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The Ruamano Project: Raising Expectations, Realising Community Aspirations and Recognising Gifted Potential in Māori Boys

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 October 2018

Melinda Webber*
Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand
Tracy Riley
Faculty of Education, Massey University, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
Katrina Sylva
Media Studies, Dargaville High School, Dargaville 0310, New Zealand
Emma Scobie-Jennings
Gifted and Talented Education, Bream Bay College, Ruakaka 0116, New Zealand
address for correspondence: Melinda Webber, Faculty of Education, University of Auckland, Auckland 1142, New Zealand. Email:
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When gifted Māori students feel they belong and find their realities reflected in the curriculum, conversations and interactions of schooling, they are more likely to engage in programmes of learning and experience greater school success. This article reports on a teacher-led project called the Ruamano Project, which investigated whether Maker and Zimmerman's (2008) Real Engagement in Active Problem Solving model (REAPS) could be adapted successfully to identify talents and benefit the student achievement and engagement of Māori boys in two rural Northland, New Zealand secondary school contexts. The project aimed to implement Treaty of Waitangi-responsive and place-based science practices by improving home–school–community relationships through the authentic engagement of whānau and iwi into the schools’ planning, implementation and evaluation of a REAPS unit. As a result of this innovation, teachers’ perceptions of Māori boys shifted, their teaching practices changed, more junior secondary Māori boys were identified as gifted by way of improved academic performance, and iwi and community members were engaged in co-designing the inquiry projects. Our research indicated that the local adaptation of the REAPS model was effective in engaging and promoting the success of gifted and talented Māori boys.

Research Article
Copyright © The Author(s) 2018

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