Better relationships for better learning provides guidelines for boards of trustees and schools on engaging with Māori parents, whānau, and communities.
Schools can apply many different aspects of partnership in their school policies, management and operational procedures, interaction with the local community, and provision of education. The choice is not whether schools develop a relationship with Māori communities but what the quality of the relationship will be. A good relationship will add a dimension and richness to school life that would not otherwise be possible.
Many schools are looking at how they can communicate more effectively with Māori parents, increase their understanding of Māori institutions and processes, and operate in ways that are compatible with Māori social and economic organisation, interests, and priorities.
Many schools have developed policies or goals that state how they have incorporated the Treaty of Waitangi into school life. For example:
- One primary school's mission statement includes the Māori proverb "He aha te mea nui? He tangata, he tangata, he tangata."
- The Treaty of Waitangi policy of one school includes providing staff development in te reo Māori and tikanga Māori and involving representatives of the Māori community in decisions affecting Māori students and programmes.
- One school has a code of conduct for their board of trustees that requires them to "exercise their powers of governance in a way that fulfils the intent of the Treaty of Waitangi by valuing and reflecting New Zealand's cultural heritage".
Questions / Things to think about
- How does your school identify its commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi? What is written about this commitment in the annual plan and school charter?
- In what ways are your whānau and iwi contributing to identifying, supporting, and sustaining Māori students at your school?
- How are you ensuring that whānau and iwi are partners in your school’s vision and decision making?