Maori Principals

Te Akatea - Māori Principals

Te Akatea (New Zealand Māori Principals) speak on all Māori Education issues. Māori Education is the education of Māori, for Māori, sometimes in Māori, often about Māori but always to the benefit of all Māori and non-Māori alike.

More than Ninety five per cent of Māori students are in main stream school settings and Te Akatea will enhance the educational opportunities of all Mãori learners, regardless of the setting.

Te Akatea Objectives

- To actively promote and advance te reo me ona tikanga;

- Uphold Te Tiriti o Waitangi – He Whakapuntanga,  Tino Rangatiratanga& Mana motuhake

- Proactively advance the cause of Māori Education

- Respond to the needs of its members collectively in Māori Education

- Promote the development of Māori professional leadership and management

- Represent the unique interest of Te Akatea members in Māori Education; maintain a liaison with kindred organisations, and whānau within Māori Education;

Manukura/ President

I am part of a national Executive team that is made up of seven tumuaki Māori. Alongside myself the team includes Vice President, Stacey Honeywill (Te Pākihio Maru), Secretary, Tracy Fraser (Tauhara Primary School), Denise Marshall (TeWharekura o Maniapoto), Maurice Rehu (Irongate School), Lucy Te Moana (Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Māngere) and Rubina Charman (Nawton Primary School). All of the Executive members are full time tumuaki in their respective kura, which means that they undertake the work of the Executive as volunteers, in addition to their principal responsibilities. The Executive also hold leadership roles within their respective principal associations and nationally as representatives for Te Akatea. These responsibilities are significant and require specific leadership skills and management capability. I want to acknowledge and mihi to each of our Executive members and to the Boards ofTrustees who enable them to be in the Executive team and uphold the mana of Te Akatea. I also acknowledge the significant contributions over time of all whom have served as  members of the

Te Akatea Executive

Since taking up the role of President, I have been provided with cultural and academic support from a range of rangatira. I am grateful for their mentorship and the commitment they have to our Executive. As an association we are privileged to be guided by the wisdom of Distinguished Professor Graham Hingangaroa Smith. Ngā mihi nui e te rangatira - we recognise and greatly appreciate the invaluable advice you provide and the ongoing investment you make in our Executive and the wider whānau of Te Akatea.

The whakatauki that frames the future …………resonates with the notion of constitutional change and development which has been a major theme for the mahi myself and the Executive have engaged in throughout 2022. The kōrero that we have and the decisions we make in throughout  2023 will impact the shape of our organisation as we head into the future. In light of this it is useful to consider our past and our present.

As tumuaki Māori we are called to lead and serve our people in ways that non-Māori principals do not understand and are not required to do. While this calling is a privilege, there are complexities that come with leading in both Māori and English- medium kura within an education system that has underserved Māori for over 150 years.

The education context

A research report published in 2020 by Tokona Te Raki, acknowledges that historical education policies created and have maintained a Māori economic underclass. As a consequence, many of our people have struggled to engage in employment pathways that have enabled them to counter intergenerational cycles of disadvantage and poverty. Eruera Tarena from Tokona Te Raki suggests that this stark economic divide between Māori and non-Māori stems from racist ideas that view Māori as labourers, not leaders. Māori as labourers, not leaders is a notion that many of us Māori leaders would be familiar with.

Inequities for Māori across the system were endemic prior to 2020, and Covid 19 has only exacerbated disparities. Our ākonga Māori do not achieve at the same levels and leave school earlier than their non-Māori counterparts. They also have higher rates of suspensions, stand-downs, expulsions and exclusions. Attendance rates for ākonga Māori have been a concern for decades however, post-2020 we have seen a significant decline in the number of our tamariki attending school regularly. As tumuaki Māori we work hard to manage and respond to these challenges everyday and at times this impacts negatively on our well-being.

