Kei te pēhea aku mokopuna (How are my mokopuna doing?) is a simple question which Whanganui schools, their school boards, tumuaki and kaiako have heard for many years. However, the call for schools to better serve Māori learners has gained little traction based on historical and more recent education data. After almost a lifetime of involvement with early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools in Whanganui, the Executive Chair of Te Puna Mātauranga o Whanganui, John Maihi MNZM, is left still wondering how the New Zealand education system continues to fail so many tamariki and rangatahi Māori. Maihi is well informed about the low attendance, achievement, engagement and retention rates
drawn from schools’ data for Māori students in Whanganui. He is intimately aware of the whānau Māori concerns, despondency and scepticism toward government agents and the education system. While there have been gains, gradualism and bias are perceived to constantly limit progress and any chance of a sustained positive shift. Maihi’s question is about whānau Māori realities and their perceptions of an education system that benefits the few but continues to not work well for many.

Te Puna, in partnership with CORE, designed the research questions and used a kaupapa Māori approach and equity review framework2
for inviting local community participants to share their experiences of streaming and their thinking about why this practice is used in their schools. They also offered a future state description of what it might look, feel and sound like if streaming was removed from all early years’ settings and schools in Whanganui.

Together, the voices suggest that the conversations about ending streaming will need to recognise that this is not just a ‘for and against debate’ in Whanganui. The eight narratives suggest a more nuanced set of beliefs exist within and across the community that require a more strategic, community-led response. Te Puna and Takitini will consider how to work together to inform and unpack the views and experiences offered in this research.
● The language and practice of streaming is part of the schools’ domain and power. Decisions about grouping are generally not made with whānau or rangatahi/tamariki and they are most often based on a limited set of tests and knowledge of the strengths of
learners and their whānau.
● The whakapapa of streaming and its impact largely remain a hidden story for whānau, tamariki and rangatahi. This places them without power and influence to advocate for ending streaming.
● A strong and divisive narrative exists across the community. This was reported by educators concerned that it would scuttle any attempts to end streaming. Opposition and influence came from whānau and some kaiako who advocate that high achieving learners benefit more from learning together than in mixed ability groups or classes.
● Blame for poor achievement often accompanies explicit low expectations of learners and their whānau.
● Tamariki, whānau and kaiako have together offered a new set of expectations to base a design for learning without streaming. These could be considered as a guide for monitoring the well-being of Māori learners across Whanganui and as a response to “Kei te pēhea aku mokopuna?


Creator | Kaihanga
Dr Tiwha Puketapu, Dr Pam O’Connell, Evelyn Hiri-Gush, Paerangi Maihi
Year of Creation | Tau
Creative Commons Licence
Attribution-NonCommercial CC BY-NC
Keywords | Kupu
Education, Destreaming
Main Language | Reo Matua
Submitter's Rights | Nga Tika o te Kaituku
I represent the publisher or owner organisation of this resource
This Research has
been written outside an academic institution
Bibliographic Citation | Whakapuakanga

Puketapu, T., O’Connell, P., Hiri-Gush, E., & Maihi, P. (2023). Kei te pēhea aku mokopuna? | How are my mokopuna going? An inquiry into the nature, experiences and impacts of streaming learners in Whanganui. Tātai Aho Rau CORE Education: Report.

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