Aotearoa has a new tumuaki (principal) professional development programme, Whakangungu Tumuaki, to help new principals to excel in our unique indigenous education system.
That’s according to programme director Rawiri Wright (left), who is of Te Arawa, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Raukawa descent.
The programme was initiated, designed and is delivered by Te Rūnanganui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa with support from Te Uepū Reo Māori in the Ministry of Education.
Unique Māori programme
Rawiri says that Kura Kaupapa Māori whānau nationwide had been calling for a unique Māori programme for many years as other principal development programmes on offer had nothing Māori about them and were counter-productive to many aspects of kaupapa Māori education.
The programme is specifically for new or near-new Kura Kaupapa Māori Aho Matua tumuaki and covers everything they need to know, from preparing budgets to managing monthly and annual finances, doing strategic plans, writing official reports, managing staffing matters and conciliating matters of conflict.
Most importantly, everything is delivered from a kaupapa Māori, indigenous world view and is based on the guiding philosophy of Kura Kaupapa Māori, Te Aho Matua.
It is that aspect that makes the Whakangungu Tumuaki programme unique.
“Nothing else in the country comes close to it,” says Rawiri.
“The design, approach and delivery of the programme is, we believe, something that will resonate with indigenous educators around the globe. It’s a potential world leader in indigenous education.
“It is about empowering leaders in education settings to be the absolute best they can, in terms of the profession itself, but also in terms of their specific cultural, linguistic, political, spiritual and economic setting.”
Rawiri says the programme is inspired by the freedom education ideology of the likes of Paolo Freire and the original Te Aho Matua Working Party, who are credited with the establishment of the Kura Kaupapa Māori movement.
“The programme is also about helping tumuaki shake off the shackles of colonisation and colonialisation, and adopting a tino rangatiratanga or self-determination approach to managing their kura,” adds Rawiri.
In 2018, the opportunity arose to submit a programme outline to the Ministry of Education for consideration.
“To their credit, the programme and subsequent funding was made available for 2019,” says Rawiri. “Ka nui a mātou mihi ki a rātou!”
A 36-week pilot programme was run throughout 2019 for 10 new or relatively new Kura Kaupapa Māori Aho Matua tumuaki from throughout Aotearoa, including four from Te Waka a Māui, says Rawiri.
“It was such a success, we have decided to continue the programme for another year for the first cohort and have added another cohort for the next two years,” he adds.
“We’ve refined the programme and changed the format based on participant feedback and we think we now have the right mix that will benefit these new tumuaki to be more effective and more confident more quickly.”
Upskilling and growth
Rawiri says the aim is to run cohorts of eight to 10 tumuaki for the next six to eight years.
“We anticipate that will give us the opportunity to upskill all our new and near-new tumuaki currently working in our kura, and to also start growing a new crop of likely tumuaki ready to step up.
“We are hopeful there will soon be a surge in the number and size of Kura Kaupapa Māori Aho Matua nationally and we need to be ready for that,” says Rawiri.
“The other matter, of course, is to grow more Kura Kaupapa Māori Aho Matua kaiako. We’re working on that through our joint venture programme with Massey University, but we know that needs to be ramped up also.
“So let’s just say, watch this space!”
This article has been reproduced with the kind permission of the Education Gazette.