Te Aotūroa Tātaki: inclusive early childhood education, by Di Gordon-Burns, Dr Alex Gunn, Kerry Purdue and Nicola Surtees

Te Aotūroa Tātaki: inclusive early childhood education, by Di Gordon-Burns, Dr Alex Gunn, Kerry Purdue and Nicola Surtees (Education)

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This book addresses how practitioners and policy makers work for inclusion with diverse children and families in early childhood education. It focuses on the development of positive attitudes to difference, diversity and inclusion, and provides strategies for creating inclusive environments and quality teaching practices. The authors consider inclusion from the perspectives of age, sexualities, disability, gender, biculturalism, ethnicity and religion.

From: Te Aotūroa Tātaki: inclusive early childhood education, by Di Gordon-Burns, Dr Alex Gunn, Kerry Purdue and Nicola Surtees

CHAPTER 4: Place-based education: Helping early childhood teachers give meaningful effect to the tangata whenuatanga competency of Tātaiako and the principles of Te Whāriki

Richard Manning


In this chapter I draw on an experience I had as a father while visiting my son Jonathan’s early childhood centre in Ōtautahi (Christchurch), Aotearoa New Zealand, during 2008. My visit followed a lesson in which my son was taught by another Pākehā father to perform “Ka Mate”, the famous haka (posture dance) of the Ngāti Toa iwi. This lesson was problematic for the grandmother of one of my son’s friends, affiliated to the Ngāti Kuri hapū of Ngāi Tahu.

My reflections in these pages are not designed to be critical of children performing “Ka Mate” or to be critical of early childhood teachers in general. Rather, they serve to explain why one centre’s lack of knowledge about local Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Toa tribal histories concerned both me and Jonathan’s friend’s grandmother. These reflections also serve to demonstrate why early childhood kaiako and leaders who display a similar lack of knowledge about the tangata whenua (people of the land) should be challenged by peers who are more familiar than they with the Ministry of Education’s (2011) Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners and the principles underpinning Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996), this country’s early childhood curriculum.

Although the Ministry of Education (2011) emphasises that the Tātaiako competencies “are not formal standards or criteria”, they are “linked to the Graduating Teacher Standards and Registered Teacher Criteria developed by the New Zealand Teachers Council” (p. 4). Of most significance to this chapter is the Ministry’s advice that the tangata whenuatanga competency is primarily about “affirming Māori learners as Māori … [and] providing [authentic] contexts for learning where the language, identity and culture of Māori learners and their whānau is affirmed” (p. 4). This objective is entirely consistent with the four principles underpinning Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996, pp. 40–43):

•    Whakamana (empowerment): “The early childhood curriculum empowers the child to learn and grow … Adults working with children should understand and be willing to … actively seek Māori contributions to decision making” (p. 40).

•    Kotahitanga (holistic development): “The early childhood curriculum reflects the holistic way children learn and grow … Adults working in early childhood education should have an understanding of Māori views on child development. … Activities, stories, and events that have connections with Māori children’s lives are an essential and enriching part of the curriculum” (p. 41).

•    Whānau tangata (family and community): “The wider world of family and community is an integral part of the early childhood curriculum … Adults working with children should demonstrate an understanding of the different iwi and the meaning of whānau and whānaungatanga” (p. 42).

•    Ngā hononga (relationships): “Children learn through responsive and reciprocal relationships with people, places, and things … The curriculum should include Māori people, places and artifacts and opportunities to learn and use the Māori language through social interaction” (p. 43).

To help kaiako give effect to these curriculum principles, the Ministry of Education (2011, p. 12) advises all “teachers” and “leaders” (including those in early childhood) to acquire and demonstrate historical knowledge of the places they work in and appropriately incorporate the knowledge of the local whānau, hapū and iwi they serve. The Ministry (2011, pp. 5, 12) suggests that place-based education (PBE) approaches may assist teachers and leaders meet the tangata whenuatanga competency.

