Waikato Journal of Education
Journal cover


Physical education
Student voice
Curriculum policy


Discussion surrounding the concept of Hauora (Durie, 1994) in the document Health and Physical Education in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 1999) has been controversial. Some writers have praised or justified its inclusion (Culpan, 1996/1997; Tasker, 1996/1997; Tinning, MacDonald, Wright & Hickey, 2001), while others accuse the writers of tokenism and misappropriation of indigenous knowledge (Hokowhitu, 2004; Salter, 2000). While existing at a political level, these debates have generally ignored student responses to and interactions with Hauora. Thus, this article intervenes in the existing debate and makes the case for the inclusion of student perspectives.  My claims are made on the basis of a study into the perspectives of Mäori and Pasifika students of physical education in New Zealand. The experiences of these students are related to the theory of hybridity (Besley, 2002; Bhabha, 1994), which suggests that young people actively negotiate and make critical decisions about what they think is relevant to them.  I argue that the debate surrounding the concept of Hauora needs to include students' perspectives and consideration of the agency of young people in interactions with curriculum concepts.

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