He Kanohi Matara – Visionary


Mäku e whatu,mä koutou e täniko

innovative and visionary leadership to equip learners with the knowledge, skills and values to succeed in the 21st century as Mäori and as citizens of the world

The kanohi matara leadership role is about keeping kura at the ‘cutting edge’ of developments in education, as well as demonstrating wisdom and foresight and strategising for the future of the kura. Contemporary times call for innovative thinking. This visionary role of leadership entails understanding the past, recognising the present and envisioning the future, to bring about optimal education and life outcomes for learners. A kanohi matara embraces social changes and technological advancements; capitalises on innovation and new knowledge; and simultaneously embeds cultural imperatives into education.”

There are two experiences that I would like to share as I reflect on this key role of leadership.

The first is the journey that I mentioned in my previous blog ‘He Kaiwhakarite – Manager’.  “That’s how we have always done it” is one of the most destructive statements that can be uttered in a school.  A willingness to embrace change and move forward is critical to continually meeting the needs of our learners, and prepare them for an every changing future.

When it came to thinking about moving forward with our junior HPE programme it was important that we understood where we had come from and reflect on what it was that we had been doing and why.  To do that we asked ourselves some questions, including:

  • Is our junior programme meeting the needs of our students?
  • Is it preparing them for senior PE and health?
  • Are we ensuring there are ‘no surprises’ when they get to senior level?
  • Are we preparing them for the types of assessments in senior level?
  • Are we ensuring there is quality learning happening with regard to the key skills and concepts needed in order to be successful in senior level?
  • Is everyone in our department clear about what the key learning should be? And are they confident in the teaching practices required to achieve this?
  • What are we assessing? Is it a measure of the key learning or what we would like the key learning to be?
  • We have common assessment data but what does it tell us? What does it measure? Is it meaningful?
  • Do teachers look forward to teaching the units? Are we using teachers strengths?
  • Our junior programme is more teacher directed than our senior programme, why is that?

We also needed to look back at our departmental philosophy and motto – what is our vision for our department?  Our motto is ‘Strive, Support, Succeed’ and we do continually strive to improve our own teaching practice so that we might improve outcomes for our learners.  We were honoured to be acknowledged for our work when we were presented with the PENZ (Physical Education New Zealand) Award for ‘Outstanding Physical Education’.  One of the criteria for the award is that “Their performance has a positive impact on those around them, in terms of vision, influence, and outcomes.”

This was a significant review process and this is now supported by ongoing departmental review of our teaching and learning programmes.

The other experience that I would like to share is that of being a member of the NZQA Digital Assessment Transformation working group.  There is a saying that I like that goes “If you’re the smartest person in the room, then you’re in the wrong room”.  Being part of this working group I am definitely in the right room!  It is a real privilege to be collaborating with a group of very intelligent, very genuine and very caring people – all of whom are working towards a future in education that will better serve our young people, and better prepare them for their future.  All of the people on this working group epitomise the role of He kanohi matara – they demonstrate wisdom, foresight and strategizing for the future of the education.  They embrace social changes and technological advancements.

On signing off I would like to give a final shout out to Hobsonville Point Secondary School, to Maurie Abraham and his team, for having a vision that is founded upon the New Zealand Curriculum, that values a dispositional curriculum as equal to an academic curriculum.  Thank you for being brave and courageous in what you do, and most importantly for sharing with us all as you travel on this journey.


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