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Youth Education Wānanga


More than 60 rangatahi from wharekura and secondary schools around Tāmaki Makaurau took part in our inaugural Youth Education Wānanga on the 12th of April.

The aim was to hear from taiohi aged 14-19 and from a range of settings and life experiences about what they say is important to them in education - the priorities and what can help or hinder them.  

COMET Auckland's Mātauranga Māori manager, Huia Hawke laid down the challenge during the day-long hui at Manukau Institute of Technology's Ngā Kete Wānanga Marae.

"These are some of the stats about Māori and education - they are improving but not fast enough.

“We need to WoW it up, Whakamātauria o Whakaaro. That's why you're here, you have the answers." 

Huia Hawke says the day was a success and set a foundation for the big goal of ‘taiohi deciding for taiohi’.

“We accomplished the essence which was to get a group of young people together, and to get from them their ‘intel’ about what they see as important for education as Māori. It also gave them a chance to dig deeper about things they wouldn’t normally think much about because they’re just going to school every day.”

The morning was spent on whakawhanaungatanga. After lunch the students broke into groups to discuss the six key insights from the report He manu kai matauranga: He tirohanga Māori by the Children’s Commissioner.

 “Racism was big,” says Huia.


“The kura kids really didn’t identify because in their schools, their identity and culture are well looked after. But the other kids saw it as highly visible and present in schools," she says.

“It was a good contrast for the kura kids to learn what their Māori  peers face in their schools.”

The inaugural wānanga seems to have hit the right note, judging by the requests for another longer, hui staying overnight at the marae.   

Huia says the students enjoyed getting to know each other and “being Māori  youth together regardless of school setting”.  

The next steps are to compile and analyse all the students’ work during the wānanga and to bring together those students who volunteer to continue in a leadership group.

“We can then bring them together with those who couldn’t attend this time – like the teen mums and dads, the youth justice kids. And they can synthesise it into key issues for a kaupapa to implement.”

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