Hikitia te taki: An exploration of the internal and external challenges that Māori change agents experience within school reform
Māori change agents are often employed in educational initiatives that seek to redress Māori student achievement inequities in Aotearoa New Zealand. Their experience in this role is under researched. This qualitative research project uses a kaupapa Māori approach to investigate the experiences of Māori change agents working in mainstream educational institutions. Results indicated that these facilitators experienced different challenges that had both internal and external dimensions. The metaphor of the kaiwero (challenger) in a pōwhiri (formal Māori welcome) is used to explore the researcher’s interpretations of the experiences of Māori change agents. In order to be effective Māori change agents must be well prepared and understand the different dimensions of the change that they face when attempting to facilitate change. Key recommendations, associated with research results, highlight the importance of external supports and facilitator preparation and ongoing professional development. Creating a shared vision of change, with a clear understanding of the change agent’s roles and responsibilities is a key element of support. Prior to the introduction of programmes aimed at enhancing Māori student achievement, school communities must create a common understanding and vision for Māori student success which must be informed by an understanding of the power, race, colonisation and political issues.