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Ora Kainga Rua: Experiences of Kura Kaupapa Māori Graduates

There is a wealth of indigenous scholarship examining the impacts of imperialist policies and ideologies on the learning identities of indigenous students. However, within the New Zealand context, there is a lack of literature which focuses solely on the experiences and aspirations of total immersion students to tertiary education settings. Using Kaupapa Māori and auto ethnography this thesis privileges the student voice by investigating the transitional experiences of four female kura Kaupapa Māori graduates into mainstream settings particularly their transition to the University of Waikato. The thesis argues that there are two main spaces of synergy between an indigenous research paradigm and auto ethnography. The first is the criticality of the “self” in the work, without a sharp separation between the researcher and the subject (dual meaning intended). The second is the shared modality and intentional use of storytelling as a method. By combining insights from in-depth interviews with the researcher’s life story, the thesis identified the coping mechanisms the participants employed and the services The University of Waikato provides that were utilised to help them transition into a new educational setting. The participants’ experiences demonstrate that the unique cultural educational experiences of kura Kaupapa Māori differ significantly from the educational and environmental experiences offered at University. The participants’ narratives demonstrated that the clear sense of identity gained from the kura Kaupapa Māori context gave them the inner strength to cope with these differences. In addition to their strong sense of Māori identity, the main coping mechanisms that the students drew on, was the wealth of institutional knowledge that family members and role models provided of the university context as past students and current staff members. The benefits that these students experienced can be strengthened by building stronger relationships between Māori total immersion schools, the wider Māori community and universities ensuring that Māori total immersion students are able to access the academic and institutional knowledge they need to succeed. Furthermore, the thesis argues that the kura Kaupapa Māori movement can deliver more for their students if they do not shut out the Pākehā world but rather teach their students to walk between and within the two worlds. In order to better understand this balancing act, the lived experiences of immersion students requires more research, particularly as more and more kura graduates transition into Aotearoa New Zealand tertiary settings.
Type of thesis
Waller, A. L. M. (2016). Ora Kainga Rua: Experiences of Kura Kaupapa Māori Graduates (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). University of Waikato. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/10735
University of Waikato
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