National | Early Learning Centres

Racism and inequity target of new project to 'accelerate' Māori student achievement

Members of the Mātanga Panel for Te Hurihanganui.  Professor Berryman is third from left.  Photo / Supplied

A new community-led kaupapa to address racism and inequity in schools and early learning centres has been developed by Māori for Māori, Professor Mere Berryman of the University of Waikato said in a statement today.

The purpose of the initiative, known as Te Hurihanganui, is to accelerate Māori student achievement and wellbeing.

“Te Hurihanganui is about mobilising communities. It acknowledges that addressing racism and inequity is everybody’s responsibility, and that ākonga, whānau, hapū, iwi and home communities have as much of a role to play as early learning centres, schools and government policy makers,” Professor Berryman (Ngāi Tūhoe, Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Whare) said.

“We will work with mana whenua to design responses with schools and centres that are localised, new and focused on the potential of tamariki mokopuna, rangatahi and whānau.”

Te Hurihanganui aims to work with iwi, mana whenua, whānau, schools and centres to address racism and accelerate outcomes for ākonga Māori (learners) in six communities nationally. This work is expected to inform and support transformation across the wider education system.

The University of Waikato has partnered with the Ministry of Education to deliver the kaupapa which is to be Māori led.

Professor Berryman is chair of the mātanga panel which developed the blueprint for the kaupapa. The panel has expertise spanning the whole education sector, the statement says.

Panel members include Emeritus Professor Wally Penetito (Ngāti Haua, Ngāi Raukawa and Ngāti Tamaterā), Jim Peters (Ngāti Wai, Ngāti Hine, Ngā Puhi and Clan McInnes), Professor Bobbie Hunter (Manihiki, Aitutaki), Dr Lesley Rameka (Ngāti Raukawa and Ngāti Tukorehe), Whetu Cormick (Ngāti Raukawa ki Wharepuhunga), Daniel Murfitt (Ngāti Pākehā), Therese Ford (Ngāi Takoto), Hurae White (Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Pikiao and Ngāti Ruahikihiki) and Te Waipounamu Teinakore (Waikato Tainui and Ngāti Hauā).

Implementation of Te Hurihanganui has already begun and will continue through to 2023.

In February 2020, Professor Berryman expressed frustration that the blueprint for tackling education's racism had not been implemented after eight months.