Some major topics have been tackled at Nga Pumanawa e Waru's inaugural education conference, with acclaimed scholar Sir Mason Durie leading a discussion on iwi involvement in education.

The conference was held at the Holiday Inn in Rotorua yesterday and was attended by about 250 people.

Participants at the conference. Photo / Stephen Parker
Participants at the conference. Photo / Stephen Parker

Nga Pumanawa e Waru is an educational initiative, born out of Excel Rotorua's e-learning project, with the aim of transforming educational outcomes for learners and whanau across the city's schools and kura.

Sir Mason touched on the contributions iwi have made to education in the past 200 years, as well as what educational opportunities for rangitahi (youth) and iwi could look like in the future.

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"The potential for collaboration between iwi and educators is huge, it's a two-way street. Iwi have made significant contributions in the last 200 years and will continue to do so to secure the futures of our rangitahi.

"Education is incredibly important when it comes to iwi development so now is the time to find out what that could look like moving forward."

He told the Rotorua Daily Post it was important for iwi not to be trapped by what education looked like today.

"Just because the main-stream education system is shaped the way it is today, doesn't mean it will look like that tomorrow.

"We are seeing some great trends as the New Zealand education system loosens up and is open to education approaches not yet available."

Sir Mason was joined by a panel of experts, Lady Arohia Durie, Associate Professor Mere Berryman and Professor Angus Macfarlane, who each spoke before opening the session up to questions.

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Some of the questions included the compatibility between iwi engagement and digital learning, how rangitahi can be catered for in an outcome-focused education sector and how iwi knowledge can be protected in a partnership with schools.

Sir Mason said iwi were "extremely digitally literate, but e-learning in itself is not an end point, rather a tool".

In response to a question about teaching in an outcome-focused sector, Ms Berryman said it was about identifying the right actions.

"We do want outcomes for our youth but we also want them to explore and expand their identity as Maori."

Discussion topics:

* Iwi involvement in education

* Leadership future mindset

* Future focused learning

* Covey's seven habits