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Kaupapa Māori pedagogies

Kaupapa Māori pedagogies in teaching and learning is underpinned by Māori values and reflect Māori preferred practices.

Discussing new provisions of the Education and Training Act 2020, the Ministry of Education (2021) notes:

“As a partner to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Crown has a duty to actively promote and protect Tiriti rights and to develop education settings in a way that reflects Māori-Crown relationships.”1

Curriculum Framework Transformation (CFT) working group Pūtoi Ako state:

For the purpose of the Curriculum Framework Transformation programme, kaupapa Māori pedagogies can be understood as teaching and learning underpinned by Māori values and reflecting Māori preferred practices. Some of these values are expressed in the three Te Ao Māori Principles from Taumata Teitei: manaakitanga, whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga.

Three students testing a car's electrical systems

Kaupapa Māori pedagogies:

  • Support the Māori-led revitalisation of te reo Māori, mātauranga Māori and tikanga Māori through centring Māori ways of knowing and being.2
  • Reject deficit theorising3 and promote tino rangatiratanga for Māori learners and te ao Māori.
  • Contribute to the ongoing improvement of learning design and delivery of te ao Māori content and content for Māori learners.

Kaupapa Māori pedagogies can include all best teaching practices in on-line, digital and in-person settings. Like all pedagogies, they depend on the desired learning outcomes in any context. Kaupapa Māori pedagogies add to the existing suite of teaching and learning practices by suggesting wānanga and experiential, place-based learning, and other practices found useful by Māori teachers and learners.

The Kaupapa Māori pedagogies principle reminds that how we teach is as important as what we teach. If we can engage and excite and inspire our students (manaakitanga), we can teach them; if they are not inspired and engaged, teaching fails. Kaupapa Māori pedagogies are relational. Relationships between students and staff, and amongst the groups that make up the university are the key to strong enduring bonds of loyalty and collaboration (whanaungatanga). With these two values in place, we can become good citizens who teach, and lead the development of, the knowledge that our human and natural world needs today and tomorrow (kaitiakitanga).

What ways are kaupapa Māori pedagogies already evident in courses and programmes across Waipapa Taumata Rau, University of Auckland?

Pūtoi Ako answer this question as follows:

Kaupapa Māori pedagogies are being enacted in a range of practices at Waipapa ‎Taumata ‎Rau, University of Auckland. They remind us that teaching should and can be a central focus in Waipapa ‎Taumata ‎Rau, University of Auckland; that how we learn is as important as what we learn.

In their broadest terms, kaupapa Māori pedagogies:

  • are primarily relational. They consciously nurture the development of positive relationships between teachers and students, between colleagues, and amongst students
  • are not contained within the teaching or meeting space. They extend beyond the immediate instructional moment to the lives and needs of the students and the teachers, understanding that we are all part of wider systems that affect us as teachers and learners
  • give expression to aroha, an attitude or orientation of care, empathy, engagement and responsibility inherent in qualities / values whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and kaitiakitanga. For instance, they understand the central role of emotion and humour in teaching and learning
  • take seriously ‘where the students are at’. That is, they are not compatible with an instructional style that pays no attention to ‘who is in the room’, what they already know, and what they want to know
  • pay attention to place and context. At Waipapa ‎Taumata ‎Rau, University of Auckland city campus, for instance, they recognise that learners and teachers are located in Aotearoa, Tāmaki Makaurau and on the whenua of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei. They understand that teaching and learning today in Aotearoa, New Zealand is located within a social and cultural history that affects all aspects of teaching and learning
  • pay attention to the correct use of Māori language, its meanings and pronunciation – led by Māori. They create / enable safe and supported spaces, and properly recognised opportunities, for Māori leadership in relation to te reo and mātauranga
  • are Māori led, on Māori terms. They do not assume or expect Māori will provide leadership on demand. They open opportunities for Māori leadership, at the same time accepting that those opportunities may be refused
  • reward existing internal Māori expertise
  • enable the employment of, and consultation with, external knowledge holders where necessary
  • recognise relational teaching as a pre-eminent skill for Waipapa ‎Taumata ‎Rau, University of Auckland teachers.

For more information, see Pūtoi Ako FAQs.

Related resources

Royal, Te Ahukaramu Charles. “Politics and Knowledge: Kaupapa Maori and Matauranga Maori.” New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies 47, no. 2 (2012): 30-37.

Salmond, Anne. “Ontological Quarrels: Indigeneity, Exclusion and Citizenship in a Relational World.” Anthropological Theory 12, no. 2 (2012): 115-141.

Page updated 31/01/2023

  1. Ministry of Education. “The Education and Training Act 2020: Te Tiriti o Waitangi.” Updated May 3, 2021.
  2. Smith, Linda Tuhiwai. Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (3rd ed.). London: Zed Books, 2021.
  3. Bishop, Russell. “Effective Teaching for Indigenous and Minoritized Students.” Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 7 (2010): 57-62.

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