Cairo, Egypt isn’t a place you would normally associate with lectures on the Māori traditions of oral storytelling and how it’s conveyed through e-learning.
But the ancient North African city was where Te Wānanga o Aotearoa kaiwhakahaere ako Kararaina Rangihau delivered an award-winning presentation on that very topic.
The Whirikoka-based manager education delivery, film-maker, PhD candidate and TWoA rangahau tauira, spoke at the 40th International Society for Engineering Research and Development (ISERD) conference in July.
ISERD is primarily aimed at developing networks in the sciences and engineering fields, but it also encourages regional and international communication and collaboration to promote professional interaction and lifelong learning.
Kararaina’s presentation Cultural Covergence E-Learning at ISERD’s International Conference of Education and E-Learning won the award for best presentation/best content.
Her presentation focused on how film was an extension of the Māori tradition of oral storytelling.
This, she said, has played a major role in Māori education and has had a profound contribution to language revitalisation and cultural convergence.
“Film is the educational medium that visually connects Māori in the 21st century to the realm of their ancestors - I believe film is an extension of our oral traditions and it carries with it the wairua of our tipuna,” said Kararaina.
While film is her preferred medium, Kararaina argues that E-Learning is the new classroom and the tool by which traditional Māori stories are dissemintated throughout the world.
“Digital media and multimedia plays a huge role in informing and educating and understanding knowledge for our tauira and our communities,” said Kararaina.
“It takes us outside of the marae environs to the rest of the world.”
“We have been an urban-based population for over 50 years but now we are a global population with Māori living all over the world that can’t come back to the marae.”
“But E-learning keeps them in touch, helps them maintain ties to their tipuna and marae – all of the things that relate to their cultural heritage.”
Kararaina, who has written, directed and produced short dramas – all in te reo Māori, said with the advent of E-Learning her tribal oral history continues to be a source of inspiration not only for her tribal members - but for many indigenous cultures.
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