Tino Rangatiratanga: What is it? Remember This 1 Important Thing and You’ll Be Golden

Get my eBook on Learner-Centred Teaching
What is Tino Rangatiratanga

Learner success

Learner centred
Get my eBook on Learner-Centred Teaching

What is Tino Rangatiratanga?

This is part of a series of learner success and learner centred teaching.

Tino rangatiratanga means self-determination.

Self Determination

Tino rangatiratanga refers to determination by Māori of issues that impact on Māori.

Taken literally, rangatira means chief and -tanga implies the quality or attributes of chieftainship. When you add tino in this context means the phrase can be translated as ‘absolute/unqualified chieftainship’.

The closest English translation is self-determination. And this extends to the learners’ right to define their powers of decision-making, leading to their independence.

How does this help describe a learner-centred teaching environment?

Tino rangatiratanga helps describe a learner-centred teaching environment because we want to develop independent learners who can make their own decisions about their training and lives in general.

This is particularly important for Māori and other learners who have not been served well by our institutions.

We need to develop learners who have the ability to make choices and exercise a high degree of control, such as what they do and how they do it.

How can you support Tino Rangatiratanga

We can support self-determination by:

  • Providing positive opportunities for our learners to be challenged, such as leadership opportunities,
  • Providing appropriate feedback
  • Establishing and maintaining good relationships between teachers and students.

How do these help?

These strategies can increase learners’ interest, competence, creativity and desire to be challenged. They also help ensure that students are intrinsically (internally) motivated to study.

On the other hand, learners who lack self-determination are more likely to feel that any kind of success is out of their control. These learners lose motivation to study, which causes them to feel helpless and believe that they will fail. This becomes another self-fulfilling prophecy and the vicious circle of low achievement continues.

  1. What choices did your learners make to end up where they are now?
  2. What do you do to develop independent learners who can see that they have options and choices in their study, work, and life?

How can you use Tino Rangatiratanga to create learner success?



Get my eBook on learner-centred teaching.
Includes a section on Tino Rangatiratanga

Click I Want This below for more.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

8 thoughts

  1. Tino rangatiratanga is also deeply political, having arisen in response to the Crown over Te Tiriti issues. If tino rangatiratanga is theorised as it is in this case as being about self-determination in an education setting for learners, then for them to enact tino rangatiratanga theirs must be in response to issues rooted in Te Tiriti – otherwise it’s not tino rangatiratanga.

    1. Hi Huku. Thanks for these comments. This is important and I will incorporate your comments into the next version. I tend to post things here as a kind of first draft for comment – so this is helpful for my process. Thanks again and kind regards, Graeme

      1. Kia ora Graeme, apologies I just reread and realised I came off a bit curt eeek! I really enjoy the ways you are determining meaning for these concepts with the outcome of tranforming educative practice. Ka rawe koe!!!

      2. Kia ora Huka. Not at all…! I appreciated your comments. I’m still very much a learner when it comes to this content. And as a Pakeha I feel uncomfortable writing about this. But I also know that a large part of my audience are also Pakeha who are empathetic towards these concepts, particularly as they apply to education. The trouble is it’s sometimes hard for people to find ways of understanding. In education, it gets murkier at times as some of the terminology gets used in a way that might be different to more traditional understanding. Ako and tuakana-teina is another example that comes to mind. I’ve been at hui when I’ve heard Kaumatua say that these concepts should not be used outside of the marae. However, these are hard-wired into our unit standards in an education setting – for better or worse. So it’s necessary to engage with them. I haven’t re-posted it here, but I have modified this section of the new course to incorporate what you’ve pointed out. Most people don’t take the time to comment, so I appreciate the time and effort involved when people do. Kia pa to ra…! Cheers, Kereama

  2. Self-determination implies recognition of a superior political power external to the indigenous people that allows a degree of local decision-making, i.e. the settler state. Tino Rangatiratanga is more closely related to the concept of sovereignty, in that it means that there is no entity superior to the group of people who have it. Although there are ways to exercise Tino Rangatiratanga within the current state, i.e. self-determination, in its ultimate form Tino Rangatiratanga demands total self-government, self-management, self-reliance and independence, i.e. the formation of a seperate indigenous government and nation that is a state, in and of itself.

Leave a Reply