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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Saturday, August 19, 2006

New leader will have good role models

As thousands make their way to Ngaruarawahia for the Tangi of the Maori queen, Dame Te Atairangikaahu, there is much speculation about who will succeed her.

If tradition is followed, the new leader of the Kingitanga will be announced prior to the burial of the Maori Queen, on Taupiri mountain next Monday.

Garry Nicholas a Maori cultural specialist from Te Ati Awa, says whoever is chosen, has lived through a time where there has been no shortage of role models.

“Whoever replaces Te Atairangikaahu has lived in a time where they have seen great models of leadership. They were there at the time of Bob Mahuta, the time of Pumi Taituha, Henare Tuwhangai, so there are some wonderful role models just as there were for Te Ata when she was a young woman coming through,” Nicholas says.

bobbie hunter shy kids

A lecturer and Researcher for the College of Education at Massey University, says teaching techniques need to change to encourage maori and polynesian students to ask more questions in the classroom.

Bobby Hunter is from the Cook Islands, and is doing her doctoral thesis on developing maths practices.

She says she did extensive research on a year 8 to 11 maths class for a year, and found many of the maori and Polynesian students hadn't been taught to ask questions, instead relying on the teacher to do all the talking.

Ms Hunter says that may be due to cultural practices at home or in the church, but in order to improve numeracy, classroom techniques need to help them develop enquiring minds.

“It's not the children who are failing in the system., I’m suggesting the system is failing the children, because they are not explicitly taught how to ask the questions. There are cultural influences, but in the classroom, the teachers have a responsibility to stop doing all the talking and teach those children how to actually say something and stand by it,” Hunter said.


A Tainui woman who was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies to become a Maori language immersion teacher, says there is no better way to give to children a good start in the language.

Bronwyn Liaki says there is a shortage of Maori teachers, and more are needed to cater to the demand for language learning.

She says after four and a half years as a teacher aide at a South Auckland primary school, staff encouraged her to take the plunge and study for her teaching certificate.

Ms Liaki says it was a great honour to be awarded a scholarship in memory of Sonni Rini, a Tuhoe kaumatua who helped establish the Huarahi Maori programme at Auckland University’s College of Education.

But she says there is room for more teacher trainees keen to work in a Maori language environment.


Among the many hundreds of mourners at the tangi of the Maori Queen at Turangawaewae today, one group stood out for Tainui.

Former National prime ministers Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley and former treaty negotiations minister Doug Graham were welcomed on this morning, and spoke of the relationship they built up with Dame Te Ata i Rangikaahu during the Waikato Tainui Raupatu Claim settlement.

Professor James Ritchie, a long time adviser to Dame Te Ata, says Tainui people have a special place in their hearts for the retired politicians because of their role in settling the claim.

James Ritchie says 10 years on from the settlement, Tainui is stronger as a tribe than he has seen it in a 50 year association.


Manukau Institute of Technology Maori studied lecturer Kotuku Tibble is taking issue with a new report saying Maori children have low scores in mathematics because they don't ask enough questions.

Massey University lecturer Boobie Hunter has published research claiming Maori and Pacific Island children need to be taught how to ask questions so they can draw level with their Pakeha classmates.

But Mr Tibble says work done in South Auckland schools in the 1980s by eminent Harvard scholar Courtney Cazden identified cultural boundaries in asking elders questions, and she proposed changes in teaching practices.


The man behind one of the most successful maori groups to work internationally, says Maori performing arts are a unique expression of this country, and are what international audiences want to see.

Tama Huata says Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre is kept busy accompanying New Zealand trade delegations as well as putting this country and Maori to the fore at festivals and events around the world.

He says with three troupes operating out of New Zealand, New York and Canada, Kahurangi is one of the biggest performing arts companies in this country with 24 permanent staff.

Tama Huata says this week a Kahurangi troupe is performing at the Malaysia New Zealand Business Council's annual dinner in Kuala Lumpur.


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