Continuing to challenge the Status Quo-though my daughter’s eyes-the ongoing journey

Going back a couple of years, I wrote a post…


As you read the post, you see it is aligned to the lens of my daughter. I am a pākehā educator, my daughter is Māori. I wrote the post after being challenged an provoked by Ann Milne into critiquing our education system around many aspects, some of those including…What knowledge is of most valued? Historically, an extensive tradition has grown around a restatement of that question. Rather than “What knowledge is most valued?” the question has been reframed. It has become “Whose knowledge is most valued?

At our Kura, we are on a journey of challenging this to ensure that our Māori Ākonga can achieve success as Māori. We have by no means got this right, this is not a blog claiming to have it all sorted. What this does talk to is a Kura, that has undertaken to do the mahi to challenge the status quo and shift things. We as a Kura, have the moral purpose to ensure or ākonga see themselves, their culture and identity in our Kura.

We are steered on our waka by our Tumuaki, Maurie Abraham and you can see in this blog post the thinking of a Tumuaki intent of shifting things.

I would like to share with you some of our journey that has continued to occur since this last blog post. Some of the strategic mahi and evidence of this impacts that have occurred from this over the last couple of years at our Kura- Te Kura Tuarua o Onekiritea -Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

At a strategic level what does that look like?

  • Treaty of Waitangi
  • Māori potential approach
  • Warm and demanding relationships that show Manaakitanga and Mana Motuhake.
  • Development of coherent pathways for ākonga.
  • Ako – a two way teaching and learning approach
  • Identity, language and culture count.
  • Building use of Te Reo and Tikanga across the Kura
  • Productive partnerships
  • Strong engagement from parents, families, whānau, hapu, iwi, Māori communities, organisations and businesses

What do these actually look like though? How do we ensure these aspects are not just rhetoric, but, actually realised in Praxis and reflection and action.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi


As a Kura, we have been undertaking Professional Learning with Rosalie Reiri, which has involved Te Tiriti o Waitangi unpacking what we know, what we need to know and how this relates to equity, governance, partnerships and more… In addition Rosalie is working with us at a strategic level. Furthermore, our staff have access to her for support on how this looks in their own teaching and learning programmes. I will talk to this more below in other aspects.

Māori potential approach

Rejecting deficit theorising and ensuring we see and enable the potential of all our ākonga. This occurs when there is collective efficacy in our staff and challenging conversations when this does not occur.

Our Kapa Haka Rōpū performing at Te Maeva Nui in Rarotonga in 2019.


As a staff our spirals of inquiry and our collective efficacy around this is helping to ensure that we are working to a Māori potential approach. Below is our staff sharing their inquiries at the end of the year.

Warm and demanding relationships that show Manaakitanga and Mana Motuhake. 

Warm and demanding relationships that show Manaakitanga and Mana Motuhake. This  aligns to the previous point, but has been an important part of our Kura vision from the very start. This has been supported by our hub curriculum, which is based on advisory models used in other countries. Which have shown to support ākonga in a warm and demanding way, with that one advocate, contact to whānau, who really knows the learner. We ensure whanaungatanga is placed first in our curriculum and beyond. If you want to learn more about the research into advisories, this is a great read.

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Maurie- our Tumuaki, has gone into much more detail on this in his last two blog posts. These two images from his post shows how our restorative practices, align to Teaching to the Nor’East (based on the work of Russell Bishop).

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See more detail in the two blog posts.

Development of coherent pathways for ākonga.

Guided and shaped by their passions, interests, talents and aspirations, the kura supports tamariki/mokopuna and their whānau to develop, monitor and evaluate a pathway plan.  The kura provides access to internal and external pathway opportunities and is committed to ensuring that tamariki/mokopuna transition successfully into the next stage of their education.


Above is our Kaea of our Rōpū, Leianah, who is both Māori and Pasifika descent. Leianah was one of our Kura Kaiārahi from 2019. She is one example of an ākonga moving onto a pathway, based on her passions and interests. Leianah has just gained a leadership scholarship, for cultural, sporting and academic leadership and is studying a double degree in law and psychology at AUT. In addition to University pathways, we have a strong focus on other paths with our internships and pathways programmes.

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Ako – a two way teaching and learning approach

In our Kura, we are attempting to ensure Ako, within our classes, our modules and beyond. We have developed a Māori student agency Rōpū, who we gather voice from and who we are learning from. This has developed further into working with Stevie Davis-Tana and amazing Māori woman and leader, who is working with our Māori and Pasifika Rōpū on spoken word, identity and leadership. We are excited where we are taking this in 2020.

