International Education Journal

Special Issue: International Perspectives on Giftedness


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Exploring perceptions of giftedness in the Cook Islands Maori community

Graeme Miller 
Kihikihi School, New Zealand


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From my study in the field of gifted education it became apparent that published works related to perceptions of what constitutes giftedness began with a narrow view focused on achievement in intelligence tests and in the latter part of the twentieth century developed to a much broader view. In the New Zealand context the work of Bevan-Brown (1996, 1999) with New Zealand Maori provided a new and different perspective on special abilities or giftedness. This pioneering work was the inspiration for my study. As principal of David Henry School in Tokoroa, New Zealand for nine and a half years I worked in a community with both high New Zealand Maori and Cook Islands Maori populations. I began to wonder whether Cook Islands Maori had similar perceptions of giftedness to New Zealand Maori and whether their perceptions were different in New Zealand by comparison with the Cook Islands. I also wondered how the Cook Islands Maori children who were plainly gifted in the context of their own culture could be better nurtured by the school in order to foster and develop their gifts. Thus my study was born. 

Perceptions, giftedness, Cook Islands Maori community


Miller, G. (2005) Exploring perceptions of giftedness in the Cook Islands Maori community. International Education Journal, 6(2), 240-246.

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