Kua tae kē tatou? : Tikanga ā rua i roto i ngā kura auraki o Āotearoa = Are we there yet? Biculturalism in New Zealand mainstream schools : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Education (Adult Education) at Massey University
The rationale for conducting this research is embedded in the articles of The Treaty of
Waitangi (Te Tīrītī o Waitangi 2.3), the cornerstone of the partnership between Māori
and Pākehā. Te Tīrītī promotes research set in a peculiarly Āotearoa New Zealand
context where biculturalism is seen as promoting a dignified, respectful coexistence of
Māori and Pākehā in which both languages cultures and ways of life are
acknowledged and valued (Vasil, 2000). In the context of this work the word
biculturalism concerns the cultural being of Māori and Pākehā alike. Though the word
biculturalism appears in the New ZeaIand Curriculum, the works explored in the
process of undertaking this research did not name biculturalism as existing in New
Zealand schools, hence the paucity of up-to-date references.
Using aspects of Kaupapa Māori (Smith, 1997) as the research method the research
aimed to develop a better understanding around the implementation of te reo Māori
and tikanga Māori to promote biculturalism in Āotearoa New Zealand mainstream
schools today. The historical context that foregrounds biculturalism and the
educational policy that influenced the growth and development of biculturalism were
also taken into account. In endeavouring to understand and define the shape and
form of biculturalism a small group of teachers (Te Whānau Rangahau) agreed to
share their ideas around the tensions, successes, enablers and challenges involved
in ‘creating a space’ for the implementation of te Māori (Māori language) and tikanga
Māori (Māori culture and values) to nurture and assist biculturalism.
Keeping within the framework of Kaupapa Māori the kairangahau (researcher) felt
‘kanohi ki te kanohi’ (face to face discussion) was both relevant and appropriate. The
use of focussed conversations and individual interviews provided a unique
opportunity to identify key influences on teacher willingness to engage in discourse
around biculturalism. An opportunity to determine essential elements that need to be
present to allow biculturalism to be nurtured through to fruition was also captured.
This thesis found that the perception of including te reo Māori and tikanga Māori in
Āotearoa New Zealand mainstream schools to encourage true biculturalism continues
to be complicated and worked through institutional and social practices. These create,
maintain and perpetuate a dominant ideology that maintains a monolingual,
monocultural Pākehā curriculum.