A new book born out of Rotorua is guiding the early years' education sector to practise culturally responsive learning and teaching.
The book refers to a Ngāti Rangiwewehi tupuna, Hikairo, as an exemplary figure around which the content is based.
The The Hikairo Schema was reaffirmed for publication at a tribal meeting at the weekend and Te Maru o Ngāti Rangiwewehi chairman Joe Tuhakaraina said the iwi was always enthusiastic about educational advancement and the publication added to it.
The adaptable guide invites kaiako (teachers) to rethink approaches to engaging tamariki, re-envisage the teacher and learner dynamic, revise old habits, and reconfigure learning environments to acknowledge and embrace cultural differences.
The appetite for cultural ways of knowing and doing is stronger than ever before believes lead author, Māori research Professor Angus Macfarlane.
"This impacts on the way systems are responding to the diverse range of children attending early learning centres and their whānau."
He said working on the book had linked to the "what" of the New Zealand early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki.
"It has reminded the authors, the research team and advisers of the importance of growing awareness of the dynamic and evolving realities of Māori culture, knowledge, and understanding.
"The book is the start of a series. The appetite is across the sector, and we are keen to oblige."
University of Canterbury early childhood lecturer Benita Rarere-Briggs said: "Throughout the text, the centrality of relationships is embraced as critical to early years education, but the literature, and the data that were presented to us, encouraged a theorisation towards relationships as a methodology."
In that regard, six co-existing components of a model are introduced, described, and explained, to support the creation of a Schema, a step-by-step guide for teachers to aid culturally responsive teaching and learning in early childhood education settings.
Early Childhood New Zealand spokeswoman Dr Lesley Rameka wrote the book's foreword.
"The guide helps teachers to plan for and construct young children's learning and development in partnership with tamariki and whānau, while providing a Māori lens through which to assess professional practice."
The book was introduced at the Early Years Hui in Christchurch, attended by 350 delegates.
The Hikairo Schema: Culturally responsive teaching and learning in early childhood education settings was written by Angus Macfarlane, Sonja Macfarlane, Sharlene Teirney, JR Kuntz, Benita Rarere-Briggs, Marika Currie, Roimata Macfarlane.