However, most kaiako, irrespective of their sector, know little about the tenets of PBE. As Zucker (cited in Sobel, 2004, p. iii) explains, “[PBE] is distinguishable by the fact that it actively challenges conventional notions of education by requiring teachers and children to ask seemingly ‘simple’ questions like ‘Where am I?’ ‘What is the nature of this place?’ ‘What sustains this community?’” Zucker adds that this process requires nothing less than a “re-storying process”, whereby kaiako enable tamariki to “respond creatively to [the sometimes conflicting] stories of their home ground so that, in time, they are able to position themselves, imaginatively and actually within the continuum of nature and culture particular in that place” (p. iii). Tamariki and their teachers should become “part of the community”, not “passive observers” of it.

Another facet of this chapter, then, is to help early childhood teachers and centre management to critically reflect on Zucker’s questions and how these might relate to their efforts to respond constructively to the tangata whenuatanga competency guidelines and the principles of Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996). This assistance includes reference to some narratives of Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Toa researchers, easily obtained from the public domain, to illustrate the complex and sometimes conflicting views of different iwi narratives of past and place. The narratives also help illuminate the contemporary implications of the haka lesson mentioned earlier.

The kaiako responsible for this lesson were unaware of the whakapapa of this haka. They were also unaware of the whakapapa of Jonathan’s friend and why “Ka Mate” was problematic for some members of that boy’s whānau and hapū (Ngāti Kuri). The teachers were furthermore unaware of the historical sensitivities that members of the local Ngāi Tūāhuriri hapū can have about their tamariki being taught “Ka Mate”.

Through acknowledgement of the struggles that Ngāti Toa have faced trying to protect the cultural integrity of “Ka Mate”, this chapter also invites early childhood kaiako and centre management, locally and nationally, to consider why it is important to engage with whānau, hapū and iwi in curriculum design and delivery processes before implementing the Ministry of Education’s (2011) new Tātaiako cultural competency guidelines, or enacting the curriculum principles of Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996), or both.

Why early childhood education teachers and centre management need to know about tangata whenuatanga

Imagine a photo of two four-year-old Pākehā boys hanging on the wall of a Christchurch early childhood education centre in 2008. The photo is surrounded by glossy cardboard sheets made resplendent with colourful kōwhaiwhai (painted scroll) patterns. A caption below the photo advises viewers that the boys are “wearing Māori costumes”. These generic Māori costumes have obviously been made from felt material (non-traditional material) and were possibly put together in China.

The boys in the photo gesticulate with their arms and hands. Their faces are contorted as their eyes look upward. Their tongues protrude from their mouths. The caption below the photo also states, “Jonathan and William doing the haka” (my emphasis).

The caption implies that only one haka exists—the haka (“Ka Mate”) that has long been performed by Aotearoa New Zealand’s national rugby team, the All Blacks. The team performed this haka without the permission of Ngāti Toa until the signing of a memorandum of understanding between this iwi and the New Zealand Rugby Union on 17 March 2011 (Ngāti Toa Rangatira, 2011).

The boy in the photo named Jonathan is my youngest son. He and William were not performing the haka. Rather, they were role-playing a scene from Badjelly the Witch, a popular story for children written by the English comedian Spike Milligan (1995). My wife, Averill, was present when the photo was taken. She was surprised to see this photo later being singled out as evidence of “culturally responsive” practice just before a visit from Aotearoa New Zealand’s Education Review Office, a government organisation which performs the role of an education setting inspectorate.

We should not have been surprised because we had only recently begun to see “Māori” content appearing in that centre. A week beforehand, a Pākehā father who played for a local rugby club had visited the centre to teach tamariki how to perform “Ka Mate”. Although there were several tamariki Māori attending the centre, none of their parents or caregivers were consulted, a courtesy and consideration antithetical to the principles of whakamana and whānau tangata integral to Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996).

In my view, the centre’s teachers and management should have consulted all parents and caregivers to identify a haka for their tamariki to learn. In so doing, they would have honoured not only the two principles just mentioned, but also those of kotahitanga and ngā hononga, likewise set out in the curriculum and outlined earlier in this chapter. The teachers I spoke to after the lesson appeared oblivious to the intent of the curriculum principles, especially those of whakamana and whānau tangata.

