Ron Bull explores what bicultural education looks like.

Recent significant events, such as the Christchurch earthquakes and COVID-19 lockdowns, have provided an opportunity for New Zealanders to consider who we are, what defines us, and who we want to be. Ron Bull, Tumuaki Whakaako at Otago Polytechnic, points out that two things make us unique – this place, and the relationship between Māori and other New Zealanders. Across Aotearoa New Zealand we are experiencing social change as we come to terms with what it means to be bicultural.

Ron’s role is to embed mātauranga Maori into curriculum at Otago Polytechnic and kaupapa Māori principles into our learning environment. He describes the concept of ako, reciprocal learning and teaching, as incorporating four elements:

  1. Participants – The person giving knowledge has to be the appropriate person, a specialist in that knowledge area, but the person receiving knowledge also has to be the right person to receive it. “Back in the day” knowledge was not commoditised, available to anyone who could pay for it, but was a common good.
  2. Content – In the Māori world knowledge was communicated in small bites, with the right content at the time that was right for the recipient. Knowledge was built up in a structured way that was highly personalised to the recipient.
  3. Context – Knowledge is communicated in a context, dependent on where the learner and teacher were and what they were doing together at the time. Knowledge doesn't sit in a vacuum, it is contextualised.
  4. Growth – When the learner overtakes the teacher, light comes into the world. The goal is to grow the knowledge, not just for the learner’s development but for the learner to pass it on to someone else. Knowledge isn't static.

For some subjects, such as computer programming perhaps, mātauranga Māori may be less relevant, but kaupapa Māori will redefine the way in which education is delivered – with learners, rather than to or for them. This is what it means to be a responsive Treaty partner. The social changes that are taking place, and the merger of polytechnics within Te Pūkenga, provide an opportunity to develop a bicultural model for education that incorporates both "western" and Māori narratives, fusing the best of both in a way that will successfully address inequities.


E torohē ana a Ron Bull i ngā momo rerekē o te mātauranga kākano rua.

Nā ētahi taiopenga inā tata nei, arā ko ngā rū whenua ki Ōtautahi, ko ngā rāhui Mate Korona, i whakaputahia mai tētahi kōwhiringa mō ngā tāngata o Aotearoa kia whaiwhakaaro, ko wai mātou, he aha ngā mea i tautuhi anō i a mātou, e hiahia ana mātou kia tū pēhea nei. E ai ki a Ron Bull, ko te Tumuaki Whakaako ki Te Kura Matatini ki Otago, e rua ngā mea kia tūhāhā ai mātou – ko te wāhi, ko te hononga i waenganui i ngāi Māori, i ngā tauiwi o Aotearoa hoki. Kei Aotearoa whānui, ka wheako mātou i ngā panoni pāpori i a mātou e whai atu i te tikanga o te tū kākano rua.

Ko te tūranga o Ron kia whakaū i te mātauranga Māori ki roto i te marautanga ki Te Kura Mātatini ki Otago, i ngā whanonga kaupapa Māori ki roto i te ao akoranga hoki. Ki tōna whakaaro, e whā ngā wāhanga o te kaupapa ako:

  1.  Ngā kaiwhakauru – Me tika te tangata e tuku atu ana i te mātauranga, he mātanga i taua wāhi mātauranga, heoi, me tika hoki te tangata e whiwhi ana i te mātauranga. Kāore he utu mō ngā mātauranga o mua mō rātou i taea ai te hoko, mā te katoa kē.
  2. Te kiko – I te ao Māori, i te paku whakawhiti mātauranga, ko te kiko tika i te wā tika mō te kaiwhiwhi. Ka whakarite tika, whakarite ā-whaiaro i te mātauranga mō te kaiwhiwhi.
  3. Te horopaki – Ka whakawhiti mātauranga i tētahi horopaki e hāngai ana ki te wāhi, ki te mahi hoki a te kaiako me te ākonga i taua wā. Kāore te mātauranga i te noho taratahi, ka whakahoropaki kē.
  4. Te whakatipuranga – Ka pahika te ākonga i te kaiako, ka puta ko te ao mārama. Ko te whāinga, ko te whakatipu mātauranga, ehara mā te whakatipuranga o te ākonga kia tuku atu anō ki tētahi atu. Ehara te mātauranga i te whakaroau.

Mō ētahi kaupapa ako, arā ko te papatono rorohiko pea, kāore i te tino hono pea ki te mātauranga Māori, engari ka tautuhi anō te kaupapa Māori i te tuku akoranga, i te taha o ngā ākonga, engari anō te tuku ki a rātou, mō rātou rānei. Koia rā te tikanga kia tū hei hoa Tiriti. Ko ngā panoni pāpori i puta, ko te whakatōpūtanga o ngā kuratini ki Te Pūkenga, e whakaputa ana i tētahi kōwhiringa kia whakatipu i tētahi tauira kākano rua mō te ao mātauranga e whakauru nei i ngā pūrākau Pākehā, i ngā pūrākau Māori hoki, e whakatōpū ana i ngā mea pai rawa o ia momo hei aro pai ki ngā manarite-kore.

May 2022