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Building bridges - seeking collaboration with a Maori community

The context for this thesis is the pressing need to help mainstream schools become more proactive and culturally responsive in how they engage with the whānau of their Māori pupils. The thesis examines how the author, a facilitator within the Te Kotahitanga Professional Development project, established a responsive and dialogic relationship with a local Māori community, so that the school could more fully support the educational achievements of its Māori students in mainstream classes. She explored ways to build “educationally powerful connections” with whānau. Initially, there was little interaction with Māori families through the traditional formats that this school was employing. She describes her personal journey of learning to engage with whānau members outside of the school context, and to work collaboratively with them to find more effective solutions. In the first part of the thesis the author examines literature which helps to understand important differences between Pākehā and Māori ‘World Views’, and the reluctance that many Māori feel to engage with Pākehā institutions. She documents how she and whānau members, working together, identified contexts and cultural processes (tikanga) that enabled this collaborative research project to proceed in a culturally responsive way. In the second part of the thesis the author examines the particular culturally-grounded learning events and experiences that she encountered along the way. Concurrently with this identification and reporting of events and experiences, she reflects on how these events and experiences impacted on her professional practice, and on her professional and personal identities. The author also considers what implications her collaborative research journey with Māori colleagues and friends and learning might have for school leaders and whānau members in other schools. Throughout the thesis, the author sustains a metaphor of bridge building. This metaphor helps to appreciate how, although starting from quite different cultural locations and positions at either end of the bridge, members of both cultures were able to meet in the middle and find respectful and trusting ways of working together.
Type of thesis
Hohneck, D. (2013). Building bridges - seeking collaboration with a Maori community (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/8451
University of Waikato
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