Te Pā o Rākaihautū - understanding culturally grounded educational models for sustainability

Aims of the research

The Social and cultural team are working with Te Pā o Rākaihautū (Te Pā) a special character school based in Ōtautahi, Christchurch to understand the Pā Wānanga (site of educational and community activities) as a culturally grounded model of education that has as one of its foci at environmental sustainability. The aim of the research is to explore the strength of their culturally grounded educational approach for fostering leadership and learning that supports student achievement, kaitiakitanga/guardianship, environmental sustainability, and sustainable change in the Te Pā whānau and wider community.

Understanding and supporting a kaitiakitanga-centred learning village

In-depth interviews have been conducted with members of the staff and Te Tautarinui o Matariki (Board of Trustees) foremostly to learn more about the model of a Pā Wānanga as understood by the people of Te Pā and what makes the Te Pā o Rākaihautū model of education unique. We sought accounts of the origins of Te Pā, the motivating aims underpinning it, and the visions for its future. We also asked about transformational changes in pononga (students) and their whānau as a result of their involvement with Te Pā, and how to best capture and measure these changes for the purpose of Te Pā’s self-assessment and development.

This research has aimed to better understand what is working and why, how the various elements relate and support each other, and how the model is implemented across Te Pā.

Supporting kaitiakitanga-centred cleaning

The Pā Wānanga aims to maintain kaitiakitanga practices by using alternative eco-friendly cleaning products to reduce the use of harmful chemicals. The primary focus of this study is to determine how efficacious alternative commercially produced and “home-made” eco-friendly cleaners are compared to commercial cleaners.

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