He Kaitiaki – Guardian

I have decided this Te Wiki o Te Reo Maori to reflect on the whenu or seven key roles of leadership from ‘Tū Rangatira: Māori Medium Educational Leadership’.  I am going to use my own reflections and some feedback from my team to complete an inquiry into how effective I am in my leadership role.

So I begin tonight with He Kaitiaki – Guardian.

“HE KAITIAKI – GUARDIAN Ka maru koe i töku püreke, he kahu pïtongatonga

protecting and nurturing a caring environment where people and ideas are valued; health, safety and well-being are enhanced; and relationships are strong

The kaitiaki leadership role is about being a guardian, caregiver and protector of all aspects of the kura. A primary focus of this role is the care and protection of the health, safety and well-being of learners and staff, and an essential part is care for oneself, and leading from a position of good health and well-being. The kaitiaki role is also responsible for investing a range of practices with the core values of aroha, manaaki, tiaki, äwhina, whanaungatanga, whakaako, whakapono, ngäkau harikoa, ngäkau mähaki and whakapakari-hinengaro, acknowledging them as central to learners’ sense of well-being. Kaitiaki leadership focuses on the protection and preservation of positive human relationships, te reo Mäori me öna tikanga and mätauranga Mäori as the foundation for teaching and learning pedagogy.”

(Tū Rangatira, p.17)

In reading the short summary, my initial thought was ‘this role is one of my strengths’, and I have feedback from my team to support that.  However in reading the more detailed description what really challenged me was the bit that says “an essential part is care for oneself, and leading from a position of good health and well-being.”  I know that in this regard I am not always good at practising what I preach.  I will quite readily encourage my team to take action to look after their Hauora, but I do not always role model this myself.  These past school holidays I had to really take stock after what had been a very long and challenging term that had had a negative impact on my Hauora.  I have begun this term very mindful of the fact that I need to do exactly as the description says and take care of myself, in order to be effective in how I show care for and lead others.

The other aspect of this description that challenged me was the Te Reo Māori itself – how many of the core values could I translate into English?  The answer: not many.  So to add to my Te Reo Māori vocab list:

Aroha – love

Manaaki – to support, take care of, give hospitality to, protect, look out for – show respect, generosity and care for others.

Tiaki – to look after, nurse, care, protect, conserve

äwhina – to assist, help, support, benefit.

Whanaungatanga – relationship, kinship, sense of family connection – a relationship through shared experiences and working together which provides people with a sense of belonging.

Whakaako – to teach, instruct, educate, coach.

Whakapono –  to believe, trust.

ngäkau harikoa – happy heart*

ngäkau mähaki – pleasant person, mild mannered.

whakapakari-hinengaro – mental development*

te reo Mäori me öna tikanga – language and practices

mätauranga Mäori – Māori education

(* these two were translations from google so not sure how accurate they are; I will inquire with my dear colleague tomorrow)

I am really enjoying the journey I am on this week, and will end today’s post with some feedback from the team:
What aspects of this role do I do well?

Celia has the ability to understand how each team member is and knows when we need help, support or time to refresh.  She has created an environment where people are confident to contribute and feel safe and valued.  She has a strong sense of empathy.

Understanding of knowing when and how to help is a big strength. Understands relationships are most important. Gives everyone an equal voice.
Celia values everyone as an individual and knows that we all bring different strengths and qualities to the table. She has created an environment that allows us to feel confident enough to share and collaborate with others as well as trying new approaches, activities and ideas out with our classes. She is able to read situations (and people) and is aware of how it may impact people’s health/well-being and take action and/or make suggestions to alleviate any issues.

What could I do to be more effective in demonstrating this leadership role?

Weekly baking
Continuing to build upon what you already do well within this role.


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