Reimagining education with Dorothy Taare-Smith:Takiwātanga and community-based support


  • Dorothy Taare-Smith



autism, indigenous approach, māori autism


Haere mai, Dorothy. Tell us a bit about yourself and what brought you to this Takiwātanga mahi?

Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Horouta te waka
Ko Ngãti Porou te iwi
Ko Dorothy Taare-Smith tōku ingoa
No Tūranganui a kiwa ahau e noho ana

I’m married to Tuhi and we have a blended family of three grown daughters and eight mokopuna. My number five mokopuna is our taonga takiwātanga. My journey began way before my mokopuna was
born; the takiwātanga journey began for me when I was teaching. The skills and knowledge I acquired came from the tertiary institutes I had studied at, and the PLD I received as a classroom teacher. Both approaches were very Western, and this suited most but not all families. At the time when I was teaching, I had children in my class who were from different ethnic backgrounds, and for some English was not their first language. I was interested in looking at indigenous approaches to autism, approaches that are different from a Western approach. I enrolled in the postgrad Specialist Teaching Programme through Massey University, then I went on to do my Master’s degree, hoping to learn a little bit more about the indigenous approaches to autism in pre-colonial times. I was blessed to have Jill Bevan-Brown as my lecturer when I did my postgrad; she paved the way for what I’m doing in the space today. I was curious to learn about autism, first and foremost, and then later on in my career, I became interested in indigenous autism, particularly Māori autism.






Vol 24 Iss 2

How to Cite

Reimagining education with Dorothy Taare-Smith:Takiwātanga and community-based support. (2023). Kairaranga, 24(2), 119-124.