He Kura Mäori, he Kura Hähi
Matthews, Nathan (2005) He Kura Mäori, he Kura Hähi. In: World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, 27 Nov - 1 Dec 2005, Hamilton, Aotearoa/New Zealand.
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Church initiated and operated Mäori secondary boarding schools have existed in Aotearoa in various forms since the arrival of the missionaries in the early 19th century. Unfortunately, these schools have contributed to the colonization process, as they have in many other parts of the world, accelerating assimilation of the Indigenous people and the rapid decline of the Indigenous language, in this case, te reo Mäori (Mäori language). One of the Church boarding schools primary roles in Aotearoa is to act as a vehicle for the proliferation of Christian beliefs. As a result many educationalists have proposed that the “civilizing” intentions of the missionaries was to colonise Mäori children. However, I propose that the amalgamation of both the Church schools and Mäori communities created a hybrid of Mäori culture; a Mäori Catholic culture. As a result I propose that these schools, since their inception, have contributed significantly to the development of Mäori society, particularly in the production of dynamic Mäori leaders who have had a compelling influence on their Mäori communities and Mäori society and in some instances on the nation state. Therefore, this paper will examine the development of Mäori leadership within the Church secondary boarding schools. It will discuss the way in which these schools have, or have not, responded to the constantly changing social and political conditions, in which they exist. The ability to respond to these changes determines the type of leadership that is produced and how effective it is. Hato Paora College, a Catholic Mäori boy’s school in Feilding, will be used as an example of this type of schooling. The way in which it has attempted to adapt to meet the social, educational and cultural needs, of its students and their communities in producing effective Mäori leaders will be reviewed.
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