All school leaders and teachers in New Zealand are expected to understand the principles that underpin Ka Hikitia and to work toward the central vision of this strategy.
However, from discussions with school leaders involved in Kia Eke Panuku: Building on Success, a professional development school reform initiative to raise Māori student achievement, it was evident that the phrase “enjoying and achieving success as Māori” has been the catalyst for many new discussions within schools.
Therefore, as part of the ongoing critical inquiry to gain a better understanding of what is meant by ‘success as Māori’, the Kia Eke Panuku team asked a number of people for their understanding of the Ka Hikitia phrase. We began with a group of Māori and non-Māori academic and education experts. This group included:
- Distinguished Professor Graham Smith
- Professor Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal
- Professor Wally Penetito
- Associate Professor Margie Hohepa
- Professor Janice Wearmouth
- Professor Carolyn Shields
- Professor Lorna Earl
- New Zealand School Trustees Association – Lorraine Kerr
- Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand – Elizabeth Forgie.
At their first meeting, members of this group sought to understand the vision of Ka Hikitia and how their advice might effectively support Kia Eke Panuku schools in these endeavours.
The group concluded that while a definitive answer was not what they should be promoting, it could be useful to provide a set of ideas as starting points for deep reflection and on-going sense making. To this end they proposed some thoughts on what success as Māori might look like and agreed to have their ideas put on a chart. Māori speakers within the Kia Eke Panuku team then added Māori metaphors and words to the original ideas.
Kia Eke Panuku then facilitated a series of Hui Whakaako with "successful" senior Māori students as identified by their schools. The purpose of these hui was to give Māori students an opportunity to share their successes, how they had been supported in their own success and how they viewed "success as Māori". Their voices provide us with an opportunity to understand what "enjoying and achieving success as Māori" means from the perspectives of these students, and what the implications are for educators, other students, their families and communities.