Carol Marks, Professional Learning Facilitator, Educational Leadership Project, New Zealand

Wednesday 22 November 2017

“Knowledge and matauranga is a blessing on your mind, it makes everything clear and guides you to do things in the right waya…. and not a word will be thrown at you by the people” Eruera Stirling of  Te Whanau -a -Apanui.
He was in effect talking about respecting tikanga Maori and its general guidelines of acceptable behaviour.
Where once tikanga Maori was binding by the majority of Maori this is no longer the case but is being revisited by many.
In early childhood centres it is important for kaiako to realise to strengthen Matauranga Maori or Maori knowledge, we need to have a better understanding of tikanga Maori.
Embedded in the values of Our Codes, Our Standards is Manaakitanga: creating a welcoming, caring and creative learning environment that treats everyone with respect and dignity.
You would think this was a given being such an important aspect within human relationships. But is it?
Are whanau members and manuhiri truly welcomed into your centre and given the time to be listened too and offered hospitality?
Spending time in a centre that has so many whanau members participating, reading stories, preparing kai for shared lunch each day, adding to wall displays and enjoying each others company, the Head teacher explained “kai is the answer, it brings them in” but it is more than that.
What I recognised was that these people had a real sense of belonging, they were valued for who they were, a whanau member and manaakitanga was alive and well.
In the book Culture Counts by Russell Bishop and Ted Glynn is the following statement  “Learners can bring ‘who they are’ to the learning interactions in complete safety, and where their knowledges are “acceptable” and “legitimate”. Not just in our schools but in other places in society including early childhood centres.
“It cannot be stressed enough that manaakitanga is always important no matter what the circumstances may be” (Hirini Moko Mead p.29)
One indicator of Manaakitanga is that kaiako demonstrably care about Maori learners, what they think and why. As Our Code, Our Standards will now be the new measure for kaiako for appraisal, we need to be thinking of the ways that we meet this indicator and can prove it through our practice and assessment.
Once again it gets back to Relationships underpinning our practice, making a difference for the children and families who enter our doors every day ensuring that aroha is practised, an essential part of manaakitanga.
I have attached a link to a fearning story that also appears on the ELP website, written by Whaea Rina from Maungaarangi Kindergarten and Whanau Centre.
Whaea Rina acknowledges the wider whanau as well as welcoming Raiha, a story that reflects Manaakitanga