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  • Rights: The University of Waikato Te Whare Wānanga o Waikato
    Published 28 June 2018, Updated 2 July 2018 Referencing Hub media

    Parents at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti discuss the value the Ahi Pepe MothNet project has added to students’ learning. Of particular value is the opportunity to engage in science with a mātauranga Māori lens.



    When I reflect on my own education, which was mainstream, science wasn’t a strength for me. There wasn’t a lot of things that drew me into that field. However, being part of the kura and looking at science through a Māori lens, things made a lot more sense.

    Through that connection then obviously being involved with the project as a parent, I could see that this was a platform for us to be able to engage in science with a mātauranga Māori lens, but also to show the links that are there with Western knowledge and to be able to articulate ourselves both from an indigenous perspective but also scientifically.


    It’s really important to us that our children get the best-quality education that they can, not only in English but also in te reo. There’s not a lot of Māori who take up science as a tertiary educational pathway, and yet when we look at all the different levels of the country where Māori are talking and want to be positioned in, we need scientists around all sorts of kaupapa or topics. And so it was really important to not just myself but a lot of the families here that all our children here get quality exposure and experiences to as many different kaupapa as we can. And we wanted science to be one of the ones that really, sort of, inspires and ignites a passion for learning amongst our kids at this kura and at this level of education, because we know that, in high schools, that’s where we’re losing the grasp of our young people wanting to carry on in science. And the fact that we have quite a lot of boys here is also another big push for us to want to have boys who like and enjoy science.


    I mua i tēnei kaupapa Ahi Pepe e ngākau nui ana ahau i te pangarau engari nā te whanaketanga o tōku māramatanga e rata ana ahau ki te pūtaiao hoki.

    (Before this Ahi Pepe project, I really loved maths, but from my learning and understanding, I also really enjoy science too.)


    It’s impacted Moka in that he can now educate people. I noticed when we were at a family gathering that he was talking to his younger cousin, who is just a year younger, all about moths, and did you know this and did you know that? And so he’s been able to not just educate himself, he’s educating our family, his aunties and uncles, myself. It’s also, what I’ve seen is it’s given him some, another reason to understand that the Māori world is not just here at the kura kaupapa – the Māori world is everywhere you go – and you can make relevance to every other part of society. He really likes science things now. I’ve seen it not just in Muka, but all of the children in the project can articulate quite well what they’ve learned.


    We’re only a little group of people, and we can’t make a big difference. But if we explain to everyone else how moths are important, we could make a big change.

    Dr Barbara Anderson
    Dr Robert Hoare
    Victoria Campbell
    Marcia Cassidy
    The tamariki of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ōtepoti
    Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research
    Orokonui Ecosanctuary

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