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Whiria te Tāngata: investing in our librarians

Whiria te Tāngata (Whiria), a mātauranga Māori led initiative ‘weaving people’ together across the library sector, is thrilled to announce a final run of this highly successful programme.

This funded programme will be delivered by Te Rōpū Whakahau, the leading national body that represents Māori engaged in Libraries, Culture, Knowledge, Information, Communication and Systems Technology in Aotearoa New Zealand.

"Te Rōpū Whakahau was a natural fit to deliver one more Whiria te Tāngata, thanks to funding from the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme," says Rachel Esson, National Librarian Te Pouhuaki at the National Library of New Zealand.

"The National Library are proud to continue supporting this kaupapa. It’s important we champion Māori initiatives through partnerships within the library sector."

Whiria is an eight-month learning and development journey, set within four tukutuku (panel) modules. These are Waharua, the mātauranga Māori workstream and its connection to the land; Poutama, symbolising the scaffolding of knowledge and its application to workforce capability; Purapura whetū, signifying the complexity of data, research, and evidence work; and Niho taniwha, representing the determination needed for collective impact.

"We are excited to run Whiria," says Cellia Joe-Olsen, Te Rōpū Whakahau Tumuaki.

"Whiria was hugely impactful for the last cohort, empowering them to become change-makers within their library communities around the motu. We are now looking for 10 new kākaho (sustainability champions) to continue this journey of collective impact for the library sector."

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Kay Huia, a recent kākaho graduate from Hamilton City Council libraries, highlights her experience of being nurtured within an empowering environment.

"Ngā uara (values) are seen in all aspects of Whiria," says Kay.

"From going into noho and developing my understanding of tikanga. Rising early for waiata practice, participating in karakia, giving thanks and whakawhanaungatanga. It gave me the confidence to establish these cultural practices to build kotahitanga in my own workplace."

Simon Whitlock, another kākaho graduate with Far North District Council Libraries, reflects on his Whiria haerenga (journey)."We were the inaugural group of kākaho, and now we are kākano (seeds)," says Simon.

"As we plant, embed, and nurture what we have learnt into different library organisations, we also have benefited personally through participating in the Whiria te Tāngata programme."

Applications are now open to individuals of all library backgrounds with a strong commitment to personal growth, library sector development, and a desire to engage deeply with Te Tiriti o Waitangi and mātauranga Māori. You can apply by visiting the Te Rōpū Whakahau website. The application deadline is 11.59pm Sunday 23rd July, 2023.

About Whiria te Tāngata:

Whiria te Tāngata is funded through the New Zealand Libraries Partnership Programme, led by Te Rōpū Whakahau and supported by the National Library of New Zealand. It is a collaborative initiative that brings together library and information professionals from diverse backgrounds to embark on a learning and development journey, underpinned by mātauranga Māori.

With the support of their workplace, each kākaho will dedicate one day per week for eight-months to work through the four tukutuku modules. They will also be required to attend three face-to-face noho at different locations as well as fortnightly online catchups. They will then apply their new skills through action-led learning relating to highly relevant issues facing the library sector today.

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