When the grandmother I spoke of at the beginning of this chapter told me, after the haka lesson, that she and her grandson were affiliated to the Ngāti Kuri hapū of Ngāi Tahu (based at Kaikōura), I was reminded that all haka, like people, have a whakapapa. “Ka Mate”, Jonathan’s friend’s grandmother told me, was difficult for her because many of her tūpuna (ancestors) were decimated by a raiding party consisting of Ngāti Toa and its allies in 1828. The next section outlines some narratives associated with this event.

Ka mate! (’Tis death): The raid on Ngāti Kuri at Kaikōura (1828)

This raiding party, armed with muskets, was led by Te Rauparaha, who had earlier composed “Ka Mate” while fleeing some of his enemies at Lake Rotoaira in the central North Island (Collins, 2010, pp. 24–27; Grace, 1966, pp. 260–264). The raid on Ngāti Kuri occurred after their chief, Te Rerewaka, had threatened to rip Te Rauparaha’s belly open with a shark’s tooth should he arrive in Kaikōura to apprehend Te Rerewaka’s relative, Te Kekerengū (Tau & Anderson, 2008, pp. 174–181; Te Rauparaha, 1980, pp. 34–36). Te Rauparaha’s son, Tamihana Te Rauparaha, provided the following Ngāti Toa narrative of the attack on Ngāti Kuri residing at Kaikōura (Te Rauparaha, 1980, pp. 34–35):

Te Rauparaha decided to go to Kaikøura. His war party consisted of 200 men travelling in five canoes. Te Pēhi [Te Rauparaha’s uncle] also accompanied them … Thousands began to flee … In this battle some 600 people fell, as well as a thousand women and children [my emphasis].

“Ka Mate” is, therefore, a potent haka because it is still associated by some, but not all, Ngāi Tahu people with the suffering inflicted by Te Rauparaha and his allies during their raids into the Waitaha (Canterbury) region between 1828 and 1831. The grandmother of Jonathan’s friend told me that for her, this choice of haka was culturally insensitive. She claimed that incidents such as this happen frequently in Christchurch because local Pākehā know so little about local Māori histories. She said that if the centre kaiako had asked her for advice, she would have shared her view.

This sharing would have been valuable, given the comments of a centre teacher about the lesson featuring “Ka Mate”. She told me that she saw no harm in “all the children learning ‘Ka Mate’” because it is widely viewed as a national icon, made famous by the All Blacks. I countered her argument by affirming the mana of “Ka Mate” while explaining that Ngāti Toa had undertaken legal action to protect the integrity of their haka from commercial exploitation and culturally offensive performances.

The teacher became defensive as I further explained why I considered that the centre’s choice of haka had caused—and would likely cause more—anger among some whānau affiliated to the centre. Teaching this haka, although well intentioned, had risked “picking the scab off an old wound” inflicted during local historical conflict. The teacher responded that “the past is in the past” and the children had experienced a lot of “fun” learning the haka. Her stance, although conveyed indirectly, was dismissive of the principle in Te Whāriki of whānau tangata.

As a newcomer to Christchurch from the Wellington area, I quickly discovered that many other teachers in Canterbury (from all sectors of the education system) were misappropriating “Ka Mate”. They were not consulting Ngāti Toa or engaging with local tribal authorities, such as Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tūāhuriri (the tribal council of Ngāi Tūāhuriri, a prominent Ngāi Tahu hapū). As the newly appointed co-ordinator of the Treaty of Waitangi education programme at the University of Canterbury’s College of Education, I found myself working alongside many Ngāi Tahu colleagues. Some also expressed concern at the misappropriation of “Ka Mate”.

These colleagues, like the grandmother of Jonathan’s friend, felt that using Māori cultural icons in this ad hoc manner was trampling on the mana of their iwi and of Ngāti Toa. This sort of behaviour, they believed, had the potential to needlessly reopen historical wounds. For example, when I spoke to my then Head of School about the haka incident at my son’s early childhood centre, she said, with a hint of irony, “What a coincidence.” She was in the middle of composing a polite, yet firm, email to the principal of a local secondary school. As the education spokesperson for her hapū, Ngāi Tūāhuriri, she was deeply concerned that the school was (like the early childhood centre) overlooking the sensitivities of some local whānau about local history.

