Tertiary education has a critical role to play in supporting the revitalisation of regional te reo and tikanga, particularly through community programmes on marae or Māori community education environments according to Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.
A recent research project by Ako Aotearoa explored programmes within Taranaki that support the revitalisation of Taranakitanga – practices specific to Taranaki Māori – many of which are provided through adult education. Taranaki Māori cultural practices include distinctive Taranaki reo, tikanga, history, knowledge, and values.
This study shows that there is significant value in adult teaching and learning on marae or in Māori community settings for Taranaki Māori, particularly with regard to Taranaki Māori practices. Location of courses within Māori community contexts helped reinforce a sense of local identity. Such courses also encouraged communities to take on other projects, and thereby facilitate community development.
Course delivery in Māori settings like marae validated local knowledge and its application within real life.
Ako Aotearoa noted a unique aspect of marae provision is “the inherent intergenerational nature of that environment, which lends itself to the sustainability of course outcomes over time for the benefit of future generations.”