Te Whāriki in Aotearoa New Zealand: Witnessing and Resisting Neo-liberal and Neo-colonial Discourses in Early Childhood Education
This chapter argues that Aotearoa New Zealand is the place/space of neoliberal and neo-colonial practices that shape childhoods, and analyzes the bicultural early childhood curriculum framework Te Whāriki as an agent that both witnesses and resists these practices. Early years settings in Aotearoa New Zealand work with and alongside Te Whāriki (Ministry of Education, 1996). They resemble and relive the country’s histories, and various shifts from Indigenous, through colonial, to free-market, contemporary neo-colonial, and neo-liberal realities. These shifts have not been smooth or easy progressions, but, as outlined in this chapter, they are complex stories of colonization and subjugation, dominance, partnerships, failed promises, and resistance. I argue that Te Whāriki has become a witness and a resistant force in relation to the neoliberal turn that has been influencing educational policy in Aoteaora New Zealand since the 1980s (Codd, 2008).