Title

Kapa haka: Māori performing arts as alternative education

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Abstract

This study looks at Māori kapa haka (performing arts) as indigenous alternative education, putting the Treaty of Waitangi into practice. It focuses on how educators work within ?The Arts? in The New Zealand Curriculum , which is largely Pākehā (Western) informed and dominated. This research seeks the question: How do Māori educators (re)create traditions through kapa haka in the mainstream secondary school context? This study is based on Māori education scholar, Russell Bishop?s whakawhanaungatanga research methodology (the process of establishing relationships in a Māori context). It entailed critical action-reflection participation with the Queen?s High School school kapa haka group and in-depth interviews with four teachers in Dunedin, New Zealand. By using indigenous pedagogical strategies of taonga tuku iko (ancestral cultural aspirations), ako (reciprocal learning), whānau (family), and kaupapa (collective vision) educators develop students? holistic mental, physical and spiritual well-being and inspire students to higher learning. Carefully selected waiata (songs) are chosen to reflect particular Māori concepts the teachers want students to embody. Waiata are specific to the girls? school, area, and tribal affiliations. Family relationships are established in the classroom by making poi (Māori implement) together, singing in harmony and moving in unison. Experienced girls are given tuakana (older sibling) leadership roles to organize group practices, costume designs, fundraising and performances. This research informs teacher practice in multiple contexts. In addition, specifically this project extends upon our connected history as indigenous peoples by sharing, modeling and advocating for collaboration of performing arts strategies between Māori kapa haka and Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) hula.

Advisor

Jeffrey Tobin

Department

critical_theory_social_justice

Support

The Paul K. & Evalyn E. Cook Richter Trusts - International Research Fellowship



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