Ākonga Māori success focus of Te Pūkenga collaboration

Haratua 9, 2023 | 4 min read

Te Pūkenga has begun expanding a cultural capability training model that will improve the learning experiences and outcomes for ākonga (learner) Māori and underserved learners.

UCOL | Te Pūkenga recently hosted 17 kaimahi from BCITO | Te Pūkenga in the first steps towards a partnership that will expand Te Atakura programme.

"This is a great example of where we’ve been able to share excellence from one division with another, recognising our learner at the centre and ako for all, " says Gus Gilmore, Pourangi Ako | DCE Ako Delivery.

Erin Lincoln, Kaikōkiri Te Atakura at UCOL | Te Pūkenga, says Te Atakura programme was established in 2013 with the aim of achieving parity between ākonga Māori and non-Māori completions and improving the educational experience and outcomes for all ākonga.

"Te Atakura is an organisation-wide, culturally responsive, relationship-based model which aims to achieve ōritetanga (equitable outcomes) and improve the educational experience and outcomes of all ākonga," Mrs Lincoln explains.

"It offers new places to look for answers, new ways to evaluate information, and new classroom, leadership, and system practices.

"The foundation of this approach lies in the extensive research by Emeritus Professor Russell Bishop and Dr Mere Berryman, which informed Te Kotahitanga, an educational reform that was supported by the Ministry of Education, rolled out across secondary schools, and led to significantly improved achievement for Māori students.

"We partnered with Mr Bishop and Cognition Education to learn from Te Kotahitanga and adapt the model for the tertiary context, which is grounded in Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Kaupapa Māori values, providing a fresh and proven approach.

"Now, we have a team of Te Atakura coaches who work with our teachers and leaders helping them to be culturally responsive and use the student voice to drive a change in practice and systems to reach ōritetanga.

"Since introducing Te Atakura, we have seen an overall increase in successful course completion rates. The impact on several individual programmes, including the New Zealand Certificate in Exercise and Sport Performance, have seen pass rates increase by up to nearly 30 per cent."

"After our colleagues at BCITO | Te Pūkenga heard our team present about the programme at the Ako Capability Wānanga last year, we were absolutely delighted to have been approached by them to support the establishment of Te Atakura in their context.

"Since October 2022, we have been working with two kaimahi who will become Te Atakura leaders within BCITO | Te Pūkenga. Yesterday’s hui has been a collaboration to roll out training to other kaimahi who will become Te Atakura coaches. Covering professional development workshops for kaimahi in the morning and then putting the theory into practice."

Jason Hungerford, Executive Director at BCITO | Te Pūkenga, says that adopting Te Atakura is the next step in its work to develop the cultural capability of its people and embed Te Tiriti o Waitangi excellence in its systems.

"This is a significant investment in our work-based learning practitioners, which will help us deliver improved educational outcomes for Māori and underserved learners."

Seventeen BCITO | Te Pūkenga kaimahi were selected from across Aotearoa to participate in Te Atakura training from UCOL | Te Pūkenga. They will be ready to roll out their new Te Atakura skills and knowledge nationwide from early 2024.

"UCOL | Te Pūkenga are leaders in the implementation of Te Atakura, and we value their expertise in helping us deliver the programme within BCITO | Te Pūkenga. This initiative is reflective of the great collaboration and partnership happening at Te Pūkenga."