Hawai'ian schools look to KKM for growth

By Ruth Smith, Tamati Tiananga

A group of students and teachers from Hawai'i have travelled to NZ to visit a number of schools and look at ways to improve their education system back home.  Ke Kula O Ehunuikaimalino of Kona is focused on a curriculum created from an indigenous perspective. 

Two cultures are meeting to discuss a mutual fight to revitalise their language.

“We wanted to learn about how you Māori people keep your language so strong, because we are having a difficult time with our Hawai'ian language,” says Kaleo Perry, teacher at Ehunuikaimalino.

A small contingent has travelled from their homeland to seek better solutions to develop language in their schools.

“The motivation is really to strengthen our cultural awareness, our linguistic awareness and our pride in that- and really get a firm foundation as a staff and with students,” says Principal Keli’ikanoe Mahi.

For the next two weeks, the group of students want to learn the ways in which the kaupapa Māori schools nurture their students.

Huntly local, Dave Thompson, who also founded Awhina i te Kaupapa- a group who recently travelled to Hawai'i to perform at the 59th Merrie Monarch in Hilo, says the community has a long-time connection to the Hawaiian people.

“I want to acknowledge our guests who have come to strengthen these bonds, and to strengthen their language, the Hawai'ian language,” he says.

Mahi says that she anticipates many beneficial outcomes for her staff and students during their stay here.

“[In the] long run I’d like to see this self-sustaining community go forward in our area too and I see that in the marae and the community, It’s just real strong feeling,” she says.

The group will spend the coming days with Te Wharekura O Rakaumanga and Te Wharekura o Ngā Taiātea students and staff.