National | Education

Haka used to encourage Tāmaki truants to come back to school

Tāmaki Makaurau is determined to get its kids back to school and its latest way to do so is Mauri Tauira, a kaupapa features kaikorero and live entertainment to motivate rangatahi Māori to use haka as a creative outlet in school.

This free one-day kaupapa was created by the Ministry of Education Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland Live, Hawaiki TU, Taumata Kōrero and Ira Dot.

One enthusiast participant is Tahinga o Te Rā Hunia, a student from Ngā Puna o Waiorea, Western Springs College, who believes kapa haka enables him to stay connected to his culture and motivates him to go to class to pursue his academic goals.

Hunia hopes this kind of gathering will take place more frequently "as it has been an awesome experience for all rangatahi in Tāmaki Makaurau.

“I love kapa haka. It is the main reason why I choose to attend Ngā Puna o Waiorea. It is the best way possible to understand my reo, my culture and who I am as Māori and it is the easiest way for me and my mates to understand and learn in school”.

Taumata kōrero Hurimoana Dennis (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungungu, Rongowhaakata)says this kaupapa exists to support rangatahi and whānau Māori who need extra help going back to kura "so we use a positive wraparound approach to help navigate the current challenges.

Keeping kids in kura

“We need to get our tauira Māori back to stay in kura. We are hoping that whānau can come and talk directly with kaimahi Māori who can help the future of our rangatahi.”

Ira Dot Pouarataki Rangimarie Hunia (Ngāti Whātua) says it has taken only one month to organise today’s kaupapa.

She says even though they had little time to plan and execute Mauri Tauira, it was the kaupapa which motivated the importance of it that made this day possible.

“Today is the day to acknowledge our tamariki, our rangatahi, our teachers and all our schools in Tāmaki Makaurau. It’s about not just rangatahi but also the teachers who inspire our tamariki,  to pursue their academic endeavours.”

Te Ahiwaru Trust education director Davika Wilson (Ngāi Tai and Ngāti Porou) encourages rangatahi to attend schools by creating a sign-in form for kids to write their ideas and reasons why they don’t go to kura.

Wilson says the number of students attending school is decreasing by the day and most of the rangatahi blame it on Covid-19 and the lack of support in the classrooms.

“It’s time for us to listen to our rangatahi and understand the main and true meaning of the non-attendance. We expect them to listen to us but why not the other way around? We need to start doing something and making the necessary changes needed for our kids."

Te Rito