“discriminated against in two ways, first as female, and second as Maori”

The above comment caught my attention. It is part of an introductory section in:

Ki te taumata: a personal journey into the multiple identities of academically high achieving Maori girls, a thesis by Liana MacDonald, completed in 2011.

This is a highly readable and valuable document for new and existing teachers, providing useful insights into an area we all need to (and are expected to) know something about. Rather than the usual focus on deficit theory and other negative aspects of Maori education, Liana MacDonald’s thesis looks at new ground, specifically, what has contributed to  successful Maori girls (albeit sucess can be hard to define).

Told in narrative as a personal learning and research journey her thesis looks into the lives of four students, whanau and friends.

I encourage teachers to read Ms. MacDonald’s thesis, it can be accessed with this link:  thesis on high achieving Maori girls

Selected “gems” include… (my comments are in red)

“seemed logical that successful schooling experiences were probably precursors to eventual financial security” (nicely put)

“I understood that there was an underachievement problem that needed immediate attention and that increasing retention rates and decreasing truancy statistics were vital in ensuring this would happen, but I did not feel that the document incorporated a holistic view of “education success as Maori”. I did not think that Ka Hikitia considered education success as viewed through the eyes of academically successful Maori students.” (Ka Hikitia is the Maori Education strategy)

“thus demonstrating that Maori are not a culturally homogenous group of people” (it should be obvious but sadly it is not)

“Eleven of the twelve participants identified motivation and personal drive as contributing to their achievement”

“Leadership was fostered through mentoring and mediation programmes, instead of the traditional, hierarchical prefect structure” (Interesting model, almost modern corporate)

“spoke about how maintaining a strong Māori identity and sense of self helped her in a schooling context where the Māori population is marginalised”


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