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Te Hui Whakanukunuku

22 November 2013

Te Hui Whakanukunuku

“He rā e tō, he rā e ara mai anō”

As one journey ends, another begins. That was the emphasis of the Hui Whakanukunuku that was held at Te Kauhanganui Debating Chamber at the Waikato-Tainui College for Research and Development in Hopuhopu on Wednesday 13th November 2013.

A very successful and moving day was attended by a representative of almost all past and present Te Kotahitanga schools. The hui was to firstly celebrate the activities and results of Te Kotahitanga with participating school leaders, Board of Trustees chairpersons, contributing iwi, representatives from the Ministry of Education, staff from the University of Waikato and all Te Kotahitanga staff members. Secondly, the future directions and Building on Success pathways were presented to those that attended and discussed.

The day began with a formal pōwhiri. It then continued with speeches, presentations, gift giving, laughter and a few tears. To start off the day there were addresses from three Te Kotahitanga Principals. Chris Grinter, Principal of Rotorua Boys’ High School which is a Phase 5 school; Alex Maehe, Principal of Opotiki College which is a Phase 4 reactivated school; and Vaughan Couillault Principal of James Cook High School which is in Phase 3 reactivated school. Each principal spoke of their own experiences and achievements within Te Kotahitanga and how it has had a huge influence on the relationships and outcomes of their Maori students, communities and iwi groups. All principals were present with and supported by members of their teams.

The keynote speaker for the day was Dr Adrienne Alton-Lee who is responsible for the Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) and is from the Ministry of Education. She spoke of the learnings from Te Kotahitanga schools over Phases 3, 4 and 5. Her evidence-based address was powerful in many ways and showed the schools present, just how exceptional their teaching and leadership has been in developing the effectiveness of Te Kotahitanga. Dr Alton-Lee shed light on the educational gaps, the disparities between cultures and the role that Te Kotahitanga has had in beginning to close those gaps. She spoke with enthusiasm and pride about how the work of Te Kotahitanga has influenced and challenged world wide views on education and how Te Kotahitanga has become an education initiative to admire and build upon.

Building on the foundations that Te Kotahitanga has developed will be no easy feat but 2014 will bring together three education projects to collaborate towards the overall benefit of Māori students. This new pathway is at present known as ‘Building on Success’.

Te Kotahitanga Director, Associate Professor Mere Berryman has been at the forefront of its design and implementation and has worked tirelessly to maintain the kaupapa and values upon which Te Kotahitanga has built over the past 13 years. This collaborative pathway with Te Kotahitanga and the University of Waikato involves working with He Kākano and the cultural context provided by Te Whare Wānanga o Āwanuiārangi in Whakatane together with Starpath from the University of Auckland. The vision is that the expanded programme will include all the strengths of Te Kotahitanga but it will also feature other elements designed to support effective leadership within schools together with the effective use of data, thus promoting accelerated achievement for Māori students across the curriculum in order to achieve the Better Public Service goal of 85% of 18 year olds achieving the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) Level 2 or equivalent in 2017[1].

The Hui Whakanukunuku was a great success and left us anxious but excited for what 2014 has to offer.

 

[1] This target includes 85% of all 18 year old Māori learners

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