The Rational of including Culture in our Curriculum:
The process of ‘globalisation’ may have brought together peoples of the world like never before, but it has come at a great price. Cultural traditions that have evolved over thousands of years are being systematically eroded, fragmented and diluted, often to the tune of big business. In the Pacific particularly, western style capitalism is wreaking havoc amongst many island communities. Simply not enough people are being offered the opportunity to participate. Less than one third of work-aged Pacific people are engaged in any sort of formal employment, yet Pacific learning institutions continue to emphasize academic achievement as they churn out an ever increasing number of school leavers that have little hope of meaningful employment. I believe education systems in the Pacific have to be reformed. We need to explore ways to empower young people to participate fully in the life of their communities. Academic subjects will always be essential if we are to participate in a modern world, but equally important for the Pacific peoples are those skills which enable them to explore their innate creativity. Our cultural vision at Araura College is to ensure that education at all levels develops, maintains and strengthens Aitutakian cultural identities; provides new opportunities; and ensures sustainable livelihoods for students.
Our Objectives that we will work on are to:
- Improve on the transmission of cultural values, ethics, skills and knowledge at all levels of the school.
- Develop relationships with existing cultural institutions with a focus of valuing Pacific culture and arts in higher learning (strengthened cultural offerings at the NCEA level).
- Develop and maintain language programmes.
- Implement and maintaining traditional games and sports and sharing them with others.
- Introduce traditional knowledge and life skills programmes.
At the beginning of 2014 the year 10 woodwork class and the year 10 art class began visiting the Punarei Cultural Village. Both classes visited the centre once a week – the carving students worked on a female Aitutakian Tangaroa figure which now stands at the entrance to the site. Students have the opportunity to create carvings which will give them NCEA credits of the New Zealand curriculum. The art class used the unique environment for inspiration for their sketching and in the future will be completing NCEA standards in tapa cloth making and tattoo design.
During 2015 we had a variety of cultural events happening in the school, from dancing competitions to weaving to a traditional day where students took part in traditional games and cooking.
In 2016 we plan to continue the dancer of the year competition, introduce more cultural activities as well as write short story books in Aitutakian Maori.