Te Kahautu Maxwell - Tertiary Teaching Excellence Teaching Profile
Teaching profile from Te Kahautu Maxwell, Senior Lecturer, Te Aka Tikanga, School of Māori and Pacific Development, The University of Waikato - a Sustained Excellence winner 2010 and inaugural recipient in the category Kaupapa Māori.
Te tangata nāna i noho whakarua.
Kārangaranga te muri.
Ka tutūngā tamatea o te moana e.
Ko au, ko au, ko au tēnei ko Tūtāmure!
Ko te wehi ki a Ihowa ora o ngāmano ko ia te Poukikikī, ko ia te Poukakakā.
Ka whakahōnoretia te Kīngi Māori e noho nei i runga i te ahurewa tapu o te Kīngitanga, te pouherenga o te mana Māori motuhake. Paimārire!
Ka apakura nei te ngākau ki ngā mate pōautinitini kua mine atu ki te pō nui, ki te pō roa, ki te oti atu ki runga o Tamakurangi te kāpunipunitanga o te wairua, haere, haere, haere atu rā.
Tēnā tātou ngā māngainga o ngā tihi whakarongo kōrero, ngā awa whakatere taniwhā e kaiwhatu nei ki ngā kōrero i kapohia ki te tuhirau ki te rehuīringa hei whakaohooho i te ihomatua o te tangata e ngākaunui nei ki te tūranga kaiako ānō, ko Matariki e hora ana he māramatanga ki te motu katoa, tinimeene, me te tūmanako anōe ora ai te tauira i roto i āna tohutohu, whiritā!
Anei rā te reo o whakaiti e mihi atu nei ki a Ako Aotearoa mōna i tahuri mai ki tōku mātauranga Māori kau atu nei e haruru ana i roto i ngā whare wānanga, kuratini o te motu, te mātauranga i ruia mai i Rangiātea, i Kurawaka, i tuku iho mai i te Tihi o Manono i tiritiria, i poupoua ki a Papatuanuku, e puta tonu nei te iwi Māori ki te whai ao, ki te ao mārama.
E te iwi ahakoa i tohua ko ahau te tuatahi i whakawhiwhia ki tēnei hōnore, nō koutou te korōria, ko koutou ko ahau. Kei konā te kōrero; “Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari taku toa he toa takitini.” Nā koutou katoa i roto i ngātau i pou ai ngā hoe, i iere ai tana wawara i runga i te au o te mātauranga, i hui ai te mātau ki runga ki ngā tauira. Hei konā i tāngia ai ō koutou rae ki te moko o te parawerawera, i hake ai ō koutou tuarā ki te waha i ngā awhero. Anei rā tātou te iwi Māori kātahi anō ka rāngona e tauiwi te mōkarakara o te mātauranga Māori i roto i ngā whare mātauranga pēnei ahakoa tangata whenua nō Aotearoa taketake te tipu mai o te hua o te wānanga Māori e whakamānawatia nei i tē nei rā. Ahakoa te takaroa, kei konā te kupu a te Matuatangatae kīia ana; “Engari te ngaringari i te korekore rawa!”
Nō reira e te iwi kia kaha tātou i roto i ā mahi, e whai nei i ngā makenu o rātou mā i para ai te huarahi e takatakahi nei tātou e ū ai tō tātou waka ki matanuku, e ū ai ki matarangi hui te marama! Tāiki e!
“Kāore te kūmara e kōrero mō tōna ake reka – The kūmara never talks about how sweet it is.”
Te Kahautu Maxwell has been a tertiary teacher since 1995 and has progressed through academic promotion from tutor, to teacher, to programme convenor, from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer and to Head of Department in 2009. His leadership or rangatira qualities have been a mark of his career. As one example, he is frequently referred to as “the” teacher who had the immersion course Te Tohu Paetahi “humming”, with other staff wanting to participate in morning karakia and kapa haka practice.
“Tamaiti ākona ki te kāinga, tūngia ki te marae, tau ana – Māori children who grow up in the community are taught by the elders how to conduct themselves confidently and competently in public.”
One of the challenges for Māori tertiary teachers is that they are expected to have credibility in the Māori world and, if teaching te reo and tikanga Māori, are expected to perform leadership roles in the community that demonstrate deep knowledge and mātauranga Māori in those areas. Te Kahautu has been immersed in these domains of knowledge from childhood and has been mentored by key figures from his own iwi including Sir Monita Delamere, a renowned leader who served on the Waitangi Tribunal. Te Kahautu learned the craft of teaching at the knees of this kaumātua. In some ways this example demonstrates the standards that Te Kahautu applies in preparing students for the real world of the marae – a world in which he is comfortable, effective and confident.
The values of learning tikanga at home, informed later by what he was taught at University, have been influential in shaping Te Kahautu’s approach to teaching. He takes his field of knowledge, whether it is te reo, tikanga, mātauranga or performing arts, deeply seriously. He is an acute observer and involves students in active learning as he draws upon his considerable performance and composition skills. His teaching frameworks are deeply Māori but honed also by his life experiences, his exposure to traditional models and by learning from his colleagues in a tertiary context.
He was heavily influenced by the luminaries of Māori language teaching who taught him and ultimately employed him as a teacher: Wharehuia Milroy, and the late Hirini Melbourne. His professional development has been grounded in good role modelling and a long apprenticeship. He believes that learning is life-long; it never stops.
