Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Wayfinding in Education.


Ko Hikurangi te maunga 
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Hourouta te waka
Ko Ngati Porou te iwi
Ko Morgan Ngata au

This is something I have wondered all my life. Its caused many emotions, both pride, and fear, happiness, and wonder, sadness, and frustration.

Over the last 12 months, I have been introduced to voyaging on Polynesian canoes based on the traditional design used by our ancestors (tipuna) for over a 1000 yrs ago. These canoes are called waka hourua (double-hulled). A local trust had secured funding for a waka to be built and situated permanently here on the East Cape of New Zealand. The purpose of this waka is to ensure our ancestral knowledge is keep alive and strong in our rohe and in our rangatahi (youth). The wakas name is Tairāwhiti which is the name of our region in the Māori language.

 When I make the time and place energy into blogging it will always include an insight into my own values and aspirations. I'm fortunate to work in a profession that values these, therefore, my work and private life are often inseparable. This blog is an exploration of my deeper challenges and insights. I'll make sure I stay true to the educational focus.

Firstly let's go back a few months...
It's the last week of term 4, the waka Tairāwhiti has just been launched.

I'm in Napier with a group of students. I shared this footage and the light in my student's eyes said it all. This was going to be epic for our region...for our rangatahi. That Friday I flew up to Auckland. 

Funny side story... just happens that the person next to me on the plane was Dr Hinemoa Elder (we had never met previously but have been operating in similar circles of late...) and she is currently working on developing an AI program based on waka hourua for helping heal sufferers of mental health. MEAN!!!!! 

The voyage was incredible and I'll spend many more years proclaiming its significance for our rangatahi and whanau. Words will never truly capture the magic that the waka delivers, however moments of video and the wonderful stories shared by our young voyagers will provide wonderful insights. 

I started this blog focusing on my identity. I guess its fair to say this has been an area of contention as I am maori and I am a Ngata ( a significant whanau in te ao maori..) this has resulted in high expectations being thrust upon me and at times I rebelled, (that's another story...) The reason I am connecting back to this personal insight is that I believe it's not uncommon. I see in many ways the feeling and experiences I've had as being similar for many of our rangatahi. Perhaps my voyaging experience will also carry a similar experience for many others once they join us on a voyage.

Skills and Knowledge from seemingly different areas of my life all have a place on our waka. Learning to tie fishing knots with my dad when I was a boy helped me to learn the knots commonly used in sailing. Reading meteorological charts to chase the best waves from my years of surfing provided me with essential information when planning the voyage. Even my passion for cooking has an essential role to play in voyaging and kaumoana (crew) welfare. I simply found a context that allowed me to draw upon my own interests and passions. Voyaging is a context that can help to draw out skills and knowledge from anyone willing to give it a go.

But what value does it provide for the 21st-century citizen? 
Identity, Timeless Values, Whanaungatanga, Manaakitanga, Rangatiratanga, Kaitiakitanga, Karakia Matauranga Maori, every single compentency there is!!
Dr Chellie Spillers insights into Wayfinding and the leadership skills emphasizes the difference  between spherical 

Schools must be ready to commit towards drawing upon these experiences their learners will have. the Tairawhiti educators will be capable in delivering a context and experience that will capture the learner's imagination and curiosity, however it will need to be drawn upon by teachers and any other of the learner's supporters to ensure the we make the most of this opportunity. 

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