Contemporary developments in art education for Māori students: 1970s to the present
A turning point came in the 1970s when the Labour Government responded to Māori protest, supported by a liberal and humanist sector, over grievances concerning Māori rights in Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Rata, 2000). The subsequent Treaty of Waitangi Act of 1975 opened the way for legislation which honoured principles of the Treaty, including that which determines the shape of education. The impact of this Act was felt in the School Certificate Art Prescription (DoE, 1974) in which there was a focus on the relationship between art, culture and society. It required for the first time the study of Māori art, thereby providing a way in which art education could be culturally responsive to Māori learners. The Act also influenced the first art syllabus in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
Conscious biculturalism… or continuing paternalism?
Official bicultural policy influenced the development of the Art Education Junior Classes to Form 7 Syllabus for Schools (DoE, 1989). The statement, “an art education for New Zealanders”, stressed that “two major traditions, Māori and European, contribute to an art that is distinctive” (p. 4). Guidelines accompanying the syllabus, including a section written by Māori art teachers and artists, illustrated support for all teachers to learn and teach about Māori art education (MoE, 1991). Under the section on Whakawahi (painting), teachers were encouraged to introduce Māori painting “through study of the Māori art form ‘kōwhaiwhai’…or of a single koru shape” (p. 60). Positive aspects of the syllabus included the use of te reo Māori for the first time without English translations, and indicated “a consciousness of the bicultural environment” (Smith, 2007, p. 104).
Art works cited for study were primarily from the Western tradition and continued to “differentiate between Western art and the cultural production of others, including indigenous art, which does not conform to the western aesthetic” (p. 101).
The next initiative was The Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum (MoE, 2000) for use in mainstream
schools, and a parallel curriculum statement, Ngā Toi i Roto i te Marautanga o Aotearoa (MoE, 2000) for use in Māori medium education. In the mainstream curriculum the emphasis on students gaining understanding of how and why individuals, communities, and societies make art was carried over from the 1989 syllabus. There were, however, many more references to the tangata whenua (the nomenclature replacing the syllabus use of Māori). In the document there are numerous references to toi Māori (the arts of the Māori), traditional Māori art forms, the significance of toi Māori in different contexts, contemporary Māori art, and the requirement for teachers to understand aspects of reo, tikanga, and whakapapa. Although Mane-Wheoki (2003) questions this “insistent bicultural vision” (p. 83), Smith (2008) argues that the emphasis on Māori and European art education (in secondary schools, at least) has resulted in its continued dominance over study of other cultures, regardless of the increasingly multicultural student population in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
The current curriculum for all mainstream schools, The New Zealand Curriculum (MoE, 2007), states that “it will help schools give effect to the partnership that is at the core of our nation’s founding document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi” (p. 6). The Vision is for “young people… who will work to create an Aotearoa-New Zealand in which Māori and Pākehā recognise each other as full Treaty partners…” (p. 8). In terms of art education it is stated that “an understanding of Māori visual culture (no longer called visual arts) is achieved through exploration of Māori contexts” (p. 21).
The literature shows that art education for Māori learners from 1840 to the present day was influenced by historical events, education policies and a predominantly Eurocentric ideology which have, in differing ways, influenced the kind of art education available to Māori. Te Tiriti o Waitangi– The Treaty of Waitangi has been significant in underpinning successive contemporary curriculum documents. In the next chapter, these historical and contemporary developments in art education for Māori are set against a background of theoretical positions which purport to support Māori achievement in secondary schools in Aotearoa-New Zealand.
Chapter 1: THE BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1.1 Locating myself in the research .
1.2 What motivated this research topic?
1.3 What was the aim of the research?
1.4 The research question
1.5 The significance of the research
Chapter 2: HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORARY CONTEXTS FOR THE RESEARCH
2.2 Historical developments in education and art education for Māori students .
2.3 Contemporary developments in art education for Māori students
Chapter 3: THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON MĀORI ACHIEVEMENT
3.2 Māori initiatives
Chapter 4: NCEA – THE CURRICULUM CONTEXT FOR THE RESEARCH
4.2 The Visual Arts Achievement Standards
Chapter 5: METHODOLOGY AND METHODS
5.2 The research methodology
5.3 The research participants and settings
5.4 The data collection methods and processes
5.5 Validity, reliability and ethical considerations
5.6 Data analysis strategies
5.7 Limitations of the study
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Beyond the Koru Promoting Māori student achievement in Visual Arts