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Uia ngā pou o te whare ask the posts of the whare: (Re)storying the whare in curriculum

This research investigated the construction of whare tapawhā discourses in national curricula since 1999 and (re)presents other Māori perspectives of how a whare (house, building, school of learning, curriculum) can be known. I explored the constitutions and subjectivities of a whare and its relationship to hauora, well-being and its dimensions. The central questions raised in this thesis are how has a whare model of hauora, well-being been signified within dominant education texts, and how could a Māori (re)envisioning of a whare assist future Māori-medium hauora learning area developments? Further elaborations on how a whare can be known and its potential contribution to future hauora learning area developments take priority as a focus within this thesis. For this study, I developed ngā pou whakaaro, a theoretical, conceptual, and methodological framework characterised by unfolding layers of awareness (and reflection) that I applied when thinking and reading through texts. Texts included primary and secondary literature such as curricula policy, hauora redevelopment wānanga (meetings, discussions) notes, hauora redevelopment video, hauora Ministry of Education milestone reports and interview transcripts. Within these texts, I searched for significations and signifiers of how the whare tapawhā model of hauora, well-being or a whare had been (re)presented. I searched for what was clearly evident and the assumptions made about a whare, and critiqued omissions of what had not yet been said. These gaps provided an opportunity to rewrite and reproduce other texts. I initially critiqued dominant representations of the whare tapawhā model of hauora, well-being, as evident in English-medium policy texts. I argue that the whare tapawhā model and its nuances in national curricula and compulsory schooling are not only driven by education imperatives, such as the valuing of the Māori language and knowledge in compulsory schooling, but are also assimilative in that the knowledge presented is simplistic and the understandings align more with Eurocentric ideals of well-being, albeit in the Māori language. I show that simplified significations of a whare in educational discourse shape the fictions that the texts seek to represent. And then, in reading otherwise (Caputo, 1997, p. 62), I examined other texts about a whare and its nuances beyond what is currently known in curricula. I interviewed two Māori pouako (teachers), one Māori-medium curriculum developer, a health practitioner, a kairongoā (healer), and two tohunga whakairo (master carvers) to draw out the possibilities that exist for (re)presenting another Māori perspective of a whare. This space provided an opportunity to transgress from how the whare tapawhā model of hauora, well-being has been represented in curricula in Aotearoa. The main ideas that emerged from the interviews and the process of reflecting on the responses of the poukōrero (interview participants) provoked thinking about the possibilities of how in-depth understandings of a whare could support a (re)envisioning of the potential of a whare in future hauora learning area developments. In order to (re)turn to thinking about the place of mātauranga Māori (Māori ways of knowing), and how a whare can be known and experienced by Māori beyond what is currently (re)presented in curricula, the whare of Mautini Aroaro was examined. Representations of a whare may be partial and fragmented, but such representations need to be (re)traced back to their parts and elaborated upon to deepen understandings of the possible contribution that a Māori perspective could offer future Māori-medium hauora learning area re-developments. There is no one way to know a whare, nor does it need to be restricted to pre-determined representations identified in curricula. Through a restoration process, I suggest we engage with people’s experiences of a whare on different terms and (re)claim understandings of a whare as a repository and library for future generations.
Type of thesis
The University of Waikato
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