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Click to access thepower.pdf

Here is just one example of the ākonga voice we gathered into what teachers who they engage and learn with vs those they switch off to. This was shared with staff and informed the start of their spirals of inquiry.

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Identity, language and culture count.


We are working hard to ensure this occurs in the Kura and beyond. We have had a focus on building the Kapa Haka Rōpū in our Kura. We took 18 students over to Rarotonga and performed at the Te Maeva Nui Cultural festival. This is the biggest celebration in the Cook Islands, which invites everybody to feel the spirit and passion of local life. The goal of the trip was to build on our sense of cohesiveness and belonging, continuing to develop these attributes as the foundations for the ‘culture’ and shared experiences of our rōpū. The Wahine Toa group took part in several performances and did an amazing job of representing our Kura with pride and passion. Performances were in the islands main auditorium, with crowds of over 1000 people.  An amazing time was had by all and we look forward to continuing to grow the rōpū in the future. The rōpū was supported by, Raegan, Marion, Whaea Leoni, Ngahuia and myself, during the year and on the trip. We worked hard to ensure equity of access for the Rōpū to the trip, fundraising over $20,000. I am pleased to say we had 35 ākonga come last week who want to join the Rōpū.

In addition to Kapa Haka we have worked hard to develop a curriculum, that Māori ākonga can see themselves in. We are attempting to do that explicitly in Hubs, Projects and Modules. These visuals show how we are attempting to achieve this.

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Building use of Te Reo and Tikanga across the Kura

You will see aspects of both of these through all of the above. In addition, we are working to develop staff capability to work with both Tikanga and Te Reo in their classes and beyond. We are in the process of co-constructing a matrix which will allow staff to assess, where they are at and where to next, this is a work in progress… here is a snapshot…We will also be taking this to our whānau and our Rōpū.

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We have had the development and release of Te Pātaka app-Te Pātaka makes the crucial link between language and culture, with content including te Reo Māori (language), tikanga (customs) and mātāpono me ngā ūaratanga (principles and values).  We have developed the app in conjunction with Te Kawerau ā Maki and ensured representatives attended from Te Kawerau ā Maki. I will talk more to our developing relationship with out Kura iwi below. We also ensured we had a Pōwhiri involving Te Kawerau ā Maki Kawa to launch the app.

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Productive partnerships

Strong engagement from parents, families, whānau, hapu, iwi, Māori communities, organisations and businesses

Partnerships are a founding Principle for us here at our Kura. We ensure there are meaningful partnerships across our projects, pathways work, with whānau across everything that we do and also are developing our relationship with our local iwi Te Kawerau ā Maki. We have engaged with Māori whānau in an ongoing way, with whānau evenings to build relationships and gather voice. Her is a couple of examples of voice we have gathered, around what whānau want/aspirations for their tamariki/mokopuna and also a dream Kura activity, of what a dream Kura looks like, feels like, sounds like and what more we can do. In addition to this, we shared the journey that I am sharing with you now, on what we are trying to do for our ākonga.

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In addition to partnerships with whānau, we have reciprocal relationships with business etc.. in our local community, who we draw on with our pathway work and also give back to through our progamme. With Te Kawerau ā Maki, we have a developing reciprocal relationship with our iwi. We are working with them on developing a toolkit and resource for Kura in this area to use that involves their Kawa and understanding. In addition, we have helped them to source funding to work with Kura in their place. Robin has worked with our staff with PLD around Te Kawerau ā Maki stories. We have used our Kapa Haka to support them when the local community has requested their support at local events.

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While I am not proclaiming that we have everything sorted, we still have a long way to go. However, we are attempting as a collective force of Kura, whānau, ākonga, iwi, and community to shift things for our ākonga. To allow our ākonga to see themselves, their culture and identity in our curriculum and in our place. Is there any evidence things are helping? In 2019 our L2 achievement rate for Māori was 82% which was higher than the 80% for European in our Kura. At level 3 it was 64% for Māori and 66% for European. Steps in the right direction, but still more to come… I will continue to work on this, not only for my daughter, but for all our ākonga. I personally will continue to question and see what more we can do to ensure equity, where equal importance is placed on their knowledge and culture. We as a collective will continue to challenge the status quo…

My daughter and I