The public, community and institutional responsibilities for teachers of te reo and tikanga Māori frequently mean a demand for support that extends beyond a typical teaching portfolio. Te Kahautu is often called upon to speak at pōwhiri, attend tangihanga with and for the institution, represent the institution in iwi contexts, hold a function together as a Master of Ceremonies, chair meetings and facilitate hui, and advise others how to resolve issues of protocol.
The University of Waikato remains distinctive for the high visibility of Māori in the life of the University and for its close relationship to Waikato-Tainui, which owns the land on which the University sits. Te Kahautu plays a significant role in maintaining this key relationship. He is a frequent speaker at Tūrangawaewae marae, and is well known for the quality of his whaikōrero. He has organised and hosted lecturers, symposia, stakeholder breakfasts, and events that draw the University and Waikato communities together.
Alongside his teaching, Te Kahautu is called upon as a licensed translator and interpreter to provide simultaneous interpreting as well as academic translations. These skills require elegant English alongside eloquent Māori and attest to Te Kahautu’s bilingual expertise.
In April 2009, Te Kahautu led a haka of a thousand university staff and students and community people to celebrate Kīngitanga Day. The mass crowd was not just Māori but included enthusiastic international students and their families and staff from across the University. His clarity of instructions, positive feedback and attention to rhythm and beat, actions and words were conveyed with humour and absolute authority that held the crowd in his hands. The event was a highlight for many non Māori and Māori who were totally engaged in the performance.
“He ahiahi whatiwhati kāheru – Evening breaks the spade. Extra effort is made when time is short and the goal important.”
Te Kahautu is one of a number of highly skilled staff but stands out from them as an inspiring teacher with absolute fluency in te Reo. He is also one of two staff members who can contribute to, and/or teach solely, every paper offered by both Departments in the School of Māori and Pacific Development. This includes papers in Media and Communication and papers in Development Studies. He could teach these in either English or Māori. This skill is testimony to his breadth and depth of knowledge. He is grounded in his iwi identity and able to develop this in his students.
Te Kahautu has an excellent reputation as a tertiary teacher that is evident in his student evaluations, community attestations, and testimonies from former students and comments from staff. In his view, his role as a teacher is, “to empower the students so that they are architects of their own destinies”. He sees one of his tasks as “ensuring that students see the relevance of their studies to Te Ao Māori. Mediocrity is unacceptable as the students will not survive or flourish in the real world if they are sent out inadequately prepared.”
The contribution by Te Kahautu to curriculum and knowledge creation is very much evident in the range of papers he has taught and shaped in the School. He teaches across learning environments, from classroom based to community contexts.
His teaching skills are based on the frameworks he has been raised with and subsequently enhanced through experience. When teaching the immersion Te Tohu Paetahi programme, the day started with morning karakia and waiata. Te Tohu Paetahi is a flagship University programme that immerses students in te Reo over the course of one year programme. When teaching a smaller course the lecture might simply start with the kaupapa for the day.
One consistent aspect of Te Kahautu’s development and his subsequent practice is his insistence on excellence in all things. Accordingly, he sets very high standards and does not accept mediocre performance or negative attitudes. To help students achieve, he prepares himself well in advance for classes and has noted that the use of a more theatrical approach in his teaching style helps comprehension. His skill in working from a platform of whanaungatanga for his teaching and collegial relationships is second to none.
His supervision of Honours and Masters students and interns is also effective. Many of his students are writing their theses and dissertations in te Reo Māori and require considerable support and attention to grammar as well as argument. Supervising te Reo Māori research and dissertations is clearly one of Te Kahautu’s strengths.
“Whāia te pae tawhiti kia tata – Pursue the long term goals so that you may attain them.”
Te Kahautu is honoured to be the first recipient of an award for sustained excellence in teaching in a kaupapa Māori context and humbly accepts the award on behalf of all Māori teachers who work in the tertiary sector. He recognises there is still a lot for him to learn about teaching – especially the new technological frontiers, yet to be explored, which will develop new methodologies for teaching te reo Māori, which will be important to its survival and globalisation. He acknowledges that this is the wave that mokopuna Māori will ride into the future.
Peer and Student Comments
“Te Kahautu is a thoughtful, inventive but ultimately wise advisor on matters of tikanga Māori for the University.”
Pro Vice-Chancellor Māori, Professor Linda Smith
“He has a kind heart. Where there is an opportunity to help someone in need, he does so, and expects nothing in return. This is not just with regard to where the occasion arises, but openly expressing the desire to be of assistance to any colleague or student in the teaching and learning area. He is supportive of team members and will suggest others before him.”
Haupai Puke, Senior Lecturer
“Students plan their degree around being in Te Kahautu’s classes at 200, 300 and 500 level. This is a testament to the formidable reputation that this man has amongst our students, gained because of his attention to his teaching, the high expectations that he has of his students and the esoteric and practical knowledge that he shares with them. The students remain with him and our School throughout their career as students.”
Pania Melbourne, Lecturer “
I āta whakaarohia ana whakaritenga, i rawe āna whakatakoto kōrero me āna whakamārama kia mau pu ngā kōrero ki te hingengaro. He whānui tōna puna mātauranga, he hōhonu hoki.”
“He has the ability to be humorous and serious at the same time!”
“I had clear expectations from the beginning, i.e. what happens if we don’t learn the programme.”