The secondary school had signalled its intention to set a world record for the “world’s largest haka” and intended to perform “Ka Mate” near the Kaiapoi Pā site—a major cultural landmark for all Ngāi Tahu people. However, emails from my Head of School and a group of concerned Māori parents persuaded the school to choose another haka. The school, to its credit, thus accepted that some local whānau and hapū members closely associate “Ka Mate” with the sacking of Kaiapoi Pā (an account of which follows), and that “Ka Mate” is therefore a provocative choice of haka and not conducive to kotahitanga (meaning unity, and which is a principle embedded within Te Whāriki). In so doing, the school demonstrated how to respond to the principle of whakamana, even though whakamana was not embedded in its curriculum.

Ka mate! The sacking of Kaiapoi Pā (1831)

Kaiapoi Pā was the first major settlement established by the Ngāi Tuhaitara ancestors of today’s Ngāi Tūāhuriri hapū, following their migration from the lower North Island. The many tribal (and Pākehā) narratives of this event give conflicting reasons about why the pā was attacked. Given the limited length of this chapter, it suffices to state that, in 1828, after successfully attacking Kaikōura (described previously), Te Rauparaha and other related chiefs travelled south. They presented themselves to the people of Kaiapoi Pā as friends, wishing to exchange pounamu (greenstone).

However, the Ngāi Tūāhuriri inhabitants of Kaiapoi Pā were well aware of the suffering these visitors had recently inflicted upon their Ngāti Kuri (fellow Ngāi Tahu) relatives at Kaikōura. They were also aware of the visitors’ recent desecration of the nearby graveyard of a high-ranking Ngāi Tahu woman. This woman was the grandmother of Tamaiharanui, the senior chief residing at Kaiapoi (Collins, 2010, p. 83; Tau & Anderson, 2008, pp. 175–176). So those residing at Kaiapoi Pā suspected the visitors of treacherous intentions. The occupants of the pā devised a plan that included inviting the visiting chiefs to come inside it (Collins, 2010, pp. 83–84; Tau & Anderson, 2008, p. 176).

Te Pēhi, having previously befriended Tamaiharanui at Port Jackson (Sydney, Australia), felt safe to accept his friend’s invitation to enter Kaiapoi Pā. He was accompanied by senior- and junior-ranking chiefs (Collins, 2010, p. 83). Te Pēhi and the other chiefs acted against the advice of Te Pēhi’s nephew, Te Rauparaha. After experiencing a premonition, Te Rauparaha was wary of entering the pā. He advised Te Pēhi that he dreamt his hand had been bitten by a rat named “Pouhawaiiki” (Collins, 2010, pp. 84–85; Te Rauparaha, 1980, p. 35).

Accounts of the events that immediately preceded the violent death of Te Rauparaha’s half-brother Te Aratangata, his cousin Te Pēhi and most other visiting chiefs inside the pā vary (Collins, 2010, pp. 83–85; Tau & Anderson, 2008, p. 176). However, there is a consensus that Te Pēhi and the others were killed and eaten according to the customary practices of that time (Collins, 2010, p. 84; Tau & Anderson, 2008, p. 180; Te Rauparaha, 1980, p. 35).

After mourning these deaths, and unsuccessfully attempting to force the inhabitants from the pā (with concentrated musket fire), Tamihana Te Rauparaha (1980, p. 36) noted that his father (Te Rauparaha) left the area, but only after issuing this warning to the inhabitants of Kaiapoi Pā: “Nourish your children for the time when I come back, because there will be no survivors. Those who have been murdered will be paid for by you and your female children.”

Te Rauparaha did return to the region in 1830, accompanied by a raiding party. They came on the brig Elizabeth, aided by the brig’s opportunistic captain, John Stewart, and his crew. The so-called Elizabeth incident is well documented. It involved the abduction of Tamaiharanui and his wife and daughter after they had come aboard the Elizabeth at Akaroa, a settlement on Bank’s Peninsula. The abduction was quickly followed by the killing and enslavement of many of the inhabitants of Tamaiharanui’s kāinga at Takapūneke, nearby (Collins, 2010, pp. 87–90; Tau & Anderson, 2008, p.183). The three earlier-abducted family members died later, en route to Kāpiti Island or after arriving at that destination.

