Transitioning From Secondary School to University: Māori Students and Kapa Haka – An AUT Case Study
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This study takes a unique approach to Māori tertiary engagement by exploring the potentiality of kapa haka (Māori performing groups) to facilitate Māori student transition from secondary school to university. Accordingly, the question is posed: What role does kapa haka play in Māori students’ transitions from secondary to tertiary education? The case study involved the kapa haka group Tītahi ki Tua (TKT), from the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). This approach enabled an in-depth investigation into how kapa haka influenced the lived experiences of Māori university students involved in the group. Kaupapa Māori theory provided a cultural framework that permeated all aspects of the study. Māori ways of thinking and doing ensured that the qualitative interviews were delivered under the auspices of a Kaupapa Māori agenda. The key findings from the study reveal how students’ multifaceted transitions are supported by the cyclic relationship between TKT and the AUT marae (courtyard surrounded of culturally significant buildings), Ngā Wai o Horotiu. Ngā Wai o Horotiu is AUT’s cultural refuge and backdrop to TKT kapa haka activities.