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Mana ōrite mō te mātauranga Māori and Psychology - where to begin?

With the changes to NCEA and the Curriculum, mātauranga Māori is (finally) receiving mana ōrite or equal status to the more commonly taught Eurocentric knowledge from overseas. Mātauranga Māori is Māori knowledge and encapsulates Māori values, perspectives, and beliefs. Incorporating mātauranga into our Psychology learning programmes may seem daunting, but here are some helpful tips!



Start by engaging with mātauranga Māori resources that connect with Psychology. Useful websites include He Paiaka Tōtara, Te Rau Ora, and the Māori and Psychology Research Unit at Waikato University. Helpful books include Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples by Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Te Manu Kai i Te Mātauranga: Indigenous Psychology in Aotearoa/New Zealand, edited by Waikaremoana Waitoki and Michelle Levy, and, Collaborative and Indigenous Mental Health Therapy: Tātaihono - Stories of Māori Healing and Psychiatry by Wiremu NiaNia, Allister Bush, and David Epston. With regard to Ethics and Research, you may explore Te Ara Tika for Māori Research Ethics.


It is important to acknowledge the mana whenua of the region you are based, but please do not rush out to contact them - they are likely getting requests from lots of individuals and schools! Investigate what resources they have available through their websites and/or social media accounts, and engage with any PLD they might offer. Hapū and/or iwi may also have specific services that connect with Psychology, e.g. mana whenua based mental health clinic, education services for supporting rangatahi Māori. You may have other connections through your kura too!



Another tip is to kōrero with your ākonga, especially ākonga Māori - what do they know already when it comes to mātauranga Māori? Perhaps they’re involved in kapa haka or are learning te reo Māori - how can connections be made here? For example, you might explore how collective learning in kapa haka influences memory or compares to individualistic learning in other settings or the brain structures involved in learning another language. Ākonga might be interested in decolonisation and reindigenisation and could analyse the social psychology of change, or explore mātauranga Māori in action e.g. Mahi a Atua or Te Whare Marie.


A final comment is that kaiako should ensure they are engaging with culturally responsive relational pedagogy, with an emphasis on creating and maintaining a safe and culturally respectful space. Mātauranga Māori is taught best in a space where whanaungatanga,manaakitanga and ako are emphaised!


In a later blog we will introduce specific mātauranga Māori and explain how it might be used in a learning context.


Mā te huruhuru, ka rere te manu

With feathers, the bird can fly


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