Open Collective
Open Collective
Kia Kotahi Ako - Impact Report
Published on June 10, 2024 by Te Waiora Wanoa-Sundgren


Impact Opportunity

“We are also raising awareness of the ever-increasing importance of rising to opportunities for meaningful change in ways that, led by a kaupapa Māori approach, can create equitable solutions in our schools and communities.” - Joanne McEachen (Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, and Ngāi Tahu) Chair, Kia Kotahi Ako Trust

The first Aotearoa National Adaptation Plan (2022) acknowledges that Māori will be disproportionately affected by climate change and outlines key actions that include developing and using Mātauranga Māori and supporting resilient communities which align with this project.

Kia Kotahi Ako is ensuring there is an equitable and accelerated transition, inspiring and enabling Rangatahi Maōri to design, change and lead the system. Therefore the We Share Solar programme, having been developed in Taranaki, is an important catalyst to drive the change needed in the energy sector. A skilled Taranaki workforce is required to rapidly transition from fossil fuels to 100% renewable by 2030 yet there is currently a shortage of skilled workers in the renewable energy sector, particularly in the areas of engineering, science, and technology (MBIE, 2018).

This approach uses a hands-on STEM* programme where students build solar panel kits, take action on climate change and become solution thinkers of the future. The programme will be co-designed with the whānau whānui of Te Pihipihinga Kakano Mai i Rangiatea, the Kahui Ako that Te Pihipihinga is part of and in collaboration with matauranga Māori science advisors.

*STEM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.

“We were delighted to recruit, train and support a former tauira from the kura as the kaituitui project coordinator. Our kaituitui has really jumped into this new project with great enthusiasm and commitment, despite it being a big career change. It has been wonderful to see her develop her skills and demonstrate her commitment to Te Ao Māori, rangatahi and STEM careers.” 
- Sarah Grant, CEO Kia Kotahi Ako

Project Outputs

The international We Share Solar programme was redesigned and contextualised to fit Māori medium learning environments through a mātauranga Māori aronga, embedded and implemented within TPKMIR’s (Te Pi’ipi’hinga Kākano Mai i Rangiātea) marautanga Aho Matua.

Specifically in Taranaki, the funding has enabled a kaituitui (project coordinator), a former student, to coordinate the introduction of the programme at Te Pi’ipi’inga Kakano Mai Rangiātea. This work included translating lesson plans and the student guide into te reo Māori and planning the regional scaling of this programme with other kura and wider partners. Initially, the pilot’s primary focus has been tauira in years 6-8. 

 Programme principles: 

  • engaging a tuakana teina approach whereby ex tauira (former students) supported the delivery of akoranga and programme development including translation and manual design creating an enriching educational experience. 

  •  utlise a hands-on STEM approach to learning. Students and whānau build solar panel kits, other topics covered include: solar suitcases, solar energy and Just Transition, and encourage ākonga to understand energy use and inspire action.

    Project Outcomes

  • As a new programme offering, Kia Kotahi Ako is developing the implementation of their outcomes framework to better understand what changes for students and whanau who engage. As a preliminary source of impact indicators the following snapshot from the Taranaki participants and gives a sense of outcomes being achieved:

    • 83% of tauira enjoyed climate change kaupapa, of that 83%, 33% indicated a very high level of interest in this kaupapa.

    • 50% of students want to follow a career pathway in climate change and/or renewable energy.

    • Overall, tauira told us they really enjoyed hands-on learning and applied practice across the learning modules.

    • Some tauira indicated a specific interest in electrical and engineering innovations.

“I tino rata ki au te rawake haere ki te suitcase. Ka tino pai ki au ngā momo mahi pūkaha, nō reira i tino pai ki au tēnei kaupapa” / “I really enjoyed getting to tinker with the suitcase. I enjoy doing engineering things, so this was fun.” - Tauira/student
“The advancement of this programme in New Zealand Aotearoa is truly inspiring to us. Students turning their new learning and advocacy into action is the very best outcome any of us could hope to have.” 
- Gigi Goldman, We Share Solar Co-Founder.

“It was a real privilege and inspiring to visit the pilot kura in Taranaki and meet the teachers and students. It is also wonderful to see the connections and interest developing in this project from partners in the renewable energy sector.” 
- Barry Neal, We Share Solar Board Member and Kia Kotahi Ako Advisor

“Ko te wawata mō tēnei kaupapa te whakatō ai mai te kōhanga reo, ki te wharekura ki te whare wānanga, ā tōna wā ka whai oranga i roto i tēnei momo mahi hei kaitiaki mō te taiao. Kaore he wahi tū atu i kōnei mo tēnei akoranga. E tino hikaka au ki tēnei kaupapa”. [“My aspirations for this kaupapa is to embed these learnings from kōhanga reo to high school, to university and create a career pathway for our tamariki in this  sector. There’s no better place than kura kaupapa to implement this programme. I am very excited for our tamariki and whānau.”] 
- Te Pi’ipi’inga Kakano Mai Rangiātea Principal, Moana Kake-Tuffley

Key Learning & Opportunities

Foundation of trusted relationships within kura

The Tomorrows Schools Report acknowledges the crown provision for kura kaupapa schooling has been inadequate and poor. This was evident during the pilot. As staffing capacity issues became apparent and the project encountered delays and required an extension. However, the recruitment of Te Waiora Wanoa-Sundgren as project coordinator meant the team were able to support a new taiao teacher who brought in additional expertise and insights to the programme. These staffing challenges highlighted the necessity for additional support in terms of technical expertise and resources to guarantee the project's long-term sustainability.

“It's gone slower than we hope. But actually being able to take it step by step and being really intentional with bringing the right partners together, you know, We're really excited by what this could spark in terms of opportunities.”
- Sarah Grant, CEO, Kia Kotahi Ako

The Energy sector is knocking on the door to equip 2050 leaders

Kia Kotahi Ako are beginning to form strong relationships across the Energy sector. Furthermore the team have heard from these potential partners about the need to connect rangatahi with energy sector leaders in order to support STEM career pathways. This initial sector enthusiasm is met with similar enthusiasm from kura principal Moana Kake-Tuffley, who is keen to see a strong career pathway form. Whilst this initial enthisiam is a positive indicator that there is plenty of opportunity the team at Kia Kotahi Ako acknowledge that they will need to ensure kura are not swamped in demands before a strong foundation of trusted relationships is in place.

"We're really excited for the next stage, with Taranaki’s 2050 strategies. That’s not that far away. So the students that we're working with now, would be in theory be coming into their careers and leadership in 2050. We need to open up these ideas now, especially as, the economy changing. So education has to keep up with the skills needed in the future.” - Sarah Grant CEO, Kia Kotahi Ako

Next generation of indigenous innovators at Te Pihipihinga Kākano Mai I Rangiātea Kura Kaupapa Māori