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Investigating the understanding and implementation of Ka Hikitia, in a New Zealand primary school

In New Zealand, the education system has underserved Māori learners for many years, with various factors contributing to this underperformance. Many of these factors stem from racism and bias, conscious or unconscious, inherent in our system (Ministry of Education, 2019b). Ka Hikitia Accelerating Success 2013 - 2017 (Ministry of Education, 2013a) set about to make transformative change in schools. This research presents an investigation into the understanding and implementation of Ka Hikitia, in a New Zealand primary school. The research was guided by culturally responsive methodologies, bringing together both kaupapa Māori and critical theories (Berryman, 2013b). Participants’ understandings and how these understandings transferred into their practice was determined through a case study. The rich information generated within the case was analysed using grounded theory. The main source of information came from interviewing the management team and teaching staff members. As an insider/outsider researcher and also a participant, some of my information came from my own observations and knowledge of the school. Some attendance and achievement data held by the school also informed the case. The Office of the Auditor-General (2016b) contended that Ka Hikitia was a well-worded policy but, due to a lack of understanding of the policy in many schools, it was poorly implemented nationwide. In this school, despite the good leadership and hard-working teachers, staff had difficulty fully understanding and therefore implementing the Ka Hikitia strategy as it was intended. Strong relationships between teachers and students were evident throughout the study, however, stronger relationships were needed between the school and the wider Māori community. The research shows that, despite the good intentions of the teachers, to fully implement the intent of Ka Hikitia, educators need to be committed to te ao Māori. The Ministry of Education plans to relaunch a further iteration of Ka Hikitia this year, supported by another initiative, Te Hurihanganui. For this iteration to be successful, more effective implementation systems are required that will enable Māori students to enjoy and achieve educational success as Māori.
Type of thesis
Evans, M. (2020). Investigating the understanding and implementation of Ka Hikitia, in a New Zealand primary school (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/13949
The University of Waikato
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