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Ka Hikitia – Accelerating Success 2013-2017: The Māori Education Strategy is a document from the Ministry of Education in New Zealand providing a strategy for turning around the low-achievement rates of Māori students in New Zealand education. The document was developed in consultation and in collaboration with Māori leaders, iwi, hapū, whānau and community organisations. The document outlines key goals and strategies in order to achieve its vision of “Māori enjoying and achieving education success as Māori” (Ministry of Education, 2013b, p.11). From my own experience, while the strategy seems to ‘dot all the i’s and cross all the t’s’, it is not quite as straight forward in regards to implementation at the coalface as it may appear. Many schools struggle in knowing where to begin and how to implement the strategy in meaningful ways. This research utilised Kaupapa Māori methodology and a mixed qualitative method approach which included conversational method, observation, survey, and case study. The research consisted of the undertaking of a case study of a full-primary school to investigate the implementation of Ka Hikitia from its initial phase one inception in 2008 until the near completion of phase two in 2018 and leading into phase three which is due to be implemented in 2019. Further to this, the research also included surveys from the Māori community and from a variety of schools to gain feedback on the implementation of Ka Hikitia from different perspectives within a specific region. A bicultural theoretical approach was adopted utilising a decolonising theoretical lens, which was essential to ensure that the research was conducted for the benefit of Māori students and their whānau. All data was collected, analysed and reported, and then using a Grounded Theory approach, a model for going forward has been developed for proposed use within the Primary and Secondary education sectors. Overall, the findings of this research recognise that there has been little change in the education sector to make significant headway in meeting the educational needs of Māori students. There is an urgent need for a transformational change in thinking about educational theory and in the practice of education for Māori in order for a truly enlightened and transformed Māori education praxis to exist allowing Māori to genuinely achieve success as Māori throughout every step of their education journey. This research provides significant recommendations for achieving this necessary transformative change, and the research findings will be forwarded to the Ministry of Education with a view to these changes being considered in the development of Phase three of Ka Hikitia. It is anticipated that this research may serve as a valuable resource for informing the development of this subsequent phase. The implementation of these recommendations into the sector may provide opportunities for further case study research to be conducted.
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