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Using pūrākau as a pedagogical strategy to explore Māori cultural identities

Tania Cliffe-Tautari

Pūrākau, or Māori narratives, have shaped the historical accounts of Māori throughout the generations. Yet they have historically been misappropriated, misrepresented, and misinterpreted as “fables” or anecdotes” (Lee, 2008). This article argues that pūrākau remain critical to Māori, as they preserve the cultural repositories of past generations. Not only that, pūrākau offer Māori huge pedagogical potential, as they allow us to transcend time and space (Lee, 2005). Drawing upon research with Year 10 Māori students, this article unpacks how pūrākau as a pedagogical strategy enables Māori learners to explore their own perceptions about being Māori. Practical ideas for teachers in how to support Māori learners to use pūrākau to explore their cultural identities in teaching and learning programmes conclude this article.

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