Ngāti Whakaue Iho Ake – An Iwi Science Education Exploration
This thesis aims to provide a pathway to improve Māori student engagement with science education. Internationally, some indigenous communities have worked with schools in the delivery of science programmes, resulting in positive indigenous student engagement. These outcomes show that together indigenous students, schools and indigenous communities can contribute to the development of their particular place when science programmes allow the exploration of self, relating to others, the local environment and the wider world. This thesis investigates the perceptions of Māori students, teachers and kaumātua of science education in the Māori tribal community of Ngāti Whakaue to identify how Ngāti Whakaue is recognised in school science programmes. Individual and focus group interviews were conducted with local Māori elders, Māori secondary science students, and secondary science teachers from six English and Māori medium secondary schools in Rotorua. Data analyses revealed that participant perceptions and experiences of place, science and the Māori culture were disconnected from Ngāti Whakaue, despite its rich potential as a setting for science education. Participants held diverse perceptions and views within and between groups, including student and teacher understandings of Māori culture, attitudes regarding the place of Māori culture and knowledge in science education, and preferences regarding teaching and learning styles. Findings are examined as to how schools and Ngāti Whakaue could work together to better support positive Māori student engagement with science education and suggestions are made about how these relationships could be improved.