Ben Doyle Cropped

Benjamin Doyle

Ngāpuhi, Te Kapotai, Te Popoto, Pākehā
BA (Hons), PGDip (Sec), MA (Māori & Indigenous Studies)
Accredited Facilitator
021 0235 9054

Ko Kapowai, Pukenui, me Whakarongorua ngā maunga
Ko Waikare, Utakura, me Waitangi ngā awa
Ko Ngātokimatawhaorua te waka
He uri ahau nō Te Whare Tapu o Ngāpuhi
Ko Te Kapotai me Te Popoto ōku hapū
Ko Benjamin Doyle tōku ingoa

By virtue of my whakapapa as Pākehā and Māori I am a living confluence of both Tangata Tiriti and Tangata Whenua. Through my mother, I am a descendant of the sacred house of Ngāpuhi, and through my father a descendant of Éire, the Emerald Isle. I grew up in Whangaparaoa by the ocean and now reside with my partner and tamaiti in Kirikiriroa on the banks of the Waikato river.

For 8 years I taught in secondary schools across a range of curriculum and pastoral roles in both Tāmaki Makaurau and Kirikiriroa, before returning to university to complete a Masters in Māori and Indigenous Studies in 2021. My passion is in nurturing rangatahi Māori to embody and express tino rangatiratanga through mana enhancing learning experiences, and I believe in the transformational power of whānau and hapori to collectively achieve this aspiration.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Through a strengths based approach, I have been taught to understand Te Tiriti o Waitangi as an aspirational, justice-based model for a bicultural nation. The reality is that this has not yet been achieved due to the ongoing structures and effects of colonisation which continue to produce inequitable outcomes for Tangata Whenua, least of all within our education system. However, I believe Te Tiriti o Waitangi offers an alternative framework to that of the status quo. It is a pathway towards genuine co-governance and prosperity for all people in Aotearoa.

Using pūrākau storying and dialogic whakawhiti kōrero, it is possible to build a collective understanding of the context within which Te Tiriti o Waitangi was created, outside of the monocultural narrative that has dominated over the last two centuries. From that position, a critical awareness of what Te Tiriti means as an applied and living document enables us to locate ourselves and others within a narrative of interconnectedness and shared responsibility.

Kaupapa Māori

Kaupapa Māori is both a way of understanding and a way of being. For Māori, it is the embodiment of cultural ways of being and doing that have been passed down from our tūpuna (ancestors), and offers an alternative worldview to that of the dominant colonial paradigm. Kaupapa Māori praxis seeks to redistribute power equitably so that decisions are made with, by, and for Māori, rather than ‘done to’ Māori. It locates people and communities at its centre, and prioritises an ethic of relational accountability - meaning that we are not only responsible to a code or contract, but to ourselves and one another.

By design, kaupapa Māori provides a pathway towards Māori educational success. By reframing the priorities of teaching and learning to be about the aspirations of tauira, whānau, and their broader communities, kaiako are able to position themselves to be within a reciprocal relationship of learning and care. From this relationship, learning design is able to reflect the importance of kaupapa Māori principles such as whānau (relational belonging), āta (nurturing respectful relationships), taonga tuku iho (validating mātauranga māori as legitimate and valued), kaupapa (collective vision), ako Māori (culturally preferred pedagogy), and tino rangatiratanga (the right to be self determining).

Understanding the importance of culturally safe practices within learning relationships and environments, and developing ways to meaningfully embed these, creates fertile grounds for students to flourish. I believe this kaupapa Māori pedagogy is able to be woven respectfully and powerfully by teachers into their teaching philosophy and classroom practice.

Critical Consciousness

The dominant paradigm - the status quo - is both inherited and inadequate. It is the product of a colonial, industrialised, patriarchal mentality, and quite frankly, it “sucks for everyone”, as Dr Rebecca Kiddle (Ngāti Porou, Ngāpuhi) says. The question then, is how do we fully understand our own position within this system of education, and what can be done to address it?

Building a toolkit of critical consciousness for ourselves as educators has the potential to transform not only our classroom practice, but the way in which our schools and systems operate on larger, more fundamental levels. It enables us to reflect on our own positionality in the classroom, and in our relationships with colleagues, students, whānau, and mana whenua.This requires a capacity to find comfort in discomfort, as we safely, sensitively, and meaningfully reflect on and address the beliefs, values, and prejudices we hold when we step into the classroom.

In doing so, we can address the systems which perpetuate the harms of past educational policy and practice. In its place, a kaupapa Māori and Te Tiriti centred alternative is possible. The exciting thing about critical consciousness is the infinite potential it allows us for transformative change.

Whakawhāiti (inclusion)

I believe in the ethics of relational accountability. I am accountable to the people I care about, to my community, to my ancestors, and to my descendants. This positions me within an interconnected web of relationships which strengthen and secures my place in the world. Understanding the way that we relate to others through these connections of reciprocal care encourages us to embrace and celebrate the strength and value of diversity.

Inclusion does not always look uniform, it needs to be adjusted to different contexts and for different needs. This is especially true in education, where people bring with them their own experiences, cultures, and world views. I seek to help others to reflect on their own values and beliefs, as well as the values and beliefs held by others, so that we can create pathways towards inclusive and culturally safe education that honours the inherent mana in all people. I know that when people are free to determine who they are and what success means for them on their own terms, we all benefit.

Ki te kotahi te kākaho, ka whati. Ki te kāpuia, e kore e whati.
Alone we can be broken. Standing together, we are invincible