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Three North Island iwi sign partnership with Crown to reshape education for Māori

Three iwi descended on Waihi Village near Tūrangi today to sign a kawenata with the Ministry of Education to realise iwi aspirations for Māori learners along the Waikato awa.

The kawenata (covenant) is between Tūwharetoa, Raukawa and Waikato-Tainui (Ngā Iwi) and the Crown through the Ministry of Education. It will establish a framework for how the ministry will work in partnership with the iwi to develop initiatives, priorities and solutions.

The kawenata sets a precedent for the way the ministry intends to work with Māori.

Treaty-based partnership

Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says the broad aim is to put into action a Treaty-based partnership that will enable active Māori participation in the shaping of education policies and programmes

Davis says, “The ministry is in the process of improving the way it works. Part of its refocus is how it can give better effect to Te Tiriti.

“The ministry has been good at asking Māori for feedback on key issues but often it lacked the ability to change its mindsets, systems, and processes to address those key issues.

“The kawenata will streamline some of the processes, and give Ngā Iwi a seat at the table as partners to influence key policies and initiatives that impact ākonga Māori and their whanau.

“If we want a better system to create better outcomes for Māori, then we have to work hard for this in partnership with iwi, hapū and whānau to determine the best approach, and create the right solutions.”

 Māori education strategies

Davis says this partnership will also give effect to Ka Hikitia and Tau Mai Te Reo, the recently updated Māori education strategies.

“Last year I relaunched Ka Hikitia and Tau Mai te Reo, which outline the actions the Ministry of Education and education agencies will undertake to enable Māori to succeed in education as Māori.”

Davis says, “This Kawenata is a great starting point. We look forward to working with Iwi to address the issues together. Iwi will keep us accountable to these outcomes.”