Equity in STEM Symposium

In April 2021, NZQA hosted the Equity in STEM Symposium: Enabling Māori and Pacific Success. We were honoured to host over 450 people, both in person and online, from more than 150 schools and organisations around the country.

The programme included perspectives from schools and industry leaders who are successfully involving high proportions of Māori and Pacific students in STEM; and provided practical tools to help encourage students to pursue STEM pathways.

We would like to thank all our presenters and panelists. You can view videos of the presentations below.

Actions to support Māori and Pacific student success in STEM

At the end of the Symposium, attendees were asked to consider sharing their thoughts about actions they might take to support Māori and Pacific student success in STEM.  Over 140 attendees from across 80 organisations provided feedback.  These organisations including secondary schools, wharekura, tertiary education organisations, universities, government agencies, sector-related organisations and STEM academies.

There were many ‘gems’ that people shared, with some of the most frequently raised actions including:

  • Focusing on reducing or eliminating streaming
  • Holding discussions with colleagues and/or Senior Leadership Teams to encourage change
  • Building stronger relationships with Māori and Pacific students
  • Setting and expressing higher expectations for Māori and Pacific student success
  • Embracing disaggregated data to understand what’s happening to Māori and Pacific students as they progress, and using this to inform actions/planning/programming
  • Focusing on STEM and STEM careers to be sure programmes of learning align with expressed student career outcomes/preferences
  • Making learning more relevant and developing resources that better engage Māori and Pacific students with STEM learning
  • Improving the support structures available to students.

Equity in the New Zealand Context

Judge Andrew Becroft and Glenis Philip-Barbara

Judge Andrew Becroft was appointed the Children’s Commissioner in June 2016.

Prior to this he was the Principal Youth Court Judge; and was appointed a District Court Judge in 1996.

After graduating from Auckland University in 1981, he practised law in Auckland and assisted with the establishment of the Mangere Community Law Centre.

Judge Becroft is married with three adult tamariki, aged 24, 23 and 19.

Glenis Philip-Barbara is the Assistant Māori Commissioner at the Children’s Commission and hails from Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Uepōhatu and Clan McDonald.

Glenis has thirty years of experience as a community advocate, a senior public service leader and in working with whānau, hapū and iwi to recover mātauranga Māori. She is driven to ensure all tamariki know their whakapapa, are connected to their whānau and grow up to be amazing tipuna for the generations to follow.

Equity for Māori and Pacific

Dr Eruera Prendergast-Tarena

Dr Eruera Tarena is of Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Porou, and Te Whānau-ā-Apanui descent and is the Executive Director for Tokona te Raki: Maori Futures Collective - an indigenous centre for social innovation based under the mana of Ngāi Tahu.

He is currently involved in the establishment of a new Rangatahi Futures Academy to produce next generation solutions powered by rangatahi Māori and mātauranga Māori.

He has a significant interest in systems thinking, innovation tools and organisation learning and applying these through a mātauranga Māori lens to create change.

To read Tokona te Raki's report on streaming, visit http://www.maorifutures.co.nz/stream/.

Enabling Māori and Pacific Success in STEM

Panel discussion

Georgia Whitta is currently in her fourth year studying towards a Bachelor of Medical Sciences with Honours for research in Paediatric Orthopaedics, and is currently on placement at Middlemore Hospital.

She is of Cook Islands descent, was raised in Palmerston North, and is a proud Amanaki STEM Academy alumni.

Georgia is a keen advocate for Māori and Pasifika students and is a STEM Ambassador for NZQA.

Arihia Stirling has tribal affiliations to Te Whānau-ā-Apanui, Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu, and Ngāti Whātua. She is the Tumuaki of Te Kura Māori o Ngā Tapuwae in Mangere East, a Māori Immersion school which she has led for the last 25 years.

She is passionate about Māori Education and has a number of advisory positions which ensure that her positive views are heard. Arihia’s desire is that students and their whānau live prosperous lives.

Dr Te Taka Keegan is an Associate Professor in Computing, and Associate Dean Māori at the University of Waikato.

Te Taka has worked on a number of projects involving the Māori language and technology. These include the Māori Niupepa Collection, Te Kete Ipurangi, the Microsoft keyboard, Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office in Māori, Moodle in Māori, Google Web Search in Māori, and the Māori macroniser.

In 2017, he was awarded the Prime Minister’s Supreme Award for Tertiary Teaching Excellence.

Misa Tovia Va’aelua is a culture builder, Pasifika Advocate and Tech Founder. He is the General Manager of rhipe Australasia and the Chairperson of Pasifika in IT (information technology) who are a collective of experienced and knowledgeable industry professionals with a passion for IT and a heart for the Pacific Island community.

He is a proud son of Samoa and Aotearoa and is committed to seeing Pacific communities educated, equipped and employed across all areas of the information technology industry.

Dr Hana O’Regan is the Tumu Whakarae (CEO) of CORE Education. Hana is a published author and composer and is recognised internationally for her work in indigenous language acquisition and revitalisation.

