Listening to Students

​Ka Hikitia: Listening to the voices of Māori students


Ka Hikitia is a mandated Ministry of Education strategy that has a central vision of “Māori enjoying and achieving education success as Māori” (Ministry of Education, 2013)

These pages contain the collated voices of Māori students who shared their perspectives of what the Ka Hikitia vision means to them. We call this collection Ngā Huatau Taiohi.

Huatau, meaning one’s thoughts, ideas, comments and opinions, comprises two words hua (bearing fruit/thinking, deciding) and tau (settling down/alternating).

Taiohi literally means youthful, adolescent or young adult and is used in names such as Te Tari Taiohi (the Ministry of Youth Development). It comes from the term tai, referring to the ebb and flow of the tide and in particular to the point when the tide turns and changes. Metaphorically, adolescence is another point of change.

The journey to these Huatau Taiohi began when the Expert Advisory Group developed a discussion chart to exemplify what they understood by by the Ka Hikitia phrase: "enjoying and achieving education success as Māori".

Students then tested this discussion chart at nine Hui Whakaako held from Whitiora Marae in the Far North to Te Rau Aroha Marae at the Bluff. Taiohi from 58 Kia Eke Panuku schools shared what they had experienced and understood by "enjoying and achieving education success as Māori".

Under the mantle of protection afforded by these marae, the thoughts (ngā huatau) of these young people (taiohi) ebbed and flowed. They were captured on tape, transcribed and common themes across the Hui Whakaako began to emerge. The consistency of commentary from one marae to the next, attests to the legitimacy of these messages. In reading them we are challenged to consider our own responses to their voices and how we might ensure all Māori students are able to enjoy and achieve education success as Māori.

Extracts from the students’ voices have since been organised under each of the themes and the students’ own discussion charts were developed for each of the marae. These have now been published.

A series of Ngā Huatau Taiohi publications have been made available to the participating schools. These web pages are aimed at making that material accessible and interactive. We also provide an analysis and summary of the implications of these important student voices.