How do schools engage with local iwi or hapū networks? Iwi can be complex organisations, whether you are in an urban kura in a large city or a rural kura out in the country. Iwi politics are to be avoided at all cost, so let’s look for an easy option, let’s talk to our Māori friends.
Iwi organisations around the country are dynamic in how they function. As we move into the post-settlement era, we have on the one hand iwi that are well organised (they are usually post-settlement) and may even have an education arm; on the other hand we have iwi that are thin on the ground in terms of personnel (they are usually pre-settlement). Settled iwi have mandated iwi bodies and resource; they have compensation money, usually for land confiscated in the 1800’s.
Bigger iwi usually have a large number of kura within their region, so there is difficulty for iwi in managing kura relationships. For example, Ngāi Tahu, a post-settled iwi, takes in a large geographical area. They have education arms across their 18 rūnaka (subtribes). Within some of those rūnaka they have recently been running professional learning and development hui on their local marae for kura, who come together as clusters to learn and hear about tribal histories and their iwi aspirations for the future.