Tahia te Marae, Tahia te Wānanga: Marae and Māori community-based adult learning
This project examined the effectiveness of community education programmes supporting the revitalisation of Taranakitanga – practices specific to Taranaki Māori.
Author: Te Kupenga Mātauranga o Taranaki
Published: September 2011
Reports from the project
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Introduction to the summary report
Tertiary education has a critical role to play in supporting the revitalisation of regional te reo and tikanga, particularly through community programmes on marae or Māori community education environments. Marae and similar environments are natural locations for such programmes, as they are amongst the few institutions in Aotearoa, New Zealand where the use of te reo Māori and Māori process takes precedence over other practices.
Various programmes exist within Taranaki that support the revitalisation of Taranakitanga – practices specific to Taranaki Māori – many of which are provided through adult education. Taranaki Māori cultural practices include distinctive Taranaki reo, tikanga, history, knowledge, and values. However, little is known about the effectiveness of these programmes in meeting community aspirations, such as revitalising te reo Māori and cultural practices. This research project sought to explore this issue.
As literature relating to the impact of marae-based adult community education courses that support the learning of Māori practices is scarce to nonexistent, this project is therefore unique in that it contributes new knowledge about how Taranaki marae and Māori community-based teaching and learning environments:
- support people to learn about Taranaki Māori practices
- enhance Māori community development, and
- meet Māori community aspirations.
The overarching purpose of the study was to investigate how mātauranga Māori adult community courses delivered in Māori settings (on marae and in other Māori community environments) contribute to addressing community aspirations for the development of Taranaki Māori cultural practices, and regional cohesion.
The following research questions are addressed in this project.
- What are the special characteristics of a marae-based environment that support the learning of Taranaki Māori practices?
- What do tauira consider a safe and engaging learning environment which motivates them to access and contribute to Taranaki Māori practices such as reo and tikanga?
- How do marae-based courses raise the awareness and confidence of tauira to continue participating in Māori community development?
- How useful are MP3 recorders, learning journals and Taranaki karakia/waiata books as support resources for marae-based programme delivery?
This research reinforces the value of informal adult community teaching and learning on marae and Māori community settings for Taranaki Māori (particularly with regard to Taranaki Māori practices but also more broadly) and the need for further development in this area. While the acquisition of knowledge that may be applied in a variety of fields is useful, this research suggests that the process of learning in marae and Māori community environments and the link to community development may be the key value of courses in these contexts.
The findings are likely to have wider application and be relevant not only within the Taranaki region, but for teaching and learning for Māori-based adult education environments around the country. The findings may also be of interest to other indigenous peoples internationally.
This study shows that there is significant value in informal adult teaching and learning on marae or in Māori community settings for Taranaki Māori, particularly with regard to Taranaki Māori practices. This research has demonstrated tangible ways in which marae and Māori community-based courses contribute to meeting Taranaki Māori aspirations. Five areas in which marae or Māori community-based adult education contribute to Taranaki Māori aspirations have been discussed in this report: identity, development, knowledge, cohesion and sustainability. Location of courses within Māori community contexts contributes to reinforcing a sense of localised identity. Courses contribute to building local capacity that may enable communities to take on other projects and thereby facilitate community development.
Course delivery in Māori settings validates local knowledge and supports its acquisition, application and transmission within real life cultural contexts. Location of courses on marae and in other Māori community-based settings provides direct opportunities for tauira to participate in the community and thereby contribute to regional cohesion. A unique aspect of marae provision is the inherent intergenerational nature of that environment, which lends itself to the sustainability of course outcomes over time for the benefit of future generations.
Marae environments are distinct, and are most conducive to developing strongly localised identity-centred programmes that empower communities and facilitate tauira contributions to local Māori community development. Therefore, particular emphasis should be placed on the development of teaching and learning opportunities on marae including the generation of identity-based resources that relate to the uniqueness of localised communities. This will require that appropriate support is provided to community groups to enable them to identify training needs and develop teaching and learning opportunities in lived Māori community contexts. Each of the points discussed here should equally apply to adult education teaching and learning around the country. However, further localised research will be required in order to substantiate the applicability of of this research to other regions and communities.
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