The politics of teacher development for an indigenous people

Colonising assumptions within Māori education in Aotearoa, New Zealand

Authored by: Martin Thrupp , Carl Mika

Routledge International Handbook of Teacher and School Development

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  June  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415669702
eBook ISBN: 9780203815564
Adobe ISBN: 9781136715976


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The indigenous Māori people have offered many of the most trenchant critiques of New Zealand education. These critiques have been concerned with how Māori life-chances, economic development, language and culture have been held back by a European-oriented (or Pakeha) education system (Mullholland 2006; Smith 2002; Smith and Smith 1995). They have been followed up by some impressive Māori-led interventions over the last few decades, in particular a government-funded but Māori-controlled parallel system of Māori early childhood centres, schools and universities (known as kohanga reo, kura kaupapa Māori and whare wananga, respectively (Smith and Smith 1995). There are also likely to be some teachers and schools in New Zealand’s regular school system that are succeeding more than most with Māori students. Certainly the New Zealand media offers occasional accounts of success ‘against the odds’ with Māori students (e.g. ‘The Olympic success story of Rotorua Boy’s High School’ in the Sunday Star Times (New Zealand) ).

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