He Konohi Kainukere: An Exploration into the Factors that Encourage Retention in Senior Te Reo Maori Programmes in English Medium Secondary Schools in Waitaha, Canterbury.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
During the 1960’s Maori concerned about the state of te reo Maori lobbied the government to have te reo Maori included as a teaching subject in the New Zealand curriculum. In the early 1970’s they reaped the rewards of their hard fought efforts when te reo Maori became a taught subject in the New Zealand curriculum. However, even with te reo being taught in English medium schools, its use was still in decline creating even more anxiety about its survival. In the 1980’s Maori took the matter into their own hands and the birth of Maori medium early childhood education centres named Kohanga Reo (Language Nests) was the result. Shortly afterwards Maori medium primary schools (Kura Kaupapa Maori) emerged followed by Maori medium secondary schools (Wharekura). There was a ground swell of support for these community driven initiatives and it seemed te reo Maori would be returned from the brink of extinction. Even given the emergence of Maori medium educational facilities including Wananga (Tertiary Institutes), the majority of Maori students have remained in English medium education. After a respite of about twenty years it would seem that te reo Maori is once again on the decline. For many years kaiako reo Maori (Maori language teachers) in English medium secondary schools have grappled with the issue of high attrition rates from their senior te reo Maori programmes. This is a significant issue as 85 percent of akonga Maori (Maori students) still participate in the English medium education system. However this problem plagues not only akonga Maori but also those who are non Maori. Te reo Maori programmes in mainstream New Zealand schools are offered to akonga as optional subjects. While retention is relatively unproblematic for akonga in the junior levels of secondary schools (ages 13 to 14), it becomes a significant issue in the senior levels (ages 15 to 18) where attrition rates are considerably high. This research attempts to identify the factors that contribute to the high rates of attrition and offers some possible solutions to decreasing attrition rates amongst akonga reo Maori.