Maia Hetaraka - Doctor of Education

The opportunity to study at doctoral level within Te Puna Wānanga and begin with a cohort motivated Maia Hetaraka to enrol in the Doctor of Education programme.

Maia Hetaraka

“Having had prior postgraduate experience through the Honours programme provided me with a great foundation for my EdD study. I had experience of the level of expectation at postgraduate level, and while the workload is much greater at EdD level, I could draw on my past research experience to support my EdD journey.

“I am grateful for the many experiences I’ve had as part of my cohort, and to everyone at the University who has supported, challenged, questioned and encouraged me. I have been introduced to academics, ideas, and resources that have continued to guide me throughout the journey. Our cohort still stay in touch when we can and celebrate each others’ successes. Having had that initial structure of wānanga, high expectations, and assignments in the beginning set me up really well to continue independently with my research.

“My research investigates the notion of Māori cultural competence in English-medium education. It centres the perspectives and voices of kaumātua, who hold vast indigenous knowledges. By listening to the wisdom of elders I have been able to interrogate the positioning of Māori cultural competences in English-medium education.

“I hope that my research will contribute to the re-imagining of education for Māori in English-medium education by bringing to the fore Māori knowledge, perpsectives and language as key factors in the development of an equitable and just education system.

“My identity has shaped and impacted on each stage of my research. I knew that the only worthwhile questions I could purse for this work were questions that sought to contribute to positive transformation in education – for all students. For me, this meant addressing historic and current inequities Māori face in education. All of my research decisions had to align to tikanga.

“A big part of my research journey was learning to incorporate, and listen to wairua – which is not an orthodox approach to research. Probably the most important impact my identity has had on my research is that my tikanga and tirohanga Māori have been a constant guide and measure for my professional research practice.

“I hope to be able to use my research to first of all give back to my community. My research only has value if it contributes to the community, locally, as well as more broadly.”

While completing her Doctor of Education, Maia Hetaraka works as a lecturer in Te Puna Wānanga The School of Māori and Indigenous Education.