Topic: Education

Tolaga Bay set to benefit from revolutionary maths philosophy

By Aroha Treacher
  • North Island: East Coast

Tolaga Bay is set to benefit from a maths philosophy developed by Dr Roberta Hunter that draws on Māori patterns and culture to help raise the achievement levels of Māori in maths.

Dr Roberta Hunter reinvented the maths wheel to work specifically with Māori and Pasifika children.

"Māori really are very strong and very good at maths. What they need help is to actually to get the teachers to actually look at what they come, what they already know and hear their voice and move them forward, so it's really them being given opportunities to use the maths they already have."

Her philosophy uses their culture and everyday environment to work through mathematics like algebra as an example.

"A lot of the patterns that they see on mats and in carvings and even the haka has repeating patterns that grow so if you actually start from the patterns they know already and then work towards to the more school-based ones, they're going to be winners."

Hunter's maths philosophy is currently in 52 schools throughout New Zealand and will begin at Tolaga Bay Area School next term.

Tolaga Bay and Kahukuranui teacher Te Rau Ngata says, "It's beneficial because it awakens the mind of the teacher, whether that be the parents of the teacher, to connect the child's world to their work at school."

Case studies in South Auckland schools with large Māori populations show the achievement of the students was equivalent to several years' progress in just one year.