Ngā hononga kura-whānau e puta ai ngā ihu o ngā ākonga Māori

Partnership learning: What it might look like

This section includes brief stories from four of the schools that participated in the Ruia exploratory study.

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In addition, there is an extract from a Rangiātea case study with a link to the Rangiātea website. The Rangiātea project consists of case studies and exemplars from five secondary schools, each of them on a journey towards realising Māori student potential. The case studies look at the strategies used by the school leadership team and report on the key factors that contributed to lifting Māori student achievement.

Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Waiū o Ngāti Porou

Te Kura Kaupapa o Te Waiū o Ngāti Porou is a well-respected wharekura on the east coast of the North Island. Its current principal led the breakaway of the kura from the local primary school in the early 1990s. He was interviewed for Ruia, as was a teacher of four years and a parent who has been part of the Te Waiū whānau for 13 years.

This kura has a strong work ethic that encompasses teachers and students. It also has a strong belief in the importance of whānau involvement. One way in which this was exemplified was around homework, which is constantly monitored by the staff. One of the teachers carried out a survey to identify the kind of support in the home, whether there was easy access to resources (such as to the Internet and library), how involved parents would be, and how much guidance whānau could provide.

Read the full Ruia case study. 

Te Ara Whānui Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Kōhanga Reo o Te Awa Kairangi

Te Ara Whānui is a decile 3 kura in Lower Hutt, with students in years 1–10. Four people were interviewed for Ruia: the tumuaki, deputy principal, a senior teacher, and a parent.

Opportunities for professional learning at this kura are based on a deep understanding of where students, kaiako, and whānau are as learners. Kaiako and whānau take part in kōrero about potential solutions, changes, and adaptations and about the internal or external resources that could be called upon to address learning gaps. They work towards a consensus on what they agree is appropriate for the students, the whānau, and all the kaiako.

Read the full Ruia case study. 

Waverley Park School

Waverley Park School is a decile 5, year 0–6 suburban school with 255 pupils, of whom a third are Māori. Four people were interviewed for Ruia: the principal, the teacher who leads the whānau group, and two parents.

When the principal realised he needed expertise to foster deep engagement with the community, he went to the local college of education and asked who their best Māori student was. He then recruited her, explaining that he had a problem getting the Māori parents to come to the school. He told her what he had tried in the past, and she said that she thought she could do it better but that he had to be prepared to take a back seat.

Read the full Ruia case study. 

Sylvia Park School

Sylvia Park School is a decile 2 suburban school with a diverse student population of 320. Around a quarter of the students are Māori, and over half are Pasifika. Ruia’s interviewer met with the principal, two teachers (the teacher in the bilingual unit and the teacher who is the project manager of the parents’ centre), and a parent.

The school had tried a range of approaches to improve partnerships with parents, including inviting parents to school for discussion on a particular focus, such as sports or literacy. The meetings were well attended, but the school leaders found that parents were often too intimidated to ask questions. They wanted to “explore and implement a more personalised approach that would grow honest, robust and rigorous relationships with parents” (Mutukaroa Participants and Frances Hancock, November 2010).

Read the full Ruia case study. 

Opotiki College

Opotiki College is a state secondary school in the Bay of Plenty. Over 80 percent of the students are Māori. The school is a participant in Te Kotahitanga. The principal, a teacher who is the school’s Te Kotahitanga facilitator, and a parent were interviewed for the Ruia project.

The principal of Opotiki College responded to whānau criticism of a decision he had made by holding a hui to address people’s concerns. This was quite a stressful experience for him, but it was fruitful because it led to the formation of a Māori teachers’ forum, which includes whānau. This group accepted the task of developing a Māori strategic plan and of monitoring the plan’s implementation.

Read the full Ruia case study. 

Rangiātea: Hamilton Girls’ High School

A Rangiātea project school

Professional learning at Hamilton Girls' High School has a strong focus on Māori student achievement. Māori teachers play a pivotal role in supporting their colleagues to respond effectively to Māori students and whānau. Students are encouraged to share their own expertise, for example, in teaching the correct pronunciation of their names. The school frequently calls on the expertise of the kaumātua, who has excellent relationships with teachers. Teachers value his support in helping them learn about the needs of Māori students:

He has been fantastic in giving support to so many of the staff, even on a personal level ... He has a way that breaks down any barriers or defences that teachers may have. (Teacher)

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