Ka mua ka muri - exploring Māori identity, Mātauranga Māori and policies in education : identity construction as perceived by year 7 and 8 tauira Māori, and the examination of strategies that support cultural development in the learning environment : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Education at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

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If culture is conducive to achieving positive educational outcomes for Māori, then nurturing and supporting culture and identity development in the learning environment is paramount. However, in order to effectively support culture, one must be able to understand the foundations or ‘ground zero’ formula of cultural construction and the ways in which identity is perceived by rangatahi Māori (Māori youth). This is absolutely necessary if educational institutions are to fully implement Ka Hikitia into their own school policies and teaching practices - that which are genuine and authentic. Moreover, understanding the cultural realities of tauira Māori (Māori students) provides the opportunity for schools to (re)view, adapt, transform, and evolve the learning environment in order to support positive identity development of Māori, as Māori. Over the last 27 years, the number of residents identifying as Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand has increased. However, substantial increases in cultural identification are predominantly located in middle-late aged cohorts, whilst younger generations illustrate low to moderate increases. In addition, the number of Māori achieving National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) has also surged over the last decade. The combination of rising cultural identity and educational achievement of Māori situates educational institutions as key stakeholders in the development of Māori, as Maori. Hence, the formal learning environment must work in collaboration with whānau, hapū, and iwi to achieve positive outcomes for Māori, as Māori. This research explores the identity construction and development as perceived by Year 7 and 8 tauira Māori enrolled in a bilingual kura (school), located in the lower North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. It further examines the strategies used by kaiako that enable mātauranga Māori and normalises culture in the learning environment.
Māori Masters Thesis