Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Ka ao, ka ao, ka awatea: Emergent Māori experiences of education employment transition

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Version 2 2023-09-26, 23:56
Version 1 2021-11-22, 23:12
posted on 2023-09-26, 23:56 authored by Mitchell, Moana

The significance of genealogy on Māori transitions between education and employment is often not appreciated as a valid body of knowledge. This research seeks to consider a family history of Māori ‘education towards employment’ experiences and the ensuing conversations that have occurred as part of those experiences. Of major focus is the influence of state policy on systems that have educated Māori to become employable or unemployable, highlighting the often insidious nature of the underlying themes of assimilation, cultural adaptation and integration that have underpinned these policies.  Kaupapa Māori theory is engaged as the methodological approach for this research, while a ‘hypothetical dialogue’, counter-storying and Critical Race Theory (CRT) form the theoretical frameworks for analysing the historical and contemporary narratives provided. What this enables is the positioning of a Māori lens with which to understand the inherent values, beliefs and experiential learning that emerge through using autoethnography and more specifically, indigenous autoethnography. This research details a series of conversations that portray the education-employment transitions of different generations of the researcher’s family. It is a highly personalised account shared to provide insight into the effect of policy on these transitions. Accompanied by scholarly commentary, the thematic material is derived from the collection and analysis of primary data such as genealogical and personal experience, which includes the analysis of family narratives and the observation of hui/meetings.1 Secondary data includes literature and review of policy, which provided a baseline for the research.  The findings of the research establish deficit thinking as a distinctive, historic and recurring feature of systems that are supposed to educate Māori for employment, but which instead continue to educate and transition a significant number of young Māori into unemployment, underemployment and temporary employment arrangements. These findings contribute to the development of an initiative that supports Māori transitions between education and employment, and which looks to the design of a community hub dedicated to educating whole families at a grassroots level; specifically focusing on a group of parents and whānau studying towards an undergraduate qualification based at their local kura/school.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



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Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Education


Phillips, Hazel; Ritchie, Jenny