Leading schooling in Aotearoa New Zealand: Understanding and supporting the weight of culture for Māori teachers


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Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice

New Zealand Educational Administration and Leadership Society

Subject: Education


ISSN: 1178-8690





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VOLUME 33 , ISSUE 2 (December 2018) > List of articles

Leading schooling in Aotearoa New Zealand: Understanding and supporting the weight of culture for Māori teachers

Toni Torepe / Angus Hikairo Macfarlane / Sonja Macfarlane / Jo Fletcher / Richard Manning

Keywords : Māori teachers; leadership; principals; culturally responsive practices; schooling in Aotearoa New Zealand; school ethos

Citation Information : Journal of Educational Leadership, Policy and Practice. Volume 33, Issue 2, Pages 48-59, DOI: https://doi.org/10.21307/jelpp-2018-012

License : (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

Published Online: 02-April-2019



Leading schools in Aotearoa New Zealand is a critical role. In a bicultural country, a key aspect of this role is developing a school ethos where culturally responsive practices are strongly embedded. Frequently, this is considered in light of the tamariki and rangatahi and their whānau within the wider school community. However, an area where there is a dearth of research is the experiences of Māori teachers working in mainstream schooling. This article focuses on the lived realities of six Māori teachers who completed a graduate qualification in immersion and bilingual teaching in Māori, and returned to their respective schools. The research consisted of the collection and analysis of a detailed written questionnaire and semi-structured interviews with the Māori teachers. The research found that the additional professional and cultural tasks and responsibilities that this group of Māori teachers undertook often went unrecognised financially or otherwise by their employers and fellow colleagues. These Māori teachers felt they were “culturally obliged” to tautoko the students they serve and to support their schools’ respective Māori communities.

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