The Te Akatea Executive wants to have a positive impact that changes the evidence of inequity. We have used this evidence to ask questions of the Ministry of Education and to advocate for the pastoral care of tumuaki Māori. We have also used this evidence to reinforce our expectations that the education system develop and ultimately improve its performance for Māori. This advocacy and these expectations have meant that Te Akatea has progressively increased its organisational profile and therefore our influence across the system.

Our organisational influence
In 2022 the increased profile of Te Akatea was evident in the way thatExecutive members were represented in key organisations and important system initiatives. These include the following:

Rangahau Mātauranga o Aotearoa: The New Zealand Council of Educational Research Board co-opted me on to the Board. My role is to represent a wide cross section of education interests, help identify key educational issues and stakeholder needs and provide strategic Māori focus for NZCER.

NZSTA E Tipu e Rea: Te Akatea engages in regular and ongoing hui with the New Zealand School Trustees Association President, CEO and key Executives. This collaboration and relationship is growing from strength to strength and continues to promote governance provision and employment advice which helps Boards of Trustees to do the very best for Māori tamariki, whānau, hapū and iwi.

NZEI Te Riu Roa: A strong relationship continues to be nurtured between NZEI and Te Akatea. Engagement occurs at the President level and reflects a rangatira to rangatira relationship. Te Akatea tautoko Te Reo Areare who are the Māori governance body that sits parallel with the National Executive. Maurice Rehu represents Te Akatea on Te Riu Roa NZEI Principals Council and the NZEI Principals Negotiating Team.

Professional Learning andDevelopment: The Māori Achievement Collaborative’s PLD team continues to support leaders to become great leaders across Aotearoa. The Huia Kaimanawa PLD team launched two leadership programmes in 2022 (Māori First-time Principals and Emerging Māori Leaders) and welcomed the second cohort of kaiuru (participants) at Waitangi in January 2023.

Te Mātaiaho New Zealand Curriculum Refresh: Members of the Executive are represented in advisory roles on both the national curriculum working group and the local curriculum focus group.

Education Review Office Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga: A recent Education Review Office analysis indicates that 97% of ākonga Māori attend English- medium learning settings, which is significant.Other ongoing research being undertaken by ERO is also useful for Te Akatea to understand in order to enact evidence-based responses that support the well-being of tumuaki Māori and other Māori leaders. Te Akatea is working closely with ERO to foster an interchangeable relationship where we are both advising each other and receiving advice from one other. One example of this collaboration is the launch of Poutama Reo: The Improvement Journey - a framework to support te reo Māori in English-medium schools. I have also been invited to contribute to an expert advisory group that will explore pathways, professional learning and support for new principals who are seeking to enter principalship.

Te Tāhuhu o te MātaurangaWorking Group Advisory: At various times through out the year new initiatives, updates and ‘refresh’ work streams surface. Te Akatea provides advice alongside other ‘Peak Bodies’ and other expert organisations to ensure development reflects and responds to Māori needs.

N4L Leadership Advisory: Network for Learning focuses on providing faster, safer internet for Aotearoa schools and kura. Within this advisory group, Te Akatea, alongside other education leaders, challenge thinking and provide advice on company strategy centred on the needs of Māori in the education sector as a whole.

Hapū and Iwi Relationships: In 2022 and at the beginning of 2023 the Executive travelled to different rohe to hui with various hapū and iwi leaders. To date we have metwith Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahangungu, Ngāi Tahu, Tūwharetoa and Rongowhakaata. These hui have provided important opportunities for Te Akatea to hear the voices and aspirations of iwi and for iwi to hear about the mahi we do to support Māori leaders across Aotearoa. This relationship building is important and will be ongoing as we collaboratively find ways to support Māori leadersand advance our people. Ngāpuhi iwi leaders in particular have been very complimentary about Te Akatea’s commitment to understand and give active expression to He Wakaputanga o te Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni and Te Tiriti oWaitangi.

PEC: Te Akatea is contributing to the development of thePrincipal Eligibility Criteria. We will seek the perspectives of our membership and we will also be engaging with hapū and iwi leaders to inform our contribution.

Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand: Te Akatea continues to enjoy a mutually supportive relationship with the Teaching Council. We are invited to contribute our advice in various forums and we also hosted members of the Teaching Council at a wānanga in 2022.

New Zealand Principals’ Federation: Tracy Fraser represents Te Akatea  on the NZPF Executive in 2023. It is important to maintain the close connections that we continue to foster between our organisations.

NATSIPA: In 2022, Executive members and members from Huia Kaimanawa delivered keynote presentations and workshops at the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Principals’ Association conference in Sydney. Te Akatea will host NATSIPA in Aotearoa in 2024 and we are looking forward to strengthening our relationships with our indigenous colleagues throughout Aotearoa.

University of Auckland: The University of Auckland is engaged in the process of developing a National Centre for EducationalLeadership. Te Akatea Executive members are contributing to the establishment of this centre alongside other peak body representatives. We recognise the important opportunity this represents for principals to finally have a direct influence on principals’ own professional learning and development.

Pou Arataki COVID response advisory: Te Akatea plays an important role in contributing to this response initiative through providing a Te Ao Māori perspective to the advisory panel.

Peak Bodies: This group of organisations represents a range of educational interests and perspectives. Te Akatea continues to work with the Peak Bodies to understand how we can collaborate in ways that benefit our people.

SPANZ: An emerging relationship between Te Akatea and theSecondary Principals Association of New Zealand was strengthened through our participation in the 2021-2022 SPANZ conference. The increase in numbers of Māori within leadership roles in the secondary school sector is very positive and indicates that we have opportunities to considerably increase the number of tumuaki Māori in secondary schools.

Secondary QualificationsAdvisory Group: Te Akatea continues to provide advice focused on improving Māori student learning outcomes, suitable credentialed achievement of qualification pathways and developing transitions through secondary into tertiary education or other post-school pathways.

Engagement with SeniorMinisterial Officials: In 2022 Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis requested a hui with Te Akatea and asked to be updated on our organisational developments. As a result of this hui, Minister Davis advised the Ministry of Education that he recognises Te Akatea as an important organisation that provides advice on Māori education and leadership development. The Executive have also met with Minister Jan Tinetti since she became the Minister of Education, and we anticipate ongoing, regular hui.

Iona Holsted, the Secretary of Education prioritised regular hui with Te Akatea throughout 2021 and 2022. Through these ongoing conversations Iona recognised the significant contribution that Te Akatea was making to the development of Māori education and supported a term of secondment for the President. This secondment acknowledges the support that Te Akatea provides to tumuaki Māori, and enables advice to be provided consistently in various advisory groups in order to make education more relevant and meaningful for our people.

The Executive recognises that in in creasing our organisational profile we have increased where and how we are represented in and with the Ministry of Education. We understand that this might pose a point of tension for some members so it is important to clarify that our role in the Ministry of Education forums and in all forums, is to centre the voices of tumuaki Māori and ensure that our contributions enhance their well-being.



Understanding ourselves

As well as asking the Ministry of Education questions about the performance of the system, as an Executive we also ask ourselves questions about our own performance and the performance of our organisation. The questions we ask ourselves emerge from our increased engagement in the contexts and conversations as detailed above.

We have been inspired by the future-focused research of Tokona Te Raki and the words of Eruera Tarena. Pandemics and recessions are transformational because recessions in particular, accelerate the pace of change and bring what is on the horizon closer. Tokona Te Raki research insights highlight the importance of human qualities such as human connection, teamwork, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. These are all qualities where Māori excel which means the future is not just human, it is Māori. There are strong connections between the findings of this research and the evidence that we have gathered over the past two years, particularly the themes and values that emerged from our Te Akatea survey.

The Te Akatea Executive would therefore agree with Eruera - the future is Māori!

Strategic Relations

Te Akatea

New Zealand Māori

Principals’ Association

Contact: Bruce Jepsen
PO Box 8039
Whangarei 0112

© 2022 Te Akatea New Zealand Māori Principals’ Association