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Monday, March 15, 2021

Media Release

Media release issued by Te Whāriki Takapou. 

Te Whāriki Takapou has launched a new te reo Māori sexuality education

programme, ‘Te Ira Tangata (Tau 9 & 10)’ for Māori-medium schools. Funded by the

Ministry of Health, the programme took two years to produce, in partnership with wharekura

and kura kaupapa Māori teachers, boards of trustees, and whānau.


Professor Mera Penehira, chair of the Board of Te Whāriki Takapou and who has a daughter

in Year 13 at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi Marae, says she is proud of the new Dr Mera Penehira

programme ‘Te Ira Tangata (Tau 9 & 10)’, along with Te Ira Tangata (Tau 7 & 8) which was

launched in 2018. Penehira says the response from Māori-medium schools to Te Ira Tangata

(Tau 7 & 8) has been extremely positive. This is in part, she says, because both programmes

incorporate Te Aho Matua and align to Te Marautanga and other key Māori education and te

reo Māori strategies and guidelines.


Māori student success at Māori-medium schools is remarkable. All the evidence indicates

that Māori students who speak te reo Māori and are strong in their identity do well across all

domains of life, including health and wellbeing. Despite this, and four decades of underfunded

te reo Māori revitalisation through kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori, Penehira

says Māori-medium schools are still getting a raw deal.


This year the Ministry of Education contracted for resources to support teachers to deliver

healthy relationships and sexuality education in English-medium schools. However, no

contract was let to support teachers at Māori-medium schools. Last year the Ministry of

Education launched the new curriculum leads for relationships and sexuality education but it

is unclear what expertise, if any, will go to teachers at Māori-medium schools.


Meanwhile, Penehira says next year is the start of the United Nations International Decade of

Indigenous Languages, and it’s time the government delivered on Te Tiriti o Waitangi and

the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Māori health

organisations like Te Whāriki Takapou work with Māori communities to produce

programmes like Te Ira Tangata, but there’s no agreed strategy between the Ministry of

Health and the Ministry of Education to support healthy relationships and sexuality education

in Māori-medium schools. Penehira says it’s time Minister Davis, Associate Minister, Māori

Education, worked with the Hon. Minister Hipkins, Minister of Education, to resource and

support teachers in Māori-medium schools to teach Te Ira Tangata and similar mātauranga

Māori-based programmes for the health and wellbeing of Māori students and the

revitalisation of te reo Māori.


Te Ira Tangata (Tau 9 & 10) is available from the Te Whāriki Takapou website

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