Te Mauri Pakeaka
Arnold Wilson and Janinka Greenwood
Te Mauri Pakeaka tells the story of Pakeaka, an innovative educational programme and a slowly awakening taniwha. Developed by Arnold Wilson in the late 1970s, Te Mauri Pakeaka offered a ‘third space’ in which students, teachers and the wider community could create artworks, but it also became a forum for exploring identity, fostering growth and strengthening the meeting-places between Maori and Pakeha.
The term ‘pakeaka’ refers to the pause for re-assessment that occurs before a conflict, allowing the possibility – the hope – of an outcome where conflict is avoided. The Pakeaka project did indeed offer this sort of re-assessment, being an opportunity for Maori and Pakeha alike to engage with Maori values, approaches to learning, art making and culture, often in a marae setting.
Te Mauri Pakeaka describes the development of the programme around the country, from Waitangi to Rotorua, until its demise in 1988 with the closure of the Department of Education, and explores the nature of this third space where Maori and Pakeha cultures can meet. Te Mauri Pakeaka is both a historical record and a starting place for further discussion of Maori education, the teaching of art, and race relations in New Zealand.
Te Mauri Pakeaka is both an historical record and a starting place for further discussion of Maori education, the teaching of art, and race relations in New Zealand. It deserves to be read and seen on bookshelves in every staffroom and school library. It is a Record of Achievement deserving ‘Excellence’ on the report card. – Susan Battye, Drama NZ Online