He Kumete Körero: An Adult Maori Literacy Study in Aotearoa (New Zealand)

By:
Sen Hi Wong,
Ngapare Hopa,
Te Kohu Douglas,
Kataraina Nock
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According to Western methods of measuring literacy levels of adult Maori are low (Adult Literacy in New Zealand, Ministry of Education, 1997). Because New Zealand society is based largely on the written word in English, this condition inhibits many Maori from participating fully in civil society and in the knowledge economy.

The New Zealand data from the 1996 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) found that between 69 and 72 percent of Maori and Pacific Island performed at levels that are inadequate for everyday work and life in a developed society. Recent literacy literature highlights the importance of skills embedded in traditional oral cultures and the implications these skills have on teaching and learning (Ong, 1982, 2003; Gee, 1989, 2003).

In the light of a changing knowledge environment and search by Maori for alternative approaches that actually acknowledge their own knowledge-base and teaching methods, our research seeks to find: What Maori understand the 'literacy kete' (knowledge basket) to contain?; Which of these understandings related to the kete have shaped Maori life experiences?; What are the best practices in the development of Maori specific pedagogies, i.e. methodologies of learning that suit Maori and are driven by them?

In this presentation we will also discuss in depth some of the implications the research findings will have on Maori adults in vocational and higher education, work place situations and life-long learning.


Keywords: Maori, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Adult Literacy, Knowledge basket,, Life-long learning, Life-experiences, Alternative Pedagogy, Participatory listening, Elders, focus group methodology
Stream: Adult, Vocational, Tertiary and Professional Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Sen Hi Wong

Research Liaison Manager, Research, Aotearoa Business School, Te Wananga o Aotearoa
New Zealand

Sen is the Liaison Manager at Te Wananga o Aotearoa, based at Aotearoa Business School. She has been involved in funding applications for early childhood, library resources, programme development and research. As an associate investigator, she co-ordinates the He Kumete Körero Maori Adult Literacy Study funded by Nga Pae o te Maramatanga Centre of Research Excellence and Trust Waikato. Her academic background is in science and education with recent studies in an Executive Programme in Business Studies. Her research experience is diverse with special interests in environment management and education psychology. More over she has hand-on experience with businesses. She believes that everyone has the ability to learn and succeed and Aotearoa Business School provides relevant programmes for everyday life.

Ngapare Hopa

Director, Project Leader, Aotearoa Business School, Te Wananga o Aotearoa
New Zealand

She is called Whaea by students and staff of ABS and TWOA. A graduate of Auckland University, New Zealand and Oxford University, England, Ngapare has a long history of teaching and research both at home and abroad. She spent almost 20 years teaching in the California State University System before returning to New Zealand in 1986. After retiring from the Headship of the Department of Maori Studies at Auckland University in 2001, she joined TWOA early in 2002 and toward the end of that year, assumed the directorship of ABS. She has ever since been dedicated not simply to education but to education for Maori Economic and Business Advancement. The current and future offerings are testimony to these goals. Her whakapapa includes Tuwharetoa, Tainui and Taranaki tupuna.

Te Kohu Douglas

Senior Lecturer/Researcher, Aotearoa, Te Wananga o Aotearoa
New Zealand

Te Kohu is of Kaitahu and Kati Mamoe descent. He is a trained Sociologist and Demographer and long been an advocate for the disadvantaged and underprivileged wherever they reside. His distinguished teaching career spans several decades and campuses. He also has an impressive record of research and publications including the most recent, an associate investigator for Nga Pae o te Maramatanga, CORE, Auckland University. Since 2000 he has taught on a part-time basis, a course called Mana Whenua for the Department of Property, Auckland University. In 2003 he joined ABS as coordinator of the Foundation Certificate in Business Studies (FCB) and lecturer for the Bachelor of Business Administration's module, The NZ Business Environment. To add to his talents and interests, he is a Trustee of F.I.R.S.T. which beginning in 2000 has been organising wananga around issues confronting indigenous peoples at home and abroad. Te Kohu brings to ABS a great wealth of educative experience, research, advocacy, mentoring and knowledge of the pastoral care most students need.

Kataraina Nock

Senior Lecturer/Researcher, Aotearoa Business School, Te Wananga o Aotearoa
New Zealand


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