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Timu Niwa

Institute of Education
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Problematizing Māori Achievement in Policy:
An Exploratory Mixed-Methods Study on Teacher Enactment of Ka Hikitia

Research Description
My doctoral project will explore the nature of the practices New Zealand mainstream primary school teachers put into place in response to the broad Māori education policy, Ka Hikitia. Rather than being evaluative, my research will explore teachers' reasons for putting into place the Māori language, culture and identity-based practices that they do while also examining a range of factors that impact upon what teachers enact. My project interprets 'policy' as being broader than the actual text-based statements. Policy in this sense considers a range of 'taken-for-granted' factors (i.e. institutional, material and professional) that impact upon what teachers do. My project aims to explore these diverse factors through a two-phase, exploratory mixed-methods research approach beginning with a series of depth interviews with a small sample of teachers. This data will then be utilised to develop a survey to be administered to a wider sample of teachers. It is suggested that when such an approach to understanding how Māori language, culture and identity is 'breathed into' the complex social world of mainstream primary schools, different practical possibilities may be realised that consider a broader and contextual recognition of processes within the contemporary educational policy landscape.

Personal Description
Kei te taha o tōku pāpā, ko Te Ati Awa te iwi. Kei te taha o tōku māmā, ko Te Whānau-Ā-Apanui rāua ko Whakatōhea ōku iwi, he Pākehā no Ingarangi tōku koro. Raised in Taranaki, currently a teacher at Oroua Downs Primary School in rural Manawatū, I have taught in New Zealand and Northern Ireland over the past 18 years. I am interested in the education of Māori students in mainstream schools, policy enactment, policy-as-discourse, Kaupapa Māori, Māori ontology and critical studies. I hope to be involved in teaching and/or research related to my interest in Māori education upon completion.

Professor Howard Lee
Dr Bevan Erueti
Dr Karen Ashton
Dr Tony Carusi