Collins (2010, p. 90) claims that despite the outcome of the Elizabeth incident, Te Rauparaha and his allies still desired to avenge the senior chiefs killed at Kaiapoi in 1828, especially after the desecration of Te Pēhi’s bones “by Tūhawaiiki (of Ngāi Tuahuriri) and others in the Whakatū (Nelson) area”. During the summer months of 1831 to 1832, two war parties consisting of warriors from different iwi travelled by sea and over land to besiege the previously impregnable pā at Kaiapoi.

According to Collins (2010, p. 93), the attacking force consisted of “100 of Te Rauparaha’s Ngāti Toa from Kapiti, 200 Te Ātiawa, 100 Ngāti Raukawa and 100 Ngāti Toa from Taitapu.” A siege, remembered for a flurry of attacks and counter-attacks, took place over a period of 3 months. Te Rauparaha eventually challenged his own warriors and allies to dig a series of saps (trenches) that zigzagged to the outer palisading of the Kaiapoi Pā. The saps, which were roofed for protection from sniper fire, allowed the attacking forces to pile dry wood against the wooden palisades, with the intent of eventually setting fire to them.

It was, however, the inhabitants of the pā who first decided to set fire to the piles of wood, hoping that the north-westerly winds would blow the flames away from the pā. But, as so often occurs in Waitaha, the wind changed direction, to a south-westerly, which blew the fire back onto the palisades. Much smoke and panic filled the pā. Collins (2010, p. 97) offers the following Ngāti Toa account of what happened next:

The earth shook with the haka of 450 attacking warriors. Women and children seeking protection from their men hampered resistance. Some escaped through the swamp, only to be taken by the Rangitāne slaves of Ngāti Toa. Based on Stack’s estimate of those living at Kaiapoi as about 1,000, the number of Ngāi Tahu killed was likely to have been between 300–350, with similar numbers captured and escaping.

Tau and Anderson (2008, pp. 185–186), writing from a Ngāi Tahu perspective, provide this conflicting account of the scale of the carnage that followed the fall of Kaiapoi Pā:

Some of the thousand people who were then in the pā escaped by scaling the walls in the rear and making their way through the swamps; a few were taken prisoner, and about 600 were killed. Many of the prisoners were massacred on the little sand hill now occupied by a cow-shed, just opposite the junction of the road to the site of the pā [Preece’s Road] and the main road [State Highway 1].

Irrespective of the debate surrounding the exact number of Ngāi Tahu people killed or enslaved, it is vital that all early childhood teachers and centre management know that events like this did occur in Waitaha and many other places around Aotearoa New Zealand, and not that long ago. A PBE approach may assist. A PBE approach would demand, for example, that the so-called “musket wars” (Ballara, 2003) of the past should not be treated by early childhood kaiako as “irrelevant” to curriculum implementation. This approach would instead require that such processes enact Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996) principles of whakamana, kotahitanga, whānau tangata and ngā hononga. The processes would also align with the tangata whenuatanga competency in Tātaiako (Ministry of Education, 2011). Ultimately, a PBE approach would demand nothing less than early childhood teachers becoming more familiar with local whānau and iwi narratives and being able to respond creatively to them. Such an approach would surely assist many early childhood kaiako and centre management to become part of their local Māori community, not just passive observers of it.

Ka ora! (’Tis life!): Using place-based education approaches to breathe life into the Treaty partnership

Lest we forget: Respecting local tribal histories of place

In similar spirit to the way that many Māori and non-Māori gather solemnly on Anzac Day to commemorate their ancestors and loved ones who died on foreign soils, early childhood teachers and centre management should be equally mindful and respectful of those thousands of New Zealanders (largely Māori) who died on local soil during the musket wars period (1806–1845). As Belich (1996, p. 157) has noted:

The musket wars were the largest conflict ever fought on New Zealand soil. They killed more New Zealanders than World War One—perhaps about 20,000. They involved most tribes and caused substantial social and economic dislocation.

The Kaiapoi Pā site is a potent reminder of the southern campaigns of the musket wars. Just as Gallipoli is a solemn site for many New Zealanders, Kaiapoi Pā is a site that still holds memories for Ngāi Tahu people. Early childhood teachers around Aotearoa New Zealand need to appreciate that the musket wars, coupled with later wars against Crown forces, scarred the landscape and still inform territorial disputes.

