Elevating ‘Māori centred curriculum’ – towards a culturally responsive educational tool for Māori
As part of Māori renaissance, the reclamation and advancement of Māori knowledge that respects and capitalises on our past and ensures our survival into the future is increasingly in demand in educational curricula (Simon & Smith, 2001).
This has led to a resurgence of Māori educational initiatives to reclaim and increase access to educational opportunities and knowledge, from a Māori epistemological base, more recently being articulated as mātauranga Māori (Durie, 2001). The expression of these Māori expressions has included Te Kōhanga Reo , Te Kura Kaupapa Māori , Wharekura and Wānanga Māori among others (Walker, 1990).
The challenge seen now is to build on knowledge and systems for practical application in these spaces that allows for a reconnection, reclamation and re-identification with Māori worldview and mana Māori in authentic ways. This knowledge building supports the increased need for culturally relevant curricula to complement and nurture the new environment which will allow Māori to enjoy success as Māori.
To support this goal of knowledge building that is Māori in nature, there is a clear need for clarity around how curriculum developers as key architects in formal education of knowledge design, development and transmission will create curricula that is Māori centred. This clarity will require those of us in the field of curriculum development to explore, extrapolate and develop positions that allow for Māori ways of knowing, being, and doing to be raised up. It will also need to be supported by Māori centred systems and processes for the creation of Māori centred curriculum in the contexts in which we create. To ensure success in creating Māori centred curriculum it is worthwhile to explore key elements that can serve as central ideas for us from which we can elevate knowledge.
The research here seeks to identify some of those key bedrock ideas through personal experience, a relevant review of the literature and sound exploration, analysis and evidence of Māori centred curriculum drawn out from studies with marautanga Māori practitioners. In that sense the work is experience and practice informed. Data collection methods will include interview and feedback by way of both hui and wānanga with key participants and form the methodological base of the research discussed further on.
At its core, the work aims to provide architects of Māori centred curriculum (and others) a valuable set of elements as guidance for the design and development of Māori centred curriculum that support Māori success now and in the future.