A graduate of Te Panekiretanga – Institute of Excellence in Te Reo Māori, Hana has a passion for equity in education that has resulted in a career committed to working with organisations, businesses and individuals to support and enhance positive outcomes for learners and whānau.

Extra tips and hints from Georgia

  • As many people throughout the day highlighted, Māori and Pacific people work well in groups. In the classroom, making sure desks are arranged in formations that facilitate group collaboration would be beneficial.
  • We have been raised to not question authority and this can make us quiet or less likely to discuss classwork with a teacher. Allowing group study, group discussion, and group collaboration means we can approach the teacher as a group, which is less alienating and uncomfortable for some.
  • Take time to learn how to pronounce your Māori and Pacific students’ names, and encourage them to correct you until you get it right!
  • Use examples that relate to us. For example, using Māori or Pacific names in questions, math problems using food that we eat, physics problems about coconuts falling from a coconut tree just to name a few.
  • Have an understanding of the broad range of responsibilities and extra-curricular commitments our Māori and Pacific students have. Things such as church, family commitments, funerals, weddings, and family illness can mean something very different for Māori and Pacific students. Our commitments can be huge, so please be understanding.
  • To find out some more – ask your students what they’d like to see! Also, a Google search can bring up some great articles, workshops, and literature from esteemed Māori and Pacific educators that may help.

School Perspective: Achieving Equity in Schools

James Hargest College

Anna McDowall - Deputy Principal

Ngā Puna o Waiōrea | Western Springs College

Kathryn Jenkin - Co-Head of Department Science

Bayfield High School

Mark Jones - Principal

Community Perspective: Models of Success

Amanaki STEM Academy

Viliami Teumohenga and Tanya Koro are the passionate parents who created the Amanaki STEM Academy (ASA) project which began as a homework group with their children and a few of the neighbours' kids studying around the kitchen table. Today, Amanaki has 51 registered students from around the Manawatū region. The Amanaki vision is to normalise excellence in STEM for Pasifika secondary school students by instilling strong values in students’ character and to strengthen their overall wellbeing - mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In 2018, Viliami was the recipient of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pacific Education Award at The Sunpix Awards.

For more information about Amanaki STEM Academy visit their website at www.amanakistem.org.nz.

Pūhoro STEM Academy

Naomi Manu is the Director of the Pūhoro STEM Academy which is hosted at Massey University. Their vision is to be the centre of excellence for Māori STEM achievement in Aotearoa. The Academy was launched in 2015 with 97 rangatahi from Manawatū schools. In May 2021, Hon. Kelvin Davis, Associate Minister of Education announced a financial support package where the Academy will receive $2.97m over the next three years allowing it to grow their reach from 1,000 students to 5,000 students across Aotearoa.

Meschka Seifritz joined the Pūhoro programme whilst a year 11 high school student. She is now in her final year studying within the field of Environmental Studies at Massey University. She’s currently a STEM tutor for rangatahi in the Pūhoro programme and supports the coordination of STEM tutor delivery in Pūhoro across the country.

Meschka has recently been awarded a Tuia Mayoral Mentoring Award which will allow her to be mentored by the Palmerston North Mayor, which will further grow her leadership and community engagement skills.

For more information about Pūhoro STEM Academy visit their website at www.puhoro.co.nz or you can read about their mahi on the Beehive website.

Industry Perspective

Genesis Energy

Michaela Latimer is employed as the Pou Hapori (Community Liason Manager) for Genesis. Michaela is passionate about enabling people and communities to flourish, and her work, governance and voluntary involvement is woven with roles and projects in community organisations, mostly focussed on the environment and young people.

Action Stations: What Next

Rawiri Gibson

Rawiri Gibson is a Principal Analyst at NZQA where he is helping lead the organisation’s focus on Equity.

Rawiri facilitated the final session of the day and attendees were asked to share potential actions they might take as a result of what they had learnt. They were provided Action Stations Feedback cards and asked to hand these in on their way out.

Actions to support Māori and Pacific student success in STEM

At the end of the Symposium, attendees were asked to consider sharing their thoughts about actions they might take to support Māori and Pacific student success in STEM.  Over 140 attendees from across 80 organisations provided feedback.  These organisations including secondary schools, wharekura, tertiary education organisations, universities, government agencies, sector-related organisations and STEM academies.

There were many ‘gems’ that people shared, with some of the most frequently raised actions including:

  • Focusing on reducing or eliminating streaming
  • Holding discussions with colleagues and/or Senior Leadership Teams to encourage change.
  • Building stronger relationships with Māori and Pacific students
  • Setting and expressing higher expectations for Māori and Pacific student success
  • Embracing disaggregated data to understand what’s happening to Māori and Pacific students as they progress, and using this to inform actions/planning/programming
  • Focusing on STEM and STEM careers to be sure programmes of learning align with expressed student career outcomes/preferences
  • Making learning more relevant and developing resources that better engage Māori and Pacific students with STEM learning
  • Improving the support structures available to students.

If you have any questions or comment about the event, please email stemsymposium@nzqa.govt.nz

 
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