(Kaupapa Maori as Resistance and Intervention)

Year: 1992

Author: Smith, Graham Hingangaroa

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Kaupapa Maori is the philosophy and practice of `being Maori'. It assumes the taken for granted social, political, historical, intellectual and cultural legitimacy of Maori people. Since the 1980's Kaupapa Maori has become the identifiable feature of several successful initiatives developed from within Maori communities to intervene in Maori language, cultural, educational, social and economic crises. In particular it has been this core component, Kaupapa Maori philosophy and practice which has underpinned the successful educational interventions of Te Kohanga Reo (pre-school language nurseries); Kura Kaupapa Maori (Maori medium primary schools); Whare Waananga (Maori Tertiary Institutions). These educational innovations, which were begun by Maori communities outside of `mainstream' educational structures, stand as manifest critiques of the dismal failure of state schooling to change and high escalating high levels of Maori pupil schooling failure. This paper argues that these resistance strategies developed by Maori people, ought to be carefully studied in order to identify the potential intervention factors (Kaupapa Maori) contained within them. In particular there is a need to learn from these initiatives with a possible view to the wider application of the `success' elements embedded in these responses. Such radical action is necessary in order to intervene in the general educational crisis faced by Maori pupils many of whom are trapped within a narrow range of existing mainstream schooling options.