Te Kawa o Te Ako

Out of Whakatupuranga Rua Mano: Generation 2000 came the commitment expressed in the following principle:

The marae is our principal home, maintain and respect

This has many implications for the way in which tangata whenua and manuhiri will act on marae. In tikanga Māori, an accepted practice, procedure or protocol is known as a 'kawa'. Each marae or wähi Māori has its own kawa. The maintenance and adherence to the kawa is important to the tangata whenua of that place. To infringe on the kawa of a particular place demeans the home people. The tangata whenua will take steps to reaffirm their kawa. It may lead to a rebuke of the offending party right there and then, or the reaction may be delayed for maximum effect.

All marae seek to uphold kawa and at Te Wānanga o Raukawa we enforce Te Kawa o te Ako. They are the practices, procedures and protocols which protect and maximise the learning and teaching potential of students and staff of Te Wānanga o Raukawa. In particular, it aims to curb activity reducing the capacity to learn and teach.

One dimension of Te Kawa o te Ako, is that those who feel they cannot abstain from using drugs and alcohol should stay away. Those who disregard Te Kawa o te Ako put themselves and their whānau at risk of being challenged by those who feel the need to uphold Te Kawa o te Ako. The timing of the challenge may be selected to achieve maximum impact on the person who has 'broken the kawa'.

It is important to understand that the defenders of Te Kawa o te Ako need not explain themselves. It is up to everyone to know the kawa of the place they are at. Ignorance of kawa is no excuse. Everyone is expected to respect the kawa of that place.

Mutual respect and pursuit of understanding enhance mana. The adequate and appropriate defence of kawa is expected and admired by others who will allow their behaviour to be influenced by it. Perceptions of weakness with respect to the maintenance of kawa will reduce the admiration felt by observers.

The use of drugs and the consumption of alcohol impede effective learning and teaching. Not only are users of drugs and consumers of alcohol reducing their own learning capacity, they are a risk to others. It is our view at Te Wānanga o Raukawa that alcohol reduces the capacity to act responsibly, and can lead to property damage and inappropriate behaviour.