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Source: Massey University

New students being led onto Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, Massey’s School of Māori Knowledge, for their pōwhiri.

Te Utangakiwhangaparaoa Tautuhi

Ana-Marie Kawana

A record number of students have risen to the challenge to increase the number of Kura Kaupapa Māori teachers in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Massey University says this is the largest first year intake to its Kura Kaupapa teaching programmes since they began in 2012. Massey runs, the country’s only post graduate Te Aho Matua initial teacher education programme, Te Aho Paerewa, and the country’s first undergraduate degree, Te Aho Tātairangi.   

Lecturer, Nadell Karatea says there has been a 133% increase in students since last year. “It’s thrilling because we know this cohort will make such a huge contribution not only to Kura Kaupapa Māori but also in our local communities, our marae, hapū and iwi.”

At a pōwhiri at Te Pūtahi-a-Toi, Massey’s School of Māori Knowledge yesterday, 41 of the 74 first years were welcomed to the programme.  There to greet them, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Māori, Professor Meihana Durie says the fruits of the Kohanga and Kura Kaupapa movements can be seen in this bumper intake.  “The record numbers of new students in our Te Aho programme this year reflects the increasing prominence of Kura Kaupapa Māori across Aotearoa.  We’re also seeing a new wave of students, many of whom are Raukura, or graduates of Kura Kaupapa themselves, who bring with them immense potential and rich talent as educators of the future”

Professor Durie says students are rising to the challenge of a sector crying out for graduate teachers.   “Our students will enter a sector where there is high demand for graduate teachers.  As such, we’re incredibly fortunate to have an outstanding team of teaching staff here in our Te Aho programme.  Our staff give their all to nurture and nourish the mauri and mana of our students and to prepare them not only as teachers going into Kura Kaupapa, but as future leaders of their communities” 

Both degrees are open to fluent speakers of te reo Māori and are taught completely in te reo Māori.  The course was designed in partnership with Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori of Aotearoa, who provide ongoing support and guidance for the kaupapa, and are the only tertiary programmes in the country to be modelled on Te Aho Matua, the founding philosophy and driving force for Kura Kaupapa Māori.

Postgraduate student, Te Utangakiwhangaparaoa Tautuhi from Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāti Tukorehe, has previously studied a Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Māori Performing Arts.

Since graduating he has been working at Te Wānanga a Aotearoa and says he would now like to fill his kete with teaching tools but to do so he has to go back and learn.  

“This was the best option as it is only one year, and you come away with a qualification of being able to teach our children.” The father of four says he has given teaching adults a go and enjoyed it but now wants to shift his focus to children.

The programmes are also unique in that students study online from their communities while associated with a kura hapai where they get practical experience and encouragement.

Students travel to Massey’s Manawatū campus for regular block courses and this week’s pōwhiri and gathering will be the first of many to come for the students.

One of those students is Rangitāne and Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi student, Ana-Marie Kawana who is just beginning her three years of undergraduate study. She says her six children and her beliefs inspired her to begin the degree.  “I really believe in raising all kids especially Māori tamariki under the umbrella of learning their tikanga, their culture, their traditions, just so they know who they are and where they come from and also to be well educated at the same time and ready for the world.”