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Ministry of Education.

Māori student engagement and achievement

John describes how schools are responding to the initial phases of He Kākano and offers practical advice to school leaders looking to broaden the conversations they are having about Māori student engagement and achievement.


John Tait (Ngā Manutaki – Regional Coordinator): “What we find at the first important meeting that we have with schools, which is the co-construction meeting is that they’ve already started on the journey to some extent or another, and have tried things. They may not have got as much traction as we would hope for but at least they’re on the journey and one of the things that, um, when I explained to them what He Kākano means, a seed, we always found that we’re never planting that seed into dry sand, there’s, the soil is fertile to some extent or another for that seed to go into their school. But it’ll always grow into something idiosyncratic to their circumstances. Now as manutaki we don’t actually know what those circumstances are so our listening to them is critical part of that process, so that we can form a, a better picture of just what those idiosyncrasies are. I think the first place to start from is to understand that wherever your school is located there is an iwi who has manawhenua, they are the iwi of that place and that’s where your first attention should go. You can’t go in cold into the Māori community either, so principals really need to put themselves out, into that community and just go along to Māori events just to be there, not to play a role, not to have a profile, but just to be there to listen, to open their eyes. People will come and talk to you, you’ll get some information, you’ll get a broader range of information about how that community’s thinking, and you’ll start to make some connections. And, but the place to start is with a mana whenua. And in each community of course there are also, ah, people that have come to that area, usually for work, sometimes called ngā hau e whā here tangata those people are important in the community but the first place to go is the mana whenua.”

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