When a ngarara bit the taniwha's tail: Education, the arts and the third space


In the mid-seventies Arnold Manaaki Wilson began a programme that ran for over two decades and challenged our education system. He described his programme, Te Mauri Pakeaka, as a ngarara, a pesky insect that bit the tail of the sleeping taniwha (monster) that represents Māori knowledge, values and arts within the education processes of Aotearoa. He used the arts as a catalyst for schools and communities to revaluate the role of all things Māori within the education system, and he held his workshops on marae (extended family and tribal home base) throughout the country. Thousands participated: students, teachers, principals, departmental administrators, kaumatua (male elders), parents and artists. However, in the devolution of educational responsibilities that took place under the name of Tomorrow's Schools (Minister of Education, 1988) Arnold was retired and the programme stopped. The legacy lives in the altered awareness of participants, in the arts works in whare kai (dining rooms) around the country, and in ways of exploring dance and drama, but, while Arnold's reputation as an artist is widely acknowledged, his role as an educator and as an agent of educational change is not. Perhaps it was too challenging?


@ The University of Waikato