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Wāhine Māori engagement with literacies

Wāhine Māori engagement with literacies (2023) is a case study report in collaboration with Te Whakaruruhau. It has been undertaken as part of a larger project, The expression, experience and transcendence of low skills in Aotearoa New Zealand (2019–2024), the aim of which is to provide policy recommendations to improve life-course trajectories and socio-economic outcomes for adults with low literacy and numeracy skills in Aotearoa New Zealand. Broadly speaking, Wāhine Māori engagement with literacy examines the framing and application of literacy measures in contemporary New Zealand culture. More specifically, it is about the lives and learning of wāhine (women) Māori (the indigenous peoples of Aotearoa New Zealand) within that culture and their attitudes towards, and complex relationships with, literacy as it is defined in their own lives and in the current setting. The study aims for a holistic understanding of lived literacies in driving the development of educational policies by public institutions and private groups. Reframing literacy as literacies is posited as a means to empower marginalised groups and to challenge the dominance of the Eurocentric education paradigm. Formal learning in English-language schools cannot be the extent of national literacy standards as it disregards Māori epistemological and ontological realities and can discount wāhine, many of whom may prioritise other modes of literacy. Centring their perspectives will bring about a more culturally inclusive future, one that makes space for the development of emotional and cultural literacies—as well as other forms such as digital, media, visual, financial, and health literacies—alongside the conventional version of literacy that has a monopoly in the present system.
Type of thesis
Māori & Psychology Research Unit, University of Waikato
© 2023 The Author(s).