chapter  10
7 Pages

Bring your grandmother to the examination: Te Reo O Te Tai Tokerau Project, New Zealand

What makes this project unique, and good, is the successful efforts made to produce a culturally-sensitive style of assessment. This style respects Maori traditions and conceptions of knowledge, learning and assessment in a manner which is politically appropriate. The manner is appropriate for me, anyway, because it empowers the owners of the language — the people of the Tai Tokerau — to have a part in the assessment events themselves as well as a very significant say in the lexical and grammatical content of the Maori language used. The content is worth mentioning here because the tribal, dialectical forms which characterize the geographical area of Northland are the ones used by the assessors and the candidates. It was the people of the Tai Tokerau (Northland) who helped decide what dialectical forms of the Maori language should be used. The preservation of the Tai Tokerau dialect, partly through the instrument of the School Certificate examination, is one of the extra-educational dimensions to this exercise. In passing, also note that one of the reasons why other tribal groups have expressed interest in the project is the strong desire to preserve and expand the Maori language in general and their tribal forms in particular.