Associate Professor Huia Tomlins Jahnke


Unique degree to boost Māori language teaching

A new four-year Māori immersion teaching degree will help to fill a critical shortage of expert Te Reo teachers and help halt the decline of the language, says Massey University Associate Professor Huia Tomlins Jahnke, who led the development of the course.
On Tuesday at Te Kupenga o te Mātauranga marae at the Manawatu campus Hokowhitu site, the University will welcome 27 new first-year students and their whanau to its intense Māori immersion teaching course, Te Aho Tātairangi, the only course of its kind in New Zealand.

Dr Jahnke, who heads the University's School of Māori Education, says the redesigned and extended course aimed to supply 200 Maori immersion graduates into the teaching profession by 2020. “There is a shortage of teachers nationally, and in the Māori sector that shortage is critical and our graduates will help to build a bigger talent pool. It will also help the long-term rejuvenation of Te Reo Māori, which is currently classified as an endangered language."

Lecturers include experts and current practitioners from leading kura kaupapa Māori known for their strength in Te Aho Matua, including Dr Kathy Dewes, who was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in last year's Queen's Birthday Honours and who is the principal of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Ruamata in Rotorua, Rawiri Wright, principal of Hone Waititi in Auckland and chairman of Te Runanga Nui o Nga Kura Kaupapa Maori, and Toni Waho, principal of Mana Tamariki in Palmerston North.

One important aspect of the course is that all students are supported by – or assigned to – a kura hāpai (mentoring school), a unique requirement that ensures distance learning undertaken through the programme is married with daily practice.

The programme is being delivered through a new partnership between Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori and Massey and is firmly based on the principles of Te Aho Matua, the foundation document which sets out the ethos behind the formation and running of Māori-language immersion schools. “This approach will ensure the ethos of the kura kaupapa Māori movement is upheld in the preparation of teachers who will teach in the total immersion sector,” Dr Jahnke says.

Ms Waho, who is also a member of Te Rūnanga Nui, says: “We are happy to be working closely with Massey to ensure our teachers are properly prepared. The inclusion of Te Aho Matua in the design, content and delivery of the programme is the key.

Graduates will qualify with a Bachelor of Teaching Māori Medium/Diploma Maori Education.

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