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Living the principle - Te reo me ōna tikanga at Rotorua Boys' High

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Main Points

Rotorua Boys’ High School illustrates how embedding te reo me ōna tikanga Māori throughout the school helps to provide a framework for successful teaching and learning.

At Rotorua Boys’ High school the teaching of te reo Māori is inseparable from tikanga, and other programmes being offered by the school are Māori centered. Students develop a knowledge and understanding of te reo me ōna tikanga Māori and practice skills both traditional and contemporary which relate to their lives as Māori males. This helps to provide a foundation for them to actively contribute to their whānau, marae communities and wider world.

Rotorua Boys’ High School has actively pursued policies to ensure te reo me ōna tikanga Māori is an integral part of the whole school rather than te reo Māori being pigeon holed into an unsupported, stand alone subject.

The school has a Director of Māori Achievement as well as other key staff working with Māori students on a number of different programmes.

It has certainly been a deliberate policy of mine to try and introduce Māori teachers onto the staff, so that they can bring that special connection we want with our young Māori men, and especially male Māori teachers

Chris Grinter, Principal.

There is a holistic view of success and achievement and recognition that cultural, sporting and academic success develops from within a supporting framework. The school aims to develop a culture where the significance of Māori culture, knowledge, language and identity are celebrated. “In terms of the importance of Māori language in our school, we go to the basic questions. Ko wai au? who am I? and where am I from? and then later on, where am I going?”

We see the students as orators - they need to be able to whaikōrero on a marae. We see them as being ringawera or the workers in the kitchen. They need to know the history behind the old chants and their haka. They need to know Māori history so that when they get up and speak and have the mana of their marae on them, they do their marae proud. The reo is based in our whare; it’s our turangawaewae, te Whare Raukura.

Darrell Pene, HOD Maori

This means that the students learn about their history, their families, and skills and traditional practices centered around the marae that lead them to be able to participate in their communities. Programmes of work are Māori-centered;

Students have the opportunity to be Māori… They hear their own waiata, their own mōteatea, their own haka, their own dialect; they hear the stories of their tūpuna. When you have this incorporated into a school programme, as a Māori your own self esteem is a lot stronger.

Wairangi Jones, Director of Maori Achievement.

There is an emphasis in teaching and using local knowledge in all the programmes, helping students to gain an understanding of the value of their local stories and the way their own stories can contribute directly to their work in many of the programmes. For example, in the carving programme students are encouraged to first begin to get to know themselves and then to explore some of the ideas that may have been developed during this process in their own design ideas.

The kaupapa for me is for students to find out who they are and where they come from, looking at the designs and carvings that are more specific to them giving them a chance to express themselves. For some of them it will be the first time they’ve ever achieved anything they value… One of the things that happens is that as the students gain credits in this course and other courses around the school such as technology, Māori performing arts, and food technology, their self esteem starts to build and then they have the confidence to target what they really want to do. The most rewarding thing is to see a student who has never done anything to do with Māori before, never developed an idea, to see them complete a project… they’re inspired, the act of creating has given them something to be proud of.

Mike Green Carving Teacher

Review questions image.

Rotorua Boys’ High School has actively pursued policies and strategies that have assisted the school in planning and implementing programmes that are making a difference for the schools’ Māori students. Discuss these and the way they are helping with Māori student success/achievement and the way your school could move in this direction.
RBHS acknowledges that te reo me ōna tikanga Māori are inseparable, and offers tikanga based programmes in other curriculum areas to support the teaching of te reo Māori as a second language.

How do you think this contributes to student perceptions about the importance of te reo Māori and the educational success of Māori students?

ka hikitia
school culture

Published on: 03 Aug 2009