Early childhood kaiako and centre management can easily obtain information about these wars by talking to local tribal custodians of knowledge, visiting libraries and cultural landmarks, searching for information on the internet and attending local hearings of the Waitangi Tribunal. Although Ngāi Tahu and Ngāti Toa gradually made a lasting peace in the 1840s, through strategic marriages and gift-making (Collins, 2010, p. 137; Tau & Anderson, 2008, p. 200), these iwi still contest each other’s claims to lands in Te Waipounamu (the South Island). This state of affairs has been evident, for example, with regard to lands discussed in the Waitangi Tribunal’s (2007) Te Tau Ihu Customary Claims in the Statutory Ngāi Tahu Takiwā (Preliminary) Report. I suspect that reading this sort of literature will help early childhood teachers and centre management gain a better understanding of why it is unwise to misappropriate Māori cultural icons, such as “Ka Mate”, when haka composed and gifted by local whānau, hapū and iwi may respect local historical factors.

Ngāti Toa efforts to protect their haka and the Ngāi Tahu gift to the residents of Ōtautahi

Many New Zealanders have appropriately frowned on Hollywood movie moguls, United States universities, an Italian car company (Fiat) and the pop group the Spice Girls for their renditions of “Ka Mate”. While these “foreign” misappropriations are rightly deemed “tacky”, consideration should also be given to more localised misappropriations of “Ka Mate”. Given the focus of this chapter, I propose that early childhood kaiako of Ōtautahi (and elsewhere) should consider embracing Māori icons in ways that are considered tika (just) by the tangata whenua of the area concerned, or other tribes with an interest in those icons, or both.

The New Zealand Rugby Union and a rugby club from my home town (Porirua) provide early childhood teachers and centre management with recent good examples of an approach that is tika and inherently place based. So, too, does the willingness of Ngāi Tahu to share their tangata whenuatanga in the wake of the series of major earthquakes in Canterbury in 2010 and 2011.

On 17 March 2011, the New Zealand Rugby Union and Ngāti Toa signed a memorandum of understanding to “protect” “Ka Mate”. When announcing this event, Ngāti Toa stated:

Ka Mate is an important part of New Zealand’s cultural history. But above all of this, Ka Mate is a taonga of Ngāti Toa Rangatira and we as an iwi have an obligation to protect it. One of the iwi’s long standing concerns is that Ka Mate has been used in a belittling and culturally offensive way. Fortunately the NZRU respects this position and has agreed to work with us to ensure that the integrity of Ka Mate is protected. (Ngāti Toa Rangatira, 2011)

In Porirua, Bidwell (2011) reported that:

Norths’ premier team coach Frank Rees said his boys had performed the haka ‘four or five times’ this season … ‘We’re lucky enough that Ngāti Toa have given us the privilege of performing it and we’ve taken it in both hands,’ Rees said. ‘Ka Mate is owned by Ngāti Toa and we have a close relationship with them and there are a few boys from the iwi playing in our side. [Lock] Eldon Paea, who leads it, is from the pā [Takapūwāhia, Elsdon] and Ngāti Toa kaumatua Taku Parai is a longtime member of our club and used to play for us as well. He came and talked to us about it and we had a couple of workshops on it and we’re just using it as a way to bind us more closely to our community.’

If the New Zealand Rugby Union and the Norths Rugby club can display respect for Ngāti Toa by not performing “Ka Mate” in ways that are culturally offensive, so too can early childhood teachers and centre management, nationwide. Likewise, it is worth recalling how, in the aftermath of the earthquake of 22 February 2011, Ngāi Tahu shared their haka “Tahu Pōtiki” with the people of Ōtautahi and New Zealand. This “super haka” helped raise the morale of and funds for people affected by the quakes. Sachdeva (2011) reported that:

Hundreds of people have performed a haka in Christchurch as part of a nationwide event to support the city’s quake-hit community. The super haka … took place in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin at 12.30 pm today. Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and Ngāi Tahu kaiwhakahaere (Chief Executive Officer) Mark Solomon lent their support to the Christchurch event, performing the haka with school pupils, businesses and residents. Parker said the ‘sensational’ haka was a strong show of support for the city’s residents. ‘It’s hard to stay positive all the time, but this is the sort of energy we need.’

