Questions why kapa haka doesn't gain university entrance

By Mānia Clarke

Fresh off the He Pouwhenua, He Puapua secondary schools national kapa haka competition stage, former Māori Medium students and Māori Performing Arts (MPA) leaders are asking why the hours of sacrifice don't count when seeking entrance to university.

“Not everyone wants to be a doctor, not everyone wants to be a lawyer, they just want to do haka and that's just Te Ao Māori, that's what they've grown up with,” said one former student.

“When we were at school we took performing arts as a subject, we got credits in Māori Performing Arts, but those credits weren't cross-credited to gain University Entrance,” said another.

Kapa haka leaders are joining the call for MPA to be recognised as a core curriculum subject.

“It needs to be put in the school curriculums, as a core subject. It will allow Māori to showcase themselves, their values and the richness of the Māori world,” said Ngā Purapura o Te Tai Hauāuru leader, Aroha Broughton Pue.

“It's about showcasing our identity as Māori,” said Te Iti Kahurangi female leader, Tiare Teinakore.

“Also, an opportunity to showcase what our children are passionate about to the world, outside the parameters of the school-yard.”

Last year, Ngā Puna o Waiōrea Principal Chris Selwyn called for Māori Performing Arts to be recognised at the same level as University Entrance (UE) subjects.

The issue being that kapa haka is not an achievement standard to gain UE, however, students can gain unit standards. These can be accredited to other Performing Art achievement standards.

“So, if students are able to take MPA as a curriculum subject to get into university, it will make that more accessible for those in Māori Medium Schools, those not in mainstream,” said one of the former students.

In a statement to Te Kāea, the Education Ministry said Te Ao Māori is woven through many degree subjects at New Zealand universities and is relevant to all career paths in New Zealand, whether directly or indirectly.