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Kia Aroha College’s Warrior Researchers have been in demand over the last few years, presenting their research at major national conferences and to visitors to the school. Obviously, this is the result of months of work by our students, supported by the wider staff. The Warrior-Researchers’ work both arises from the philosophy and practice of Kia Aroha College – and contributes to further evolving that practice and experience within the school.

It comes out of a decision to place culture and cultural identity intentionally at the centre of curriculum design, and not as an incidental outcome of it. This is our school’s philosophy and curriculum in action.


In 2018 our Warrior-Researchers investigated racism and how it impacts their daily lives as young, Maori, Tongan, and Samoan learners who live in Otara and other parts of South Auckland, asking Does Transformation Depend on our Postcode? They presented their findings as Keynote speakers at three national adult education conferences in 2018. Their Keynote presentation to the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE) is available for viewing here.

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Warrior Researcher, Adrienne Fakatava, in Year 12 at the time of her presentation last year, has this to say about her experience:

To be honest I am glossophobic when it comes to standing up in front of a big crowd and speaking, but being in the Warrior Researchers Group has been able to boost my confidence. Even though it took many hours of practising to get my tone of voice changing and to start using more expression in my speech, in the end I got there and was able to stand up at the AUT South Campus conference late last year in Term 4 2018 and also at the Wellington and Auckland conferences in July of last year and be able to proudly present my research as a young Tongan warrior scholar and a leader who is currently attending Kia Aroha College. I am so thankful for the very hardworking woman Dr Ann Milne who chooses to still give back to Kia Aroha College through working with the Warrior Researchers Group, especially pushing me to practise more and more until the end I had made a huge improvement in my presentation of my speech, changing my tone of voice when I needed to. I am glad that I chose to be in the Warrior Researchers group because it has helped me to stand up and speak out to professors from university about my group’s research about the racism in our healthcare, racism in our education system, and telling them that the Whiteness of our education system needs to be fixed instead of them focusing on us.


In 2017 our Warrior-Researchers' work was published by Te Ipu Kererū - the blog of the New Zealand Association for Research in Education (NZARE).  The Warrior-Researchers presented their findings about Communities of Learning as a 90 minute Symposium at the 2017 NZARE Conference. The Warrior-Researchers' seven presentations can be read here


We were very proud to find that our students' research was the work read the most in 2017 by members of this highly academic university-level association - read we are told, over 10,000 times! This is what the Te Ipu Kereru said about our students:

Our most-read contribution this year has been the seven-part blog series written by the 2017 warrior-researchers of Kia Aroha College. These Year 12 and 13 students conducted remarkable research into their own local, national and political contexts using youth participatory action research methodology, mentored by NZARE member Dr Ann Milne. We are delighted to see that their work has been the most-read content in the first year of our blog. Ngā mihi nunui rawa ki a koutou!