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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Te Kotahitanga benefiting all students

The developer of a new way to teach Maori students says all students are benefiting at schools running Te Kotahitanga.

Many of those schools are represented at a conference today and tomorrow at Waikato University.

Russell Bishop told the hui that socio-economic differences didn't explain the persistent lag in Maori achievement at secondary school level, so the programme was designed to make teachers aware of cultural differences in learning styles.

He says NCEA results show it is also helping Pasifika and Pakeha students, and it is clear what's good for Maori is good for all students.

“Instead of the education for all philosophy that we’ve run for the last 100 years, which has left Maori people behind, we need to be focusing on those people the system is not serving well, and we need to change the system to serve those people well,” Professor Bishop says.

New Zealand has an excellent teaching workforce, but it needs to learn new ways to make Maori children and communities feel involved in the education process.


Top Maori jockey Michael Walker is back in the saddle again.

The 24-year -old is set to ride in trials at Cambridge tomorrow, after a pig hunting accident in Taranaki in May almost cost his life.

Walker spent three months in hospital and a rehabilitation centre recovering from head injuries incurred falling over a bluff.

The accident cut short his bid to become the first New Zealander to ride 200 winners in a season... he was sitting on 173 wins with over a month left to ride before he was injured.


Ralph Hotere has been hailed as an unsung intellectual giant.

A lavish book featuring more than 150 of the Te Aupouri artist's paintings was launched in Auckland this week.

Former youth court chief judge Mick Brown says the book, and particularly the biographical essay by Vincent O'Sullivan, captures some of the essence of what has made his old friend New Zealand's greatest living artist.

He says the country sometimes bemoans the lack of intellectuals, but that may be because people haven't recognised the contributions of a pioneering group from the north.

“Together with the late great Hone Tuwhare and my particular mate Selwyn Muru, three giant intellects, and it may be a good idea for us to look at ourselves, New Zealanders, whether we have been looking in the right places for some of these things, and they’re here, they’re here in front of me, and Ralph’s thing was, he never would tell you, it was up to you,” Judge Brown says.

Hotere, published by Ron Sang Publications, should be in stores next week.


The former head of the Qualifications Authority is calling for a revolution in the classroom.

David Hood told a Te Kotahitanga conference at Waikato University the teacher development programme in use in 22 secondary schools is challenging long-standing educational practices which have failed Maori students.

It is changing traditional practices where the teacher has absolute power, and building relationships based on mutual respect between teacher and student.

He says teachers on the programme have higher expectations of Maori students.

“You don't make assumptions because of the ethnicity of a child or their socioeconomic or any other kind of background that makes assumptions about their ability to learn, so you have that kind of high expectations.

“Te Kotahitanga is very much about building up teachers and have strategies to help them build up those relationships and involve students in their learning and build up those expectations,” Mr Hood says.

He says a lot of what happens in the classroom is based on industrial age assumptions which no longer hold true in a world where a nation's wealth relies on the intellectual capacity of its people.


The former Minister of Maori Affairs says being out of government will give him more time to service his sprawling electorate, which stretches from the east cape to Wainuiomata.

Parekura Horomia fended off a challenge from the Maori Party's Derek Fox to retain Ikaroa-Rawhiri.

He says Maori MPs face a bigger challenge servicing their constituents than those in general seats.

Mr Horomia says he found it hard running against Mr Fox because of their close family links.


It's not exactly CSI but Te Papa Tongarewa staff are working hard to identify the Maori remains repatriated this week.

Te Herekiekie Herewini, the repatriation team head, says the haul included 22 koiwi tangata from five museums in Scotland and England.

While one skull is known to be Moriori, the others items need to be investigated thoroughly.

Once the origins of the koiwi tangata are identified, they will be returned to their iwi for burial.


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