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Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)

The report, Me aro ki te hā o Hine-ahu-one | Wāhine Māori in Leadership, is based on research carried out by Te Wāhanga – the NZ Council for Educational Research,  for PPTA Te Wehengarua.*

Te Aomihia Taua-Glassie, PPTA Te Wehengarua Māori vice president and leader of learning -Te Reo Māori at a Northland high school, says PPTA Te Wehengarua identified support for wāhine Māori leaders and aspiring leaders as a key priority. “We commissioned this research to help us get an accurate and comprehensive picture of the experiences of current and aspiring wāhine Maori leaders in our secondary schools and how they could be better supported.

“As a wāhine Māori in a formal leadership position, the research findings resonate so strongly with me on various levels. While on one hand it’s reassuring to know that I am not alone in terms of what I experience as a wāhine Māori leader, on the other hand the findings show that our rangatahi are being deprived of many wonderful potential wāhine Māori leaders because the support is lacking.”

Lack of support was one of several barriers to leadership for wāhine Māori identified in the report. ‘The barriers were multi-layered and extensive’, the report states. Most commonly perceived barriers were concerns about work-life balance, feeling overworked and lack of confidence. Other barriers wāhine Māori experienced were not being able to see people like themselves in leadership, and having to battle an education system that was not set up to benefit or value Māori.

Te Aomihia Taua-Glassie says the report provides clear evidence of what the issues are and and sets a clear direction for supporting wāhine Māori to become leaders in secondary schools. Initiatives it recommends include strong, bespoke mentoring programmes and support networks, apprenticeships for aspiring leaders, and professional development wānanga, courses and hui.

“I really hope schools, principals, and organisations such as the Ministry of Education and  will join us and ensure we all do better by our wāhine Māori leaders and aspiring leaders. More amazing wāhine Māori leaders in our secondary schools are the role models our rangatahi need. I urge people to join us in making this happen.”

*For the research, more than 340 wāhine Māori completed a survey and 24 participants were interviewed.  More than 90 percent of participants work in English-medium secondary schools and just under 10 percent work in kaupapa Māori secondary schools.