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2 March 2018

posted 1 Mar 2018, 17:42 by Carolyn Brett
Approximately 5 years ago, we developed a 10 year vision for  Māori at WBS. Actually, we have managed to almost get there in half the time! 

Some of the key achievements to date:
  • Highlighting Whetūkairangi as a significant pa site
  • Magnified the lens on our local environment as a context for learning, i.e. kaitiaki of te ngahere - guardians of the forest
  • Focussed staff professional learning programme and practice 
  • Provision of a variety of  authentic experiences and school 'rituals', i.e. Powhiri, (Welcome) Poroporoaki (farewell), Matariki, Celebrations, etc.
  • Development of our own WBS karakia and haka
  • Integration of Te Reo me nga tikanga across learning areas and inquiry learning
  • Integration of the Tātaiako cultural competencies into teaching, planning and practice (see below).
Wänanga: participating with learners and communities in robust dialogue for the benefit of Mäori learners’ achievement. 
Whanaungatanga: actively engaging in respectful working relationships with Mäori learners, parents and whänau, hapü, iwi and the Mäori community. 
Manaakitanga: showing integrity, sincerity and respect towards Mäori beliefs, language and culture. 
Tangata Whenuatanga: affirming Mäori learners as Mäori. Providing contexts for learning where the language, identity and culture of Mäori learners and their whänau is affirmed. 
Ako: taking responsibility for their own learning and that of Mäori learners. 

One of our lofty goals is to have our Year 6 leavers graduating with conversational fluency in te reo. We are not there..... yet!

Continuing to build the language remains a focus for us. Many of you commented after the Powhiri how evident this is, year after year. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to give such positive feedback. It gives us a 'yes, we can do this!', the motivation to keep improving.

Some of you have asked me for my words at the Powhiri. Here they are, although I may have digressed on occasion:

Tēnā koutou katoa e hui tahi nei i tēnei rā.   
E ngā rangatira,  Ximena, Carl, Cloe, Therese me James.
Nau mai haere mai 
Ki tēnei tūranga hou kua riro nei i a kōutou 
Kei konei mātou hei tautoko , hei manaaki i a koe.
Nō reira, Nau mai, haere mai ki Te Kura o Whetukairangi 

We warmly welcome you with respect, care, open minds and open hearts:

Ko te manu e kai ana i te miro, nōna te ngahere. 
Ko te manu e kai ana i te mātauranga, nōna te ao. 
The bird that partakes of the miro berry reigns in the forest.
The bird that partakes of the power of knowledge has access to the world.

We hope that it’s not just our youngest people who will partake in the power of knowledge to access the world - that we will learn with you and from you and that our relationship is reciprocal.

All schools have unique features - this can be based on the physical space, the local environment, the desires of the community, the needs of the children, the networks and relationships, the skill, passion and energy of all of us. Although we work under our big NZ Curriculum Framework - Tomorrow’s Schools Policy, introduced in 1989, has meant we really have the opportunity, as a community, to create something pretty remarkable, and I know, as do many, that we most certainly have. 

However, we never finish, we never arrive. It's a bit like an unfinished symphony. Every child, family member, staff member who is welcomed into this school brings richness, brings texture. We will continue to develop and strengthen the school together. Two days ago, our Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, announced we were embarking on the biggest Educational Reform since 1989, Tomorrow's Schools. Whilst this is potentially exciting, I would certainly hope that schools don't lose the importance of community in any new policy direction. 

At the end of each year, all Year 6 graduates are farewelled from the community and an aspect of this ritual is the very much anticipated ‘Year 6 Speech’. Last year, a student arrived who had only been with us for a few months and had never been schooled in NZ. I would like to take some lines from her:
  • The children smiled and laughed and made me feel welcome
  • I was relieved there was no drama or conflict (in CAPITALS!)
  • I learned it doesn’t matter what your age is - you can play with anyone here.
This education of the whole child, actively teaching the skills of wellbeing is at the heart. To us, it’s a taonga, a treasure of this school. 

Encouraging a community to flourish is my personal mantra and I certainly hope you experience this in some way in your time here. 

He aroha whakatō, he aroha ka puta mai
If kindness is sown then kindness you shall receive.

No reira

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa

Ngā manaakitanga

Powhiri Speech from Andrew Wilson on behalf of the Board of Trustees:

Kia ora

Ko northfleet te waka
Ko maungatapu te māunga
Ko maitai te awa 
Ko whetūkairangi te marae
Ko Stephanie taku hoa wahine
Ko Hunter taku tama
Ko Ella raua, ko Greer aku tamahine
Whakatu toku turangawaewae
Te whanganui-a-tara toku kainga inaianei
Ko Andrew tōku ingoa 

No reira tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa
Nga mihi nui ki a koutou katoa
Ki te atua - tēnā koe
Ki a papatuanuku – tēnā koe 
Ki te kura – tēnā koe 
Ki te hunga mate
Ki te hunga ora
Tēnā koutou katoa
Hello everybody 

Warm greetings to you all
To god/the spirit – greetings
To mother earth – greetings
To the school – greetings 
Farewell to those who came before us
Welcome to all those who are with us
Greetings to you all

As the Chair of the school’s Board of Trustees, it is a privilege and honour to welcome you and your whanau, to the school and community of te kura o whetūkairangi

Today is one of our most special events of the year as it one of the few very special occasions where we have our students, teaching and support team, and community all together in this very special place. 

While I take great delight in welcoming you all this morning, I would like to make special mention of Ximena and Carl who have joined our terrific teaching team this year, Cloe, as support staff last year, and I would also like to warmly welcome James and Therese and who are on student teacher placement with us. We are delighted to have all you in our waka and look forward to learning and laughing with you. 

As a kura we are very clearly focused on pursuing our vision of valuing the whole child; knowledge building and inquiry; and embracing collaborative learning. 

To achieve our vision we are committed to achieving our strategic goals of:
  • Educating for the future
  • Providing rich and powerful learning opportunities; and 
  • Connecting learners
As a kura we are committed to a single overarching core value, which sets the tone for the way we behave – which is manaakitanga – or respect – for ourselves each other, and our wonderful environment. And today is all about treating you, the newest members of community, with respect and, in so doing, demonstrate the value of manaakitanga to you as you become members of our community.

Our current Board - and successive Boards - lead our community as kaitiaki – or guardians – of this site and of the kura. This is the same responsibility that those who lived and worked here for hundreds of years before us, accepted, discharged and handed on to us. 

And it is now our turn, as a community, to strengthen the environment in which our tamariki learn and thrive - and, when our time comes to move on, to hand it on in a better state than it was in when we accepted this responsibility. 

We do this best when we all work together and I would encourage you all - and those that can’t be here this morning - to make the most of the many opportunities to be involved in supporting our kura in ways that work best for you and your whanau. 

You will find that we get to know each other through our tamariki, and our kura gives our tamariki - and all of us - the opportunity to learn, play and thrive together.

My own whānau have been part of this community for over 10 years, and my advice to you is to seize the opportunities to be involved in it with both hands. You will have the chance to make a positive difference, get a lot back in return, and you and your whānau will also have a lot of fun! 

I would like to leave you with a proverb that, although well known, is – I think – very appropriate given what this morning is all about:

He aha te mea nui o te ao? - What is the most important thing in the world? 
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! - It is people! It is people! It is people!

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tatou katoa