“HE KAIAKO – TEACHER AND LEARNER Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nöna te ngahere. Ko te manu e kai ana i te mätauranga, nöna te ao

reciprocal learning and exemplary modelling of innovation that leads to the effective creation, development and delivery of high-quality authentic learning contexts and practice

The kaiako leadership role is about being an exceptional teacher and educational practitioner. It is underpinned by a focus on leading with an innovative edge and embracing an up-to-date knowledge of new and emerging developments in learning and teaching pedagogy. The kaiako leadership role involves being both a learner and a teacher, exchanging roles with learners in order to better understand teaching and learning dynamics.”

I remember in my younger days when I daren’t ask a question for fear people would make a negative judgement about the fact that I should have known the answer.  What I disservice I was doing myself by not taking every opportunity to expand my knowledge.  Thankfully as I have aged I have wisened up to the fact that I am a life long learner, and that by collaborating with others and listening to others points of views and stories, I develop a far richer understanding of the world I live in.

This week I have taken every opportunity to learn from my students, my colleagues and my community, in order to develop my understanding of Te Reo Māori.  I have had some delightful conversations with my Māori students that began with a simple question about Te Reo and then opened up to them sharing so much more about themselves than I previously knew.  One of my colleagues I didn’t even know spoke fluent Māori until she responded to one of my e-mails this week in Te Reo, and we have had many subsequent ‘conversations’ during which she has taught me some of the language.  I thoroughly enjoyed our full school assembly acknowledging Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori, where there was a sense of pride and manaakitanga as we celebrated our unique cultural identity.

Earlier in the week we were privileged to have our Kapa Haka group come to our staff meeting and teach the staff a new waiata.  I think maybe this is my key to learning the language – as someone who enjoys singing, I find it relatively easier to learn Te Reo through a waiata, than I do through the spoken word.

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Where I have been more of a leader and teacher this week is with my own whānau.  Every evening we have had discussions about Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori.  We live in Paraparaumu on the Kāpiti Coast, so I showed them Finnian Galbraith’s speech ‘The importance of correctly pronouncing Māori words’, and we discussed the implications for us as a family, and how we needed to show leadership in our community in pronouncing our local place names correctly.

This morning it was an absolute privilege to attend the pōwhiri for the Porirua Polyfest (which Aotea College is hosting); our Kapa Haka group did an outstanding job in welcoming everyone to this celebration of culture.  It made me realise how far I have come in recent years, that I can comfortably and confidently take part in this ceremony, and as a New Zealander embrace my biculturalism.

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