If a similar approach to the super haka were adopted by all Waitaha early childhood education centres, in partnership with their local Ngāi Tahu hapū, this would assist Ngāi Tahu efforts to revitalise their tangata whenuatanga. Early childhood kaiako and centre management must recognise that if they misappropriate Māori cultural icons, they will not be meeting the indicators of the tangata whenuatanga competency set by the Ministry of Education (2011). Nor will they be adhering to the principles central to Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996). This lack, in turn, would subvert the intent of the Crown’s principles of partnership, active protection and participation embedded within the principles for Crown action on the Treaty of Waitangi (Hayward, 2009).

Given that so many official guidelines specify that early childhood teachers and centre management are required to “protect” Māori culture, the following whakataukī provides a pertinent close to this chapter. As Mead and Grove (2001, p. 39) propose, this whakataukī suggests that “those who are content with mediocre returns need not be attentive to their work, but those who strive for more desirable goals must ever be alert for possibilities”. It goes:

E moe te mata hī aua, e ara te mata hī tuna.

The mullet-fisher sleeps but the eel catcher is alert.


I would like to acknowledge the following people, who were consulted during the writing of this chapter: Rikiihia Tau (Ngāi Tūāhuriri: kaumātua (elder)), Taku Parai (Ngāti Toa: kaumātua); Te Waari Carkeek (Ngāti Raukawa: tumuaki (manager), Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Raukawa, Ōtaki); Dr Te Maire Tau (Ngāi Tūāhuriri: Director of the Ngāi Tahu Research Centre, University of Canterbury); Lynne-Harata Te Aika (Ngāi Tūāhuriri: Head of School, Aotahi, School of Māori and Indigenous Studies, University of Canterbury); and Professor Angus Macfarlane (Te Arawa: Professor of Māori Research, University of Canterbury).


Ballara, A. (2003). Taua: Musket wars, “land wars” or “tikanga”? Auckland: Penguin Books.

Belich, J. (1996). Making peoples: A history of the New Zealanders from Polynesian settlement to the end of the nineteenth century. Auckland: Allen Lane/The Penguin Press.

Bidwell, H. (2011, 13 June). Norths challenge opponents with Ka Mate haka. Dominion Post. Retrieved from http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/news/5134237/Norths-challenge-opponents-with-Ka-Mate-haka

Collins, H. (2010). Ka mate ka ora!: The spirit of Te Rauparaha. Wellington: Steele Roberts.

Grace, T. H. (1966). Tūwharetoa: A history of the Māori people of the Taupo district. Wellington: A. H. & A. W. Reed.

Hayward, J. (2009). The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (appendix). Retrieved from http://www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz/doclibrary/public/Appendix(99).pdf

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Ministry of Education. (2011). Tātaiako: Cultural competencies for teachers of Māori learners. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Ngāti Toa Rangatira. (2011). Ngāti Toa and the New Zealand Rugby Union enter new era of relationship with Ka Mate. Retrieved from http://www.ngatitoa.iwi.nz/ngati-toa-and-new-zealand-rugby-union-enter-new-era-of-relationship-with-ka-mate/

Sachdeva, S. (2011, 19 May). Hundreds do super haka: Four centres in joint haka. Press. Retrieved from http://www.stuff.co.nz/the press/news/5026314/Hundreds-do-super-haka

Sobel, D. (2004). Place based education: Connecting classrooms and communities. Great Barrington, MA: The Orion Society.

Tau, T. M., & Anderson, A. (2008). Ngāi Tahu: A migration story: The Carrington text. Wellington: Bridget Williams Books.

Te Rauparaha, T. (1980, P. Butler, Ed.). Life and times of Te Rauparaha: By his son Tamihana Te Rauparaha. Wairua, Martinborough: Alister Taylor.

Waitangi Tribunal. (2007). Te tau ihu o te waka a Maui: Te tau ihu customary claims in the statutory Ngāi Tahu Takiwa. Wellington: Legislation Direct.

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Tags: Education