Wairua: Te ātaahua kaiwhatu = The beautiful weaver: Incorporating wairua into tertiary education

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Authors
Le Cong, Katrina
Author ORCID Profiles (clickable)
Degree
Master of Occupational Therapy
Grantor
Otago Polytechnic
Date
2022
Supervisors
Tokolahi, Ema
Sunderland, James
Type
Masters Thesis
Ngā Upoko Tukutuku (Māori subject headings)
Keyword
Aotearoa
New Zealand
occupational therapy education
occupational therapy
spirituality in education
tertiary education
spirituality
Citation
Le Cong, K. (2022). Wairua: Te ātaahua kaiwhatu = The beautiful weaver: Incorporating wairua into tertiary education. (Unpublished document submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Occupational Therapy). Otago Polytechnic, New Zealand. https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.5844
Abstract
RESEARCH AIMS AND QUESTION • To better understand wairua in the tertiary education context • To better understand what the outcomes for tauira are when wairua is incorporated • To explore and articulate ways in which we, as tertiary educators, can incorporate wairua into our own education space How are we incorporating wairua in tertiary education and what are the outcomes? ABSTRACT Within Aotearoa New Zealand there is an increasing discussion on the importance of including spirituality into health and education. Occupational therapists have responded to this recent kōrero and are including spirituality within their practice recognizing the alignment between spirituality and occupation. Spirituality may be relatively new to the education and health worlds, but within te ao Māori it is deeply embedded in historical knowledge. The term which best captures and understands this essential element is wairua. Wairua is recognised as fundamental within the lived reality of Māori. Wairua, however, has been excluded from tertiary education or engaged with as an intellectual exercise with little research on the impact of including wairua into tertiary education. The aim of this research was to explore how we are incorporating wairua into tertiary education and what the outcomes are. Further aims of the research included to better understand wairua in the tertiary education context, to better understand what the outcomes for tauira are when wairua is incorporated and to explore and articulate ways in which we, as tertiary educators, can incorporate wairua into our own education space. A co-research partnership was developed between a Pākehā researcher and takata whenua co-researcher using action research methodology and whakawhiti kōrero as a data collection method. Data was then analysed using the Qualitative Analysis Guide of Leuven (QUAGOL). Five hui were held with six participants. Participants engaged in a whakawhiti kōrero process discussing their developing understanding of wairua and deciding on weekly actions to add, remove, modify, or notice within the classroom. These actions were then incorporated by the researchers and reflected on in the following hui. Through the research process participants demonstrated a deepening understanding and recognition of wairua within tertiary education and their own lives. Findings also suggest that with incorporation of wairua in tertiary education whanaukataka was created and a drive to act was experienced. These findings indicate a need to incorporate wairua into tertiary education to create a culturally responsive education space. Recommendations for incorporation of wairua began with the call for all tertiary educators to embrace their own wairua. Further recommendations comprised the inclusion of te reo Māori, tikaka, mātauraka Māori and a focus on whakawhanaukataka. Regular opportunities for tauira to connect inside and outside the classroom were also recommended, as was the honouring of time and space and lastly an awareness of how wairua can be hurt and subsequently healed. It is hoped these recommendations will guide the embracing and weaving of wairua into all tertiary education spaces. We have an opportunity to rewrite current tertiary education practices to see all who enter tertiary education flourish within a wairua based classroom and engage in the meaningful and transformational process of education.
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Link to ePress publication
DOI
https://doi.org/10.34074/thes.5844
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