Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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"All We Got to See Were Factories.": Scoping Maori Transitions from Secondary School

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posted on 2021-11-10, 04:46 authored by Mitchell, Moana Erika

The primary purpose of this research is to scope the reflexive journey of a selected group of Maori as they recall their experiences of secondary school transitions. The already complex nature of this transition from school is further exacerbated by the identification of these people as Maori. The treatment of Maori students, particularly in relation to their secondary school experiences and its impact on transition, is a major concern for this research. The research methodology privileged by my thesis is kaupapa Maori theory. Secondary school transitions for rangatahi Maori is tenuous. By framing this thesis within kaupapa Maori methodology, the intention is to recognise the impact of dominant ideology on the schooling experiences of Maori and how it ultimately determines school transitions. This scoping study is based on the interviews of research participants as they reflect on their experiences as rangatahi Maori transitioning from school. In particular, these interviews highlight how rangatahi Maori work through the complexities they are confronted with whilst in the transitory phase between completion of secondary schooling and post-school opportunities. Information gathered from the interviews constitutes the findings of this thesis. The findings reveal that schooling experiences and more specifically, treatment of Maori students by teachers, play a significant role in transitioning for young Maori. Negotiating the already complex pathway out of school is doubly problematic for rangatahi Maori who also have to come to terms with a culture of failure, perpetuated at secondary school and reinforced by out of school experiences. This research contends that marginalisation of rangatahi Maori in New Zealand secondary schools creates an alternate experience, whereby actions of resistance and agency are employed as they look to position themselves into post-school opportunities. Of significance, is the human quality of determination that allows rangatahi Maori to stand firm, despite the entrenchment of low self-confidence and motivation through indifferent school and transition systems. Such pathways create choice for rangatahi Maori due to a lack of support from these systems, not because of it.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Education

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Te Kura Māori


Phillips, Hazel