenous children on the island to develop a culturally responsive education. The thesis narrates the conception and implementation of indigenous education in Rapa Nui in a school setting. The experience of the participants highlights the need to recognize the asymmetry that has characterized intercultural relations at school throughout the history of formal education in the island. Further, they point to a revitalizing concept of culture to create a curriculum based on the Rapa Nui knowledge tradition. By giving space to this knowledge, it in turn implies a challenge to the existing educational frameworks. Responsibility over language revitalization and enhancement of local knowledge has gradually been positioned in school, and reflection on this work highlights the need to develop strategies that involve the wider society (local and national) in creating a renewed space for indigenous knowledge.
Type of thesis
Zurob, C. (2014). Mai hē tātou e haka ‘ite nei ki te ŋāpoki: A collaborative story of indigenous knowledge in a school setting in Rapa Nui (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9007
University of Waikato
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