Paul Howe was born in Rotorua and attended school in Whakarewarewa, Rotorua, five other mainstream primary schools and finally settled in Kihikihi where he went to Te Awamutu College for his secondary schooling. In 1966 he received a university scholarship from the Ngarimu VC and 28th Battalion Memorial Scholarship Fund Board. He studied at Waikato University from 1966-68 and graduated with a B.A. In 1969 he continued his studies at Auckland University where he graduated with an M.A. (Hons) in French. In 1970 and from 1973-1987 he was a secondary school teacher (1970-73 was spent overseas). During his time teaching, he became HOD Languages and then HOD English. From 1987-89 he was a secondary school inspector for the Department of Education in Hamilton, responsible for English and related subjects such as drama, journalism, video studies and library. In 1990 he became an Education Review Officer and from 1991-92 was Kaiako at Te Timatanga Hou at Te Whare Wananga o Waikato (Waikato University).
During that period he collaborated in writing English textbooks with another HOD English from Auckland, John Lovell. He also went to North Carolina State University to study the teaching of writing under the former American Fulbright Scholar Professor Ruie Pritchard. In 1993 he was appointed Lecturer in Tipu Runa Rua (Bicultural Studies – the historical, philosophical, sociological perspectives of bicultural education) at Waikato University.
He moved from lecturing into policy work at the end of 1993 (after applying for and missing out on a principalship), working first as a senior analyst and then as manager of the Education Policy portfolio at Te Puni Kokiri (the then recently established policy Ministry of Māori Development). After gaining experience in several different policy portfolios, he was appointed Branch Manager Social Policy in 1998. Howe established his own consultancy in 2000, preparing and writing policy reports for a number of policy agencies, as well as developing specialized training modules for targeted audiences (such as a Communications Course for Māori Teachers as part of the ‘Te Hiringa I te Mahara’ campaign (Ministry of Education) and Treaty of Waitangi training courses (Land Information New Zealand, Department of Internal Affairs). In 2003 he helped establish a second company, KP Solutions (Kete Pumanawa Ltd) with five other Directors. The company specializes in general recruitment and HR-related services in the government and non-government sectors, with a special focus on the recruitment and retention of Māori in the workforce.
Howe writes: “Most of the original material I have written has been of the non-fictional ‘critical/philosophical’ variety (although I had been teaching creative writing for a long time)…. For example, a critique of the right wing Sexton Report on education and long letters of rely to ultra-conservative critics of among other things, the Form 6-7 English Syllabus group….. Fictional work has been of the short poem or short story variety – usually as a contribution to group publications of other teacher-writers such as to the Capitol Area Writing Project, North Carolina State University.
My first attempt at ‘official’ publication was co-writing a series of English textbooks for the former Longman Paul publishing company. These were aimed at fulfilling a real need in schools – for good organised New Zealand textbooks that suited Forms 3-5 (Levels 7-9) English language students, but that were of particular interest to Māori and Polynesian kids. Most of the ‘stories’ were fictional. John Lovell and I called the series ‘English on Fire: the Ahi Ka Series’”.
For nine years, Paul has been writing and developing policy “think pieces” (e.g. Educating for the 21st Century – a policy response – NZCER Conference) mainly for analysts and managers of different agencies such as the Ministry of Education. He is now ready to dabble in writing fictional pieces once again. Rather than “Paul”, he has begun to refer to himself as “Paora” out of habit from working in the Māori environment.
- Correspondence and emails from Paul Howe on 14 Apr. 1993, 27 and 28 May 2004.