Topic: Education

Te Mākao Bowkett becomes Doctor of Education

By Heeni Brown

Dr Te Mākao Bowkett hopes her research will empower principals to embrace kaupapa Māori approaches to leadership.

Dr Bowkett says, “I think school leadership can’t reside in one sole individual and non-Māori principals have got to show they’re willing to learn about Māori communities and society.”

The research was based on case studies on an urban kaupapa Māori secondary school. Another part of her research looks at a mainstream school based within a strong Māori community.

“I think school leadership can’t reside in one sole individual and non-Māori principals have got to show they’re willing to learn about Māori communities and society.”

The 58-year-old says her recent capping as Doctor of Education at Massey University is also a dedication to her late husband Jim Bowkett who passed away nine years ago.

Dr Bowkett says both her and her husband have an extensive background in teaching.

Jim Bowkett was former principal of Ngongotaha Primary School and Te Mākao Bowkett is a former Selwyn Primary and Western Heights High School teacher in Rotorua.

She says, “He told me you must record your experience and pass on as much knowledge as you can.”

While her doctorate research entitled Towards collaborative pathways of leadership in education for Māori is a single publication, the Āpiha Māori for Post Primary Teachers Association plans to make more publications relating to her thesis.

She says, “Because there’s so much information in a thesis, there’s a lot of commentary of leadership that works for Māori in auraki (mainstream). The status and future of Te Reo Māori, those areas are about sharing power in leadership in secondary schools. Now I need to break that down and create a simple narrative.”

Dr Te Mākao Bowkett describes herself as being Ngāti Rangiwewehi born and bred with affiliations to Ngāti Parewhero, Te Rārawa, Waikato and Tainui iwi and her motivation for her mahi also extends to her 20-month-old mokopuna Ella Mae Bowkett.

“I’m a lifelong learner it’s about modelling education for our generations coming through. That’s what motivates me.”

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