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Speech: Flavell - Te Hapai O

Te Hapai O – Māori Medium Research Project and
He Kōrero Book launch
Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi, Whakatane
Te Ururoa Flavell, MP for Waiariki
Thursday 8 March 2012; 10.30am

I am really proud to have been asked to be part of this launch today, in celebrating the professional development journey of Te Hapai ō.

The book which forms the focus of today’s hui is a much needed guide to put into words, the experience of induction and mentoring in Māori medium settings. The handbook arose out of an initiative sponsored by the New Zealand Teachers Council and which was trialled over 2009 and 2010.

But of course, the origins of this journey began a long time ago.

I was really drawn to the explanation of the whakatauki which inspired this journey, Te Amorangi ki mua, te hapai o ki muri. The late koroua, Wiremu Tawhai, had shared his infinite knowledge around the depth of meaning in these words.

I well remember the koroua, and his stately presence around Waiariki. You would see him at all the hui, including the mighty Māori Party hui. He was a staunch supporter of our young people and so it seems only right that his words of wisdom provide a context for this resource; a resource which will ultimately make such a positive difference for our tamariki and mokopuna.

The concept of Te Amorangi ki mua, te hapai o ki muri has often been reduced to an explanation that while our kaikaranga and kaikōrero uphold our tikanga, our kaupapa; our formal rituals of engagement; equally important is the work of the ringawera, feeding and caring for the manuhiri.

Wiremu provides a far richer meaning which is expressed in terms of sustainability and survival. He suggests the mana of the whole group is dependent on the support and guidance provided by ‘te hapai o’ – those who follow are as vital to the journey as those who lead. The assistance, resources, advice and knowledge are required in order to ensure success.

Te amorangi ki mua is therefore an excellent way of understanding the concept of induction and mentoring As the koroua says – the model can “assist provisionally registered teachers on their way to a teaching profession where they become inheritors of the Earth and Sky”.

I have taken some time to explore the meaning behind the concept that has influenced this research as I think it makes a really important statement about Te Hapai.

And I want to mihi to
• Professor Kuni Jenkins – the Principal investigator for this project;
• Distinguished Professor Sir Hirini Moko Mead – the Council Chair of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi
• Distinguished Professor Graham Smith – the Chief Executive of of Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiarangi;
• And Dr Peter Lynd, the Chief Executive Officer of New Zealand teachers Council.

Te Hapai O has come about from a unique collaboration between academia; the teaching profession and indigenous intelligence.

In your decision to work together, you have willingly responded to the dual challenge confronting the Māori medium profession.

The first challenge is to address the urgent and ongoing demand to increase the numbers of Māori medium teachers. The second is to do so in a way which is culturally authentic and is anchored in ahuatanga Māori.

Just as Wiremu fleshes out an interpretation of a whakatauki which lends itself to many diverse ideas, this project has demonstrated a way of providing solutions which are guided by our own tribal lores; our unique cultural learnings.

In this way the provisionally registered teachers who graduate from this programme, experience the best of all worlds. They are inspired and challenged to focus on best teacher practice through the guidelines promulgated by the New Zealand Teachers Council. Those guidelines highlight the importance of “intensive, pedagogically focused mentoring to accelerate the learning and expertise of newly qualified teachers’.

In essence, what this means is that that the mentor and the teacher work together in a series of mutually beneficial conversations.

The unique aspect of Te Hapai O is described in three key principles :
• Matapono 1 – kaupapa Māori approach
• Matapono 2 – ako
• Matapono 3 – whaia te hōhonutanga me te whanuitanga o te matauranga.

It is all about keeping our knowledge fresh; ensuring every aspect of the learning is influenced and informed by matauranga Māori, by te ao Māori, by our kaupapa, and our tikanga.

It is about seeing our world come alive in the classroom – equipping our teachers with the confidence and the capability to be culturally competent and responsive to the needs of whānau, hapū and iwi.

In this, the Māori Party celebrates Te Hapai O as helping to promote and pursue the initiative we introduced last year in Tataiako – the cultural competence framework. Tataiako was establishedd to ensure excellence and achievement for all students should be a universal expectation. What you are achieving with this induction and mentoring programme provides us with even more proof that culturally appropriate learning is the key to future success.

The Māori Party is delighted to stand in support of all that you are attempting to do with te Hapai O. In many respects it helps us to continue to strive for all that we seek for our whānau.

We are determined to drive the revitalisation strategy for te reo rangatira –ma te whānau te reo e whakaora.

Part of our long term vision is that te reo Māori will be compulsorily available in schools by 2015 and having a well qualified, competent Māori medium workforce is key to that goal.

But we are also dedicated towards supporting any initiative which is essentially about investment in ourselves.

We are keen to champion Māori educational excellence in teaching and leadership; to recruit Māori into the teaching profession, especially those who are competent in te reo; and to establish a multi-site Māori language teacher training centre as an opportunity to grow the language even further.

One of the greatest things about the opportunities that spring from our Relationship Accord with government is that we can help to spread the word about initiatives such as this one. We can speak with authority about the notion of ako – teachers as learners and learners as teachers – as a crucial element of your strength.

We can speak with passion about the way in which the mana of each participant in this programme is enhanced; how from the outset Te Amorangi ki Mua operates on an understanding that whānau are the backbone of Māori medium kura – he whakapapa to ia akonga.

We can encourage our colleagues to consider the experience, knowledge, skills and wisdom of kaumātua and kuia as providing a vital foundation for learning in Māori medium education.

And we can share our experience of programmes such as Te Hapai O – and how they can stand as transformative agents of change which may well be a timely and impressive model for the education sector to emulate.

And so on behalf of all my Māori Party colleagues, and indeed on behalf of all our mokopuna today and those yet to come, thank you for helping to prepare a pathway ahead, to plan and prepare for all our children to inherit the treasures of the earth and the sky.

Tēnā tātou katoa.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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