I am not a person who easily takes to learning a new language. When I was in third form it was compulsory to study a language, and given the options of French, German and Te Reo Maori, I chose French. Despite having a wonderful French teacher (thanks Sally Chrystall, Tawa College) it was with absolute reluctance that I continued with French through until School Certificate, when finally I was ‘allowed’ to drop it in Sixth Form.
It is only in recent years that I have truly come to appreciate and admire the taonga that is Te Reo Maori. I have the utmost respect for New Zealanders who speak Te Reo Maori fluently, and I aspire to one day be (more) conversant with the language than the few words and phrases I use now. Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori is a timely reminder to me that this is not going to happen without some hard work and commitment on my part. My students are wonderful teachers and are very patient with me as I explore the language and deepen my knowledge and understanding of Te Reo Maori. I am also very fortunate to have colleagues to whom I can turn to for support in my quest to learn the language.
I have been giving a lot of thought this past week as to how I might celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori. I am very grateful to all the connected educators on Twitter who have shared ideas and resources. On my drive home from school on Friday afternoon I formulated the idea to reflect on one of the key roles of leadership (from ‘Tu Rangatira: Maori Medium Educational Leadership’) per day of Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori.
“Tü Rangatira: Mäori Medium Educational Leadership is a model of leadership that reflects some of the key leadership roles and practices that contribute to high-quality educational outcomes for Mäori learners.“ (p.7) When we consider that 85% of Maori learners are in mainstream schools, the leadership perspectives in this document are a valuable tool for all those in Educational leadership, not just those in Maori Medium education. When speaking to the delegates at PENZ National conference in 2013 about her Masters thesis on “Educational leadership for Maori Student success”, Natasha Hemara described Western leadership as vertical and Maori leadership as horizontal – taking a collective responsibility, and valuing leadership as purpose. It is important therefore that we all consider our responsibility as leaders of teaching and learning, and how we can take deliberate actions to improve outcomes for our learners.
“Maori enjoying success as Maori, and Maori improved outcomes are two different ideas that work in the same direction. Maori enjoying success as Maori is about strengthening identity, culture and language.” (Natasha Hemara)
It is so important that Maori identity, culture and language are visible in our teaching and learning environment, and to acknowledge that you do not have to be Maori to make a difference for Maori students. Tu Rangatira “is a resource to support and strengthen leadership of teaching and learning in schools.” (p.9)
This Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori I encourage everyone to engage with Tu Rangatira and the key roles of leadership.
Whenu – Seven Key Roles of Leadership
The whenu of the korowai descends from te aho tapu. Each of the whenu depicts a key role of the leader:
HE KAITIAKI – GUARDIAN
HE KAIWHAKARITE – MANAGER
HE KANOHI MATARA – VISIONARY
HE KAIAKO – TEACHER AND LEARNER
HE KAIMAHI – WORKER
HE KAIKŌTUITUI – NETWORKER
HE KAIARATAKI – ADVOCATE