Fairhaven School in Te Puke has been implementing the Reading Together® programme at Ngāti Moko Marae since 2014, as detailed at:
Te Puke's Fairhaven School was acknowledged as a finalist at last year's Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards in recognition of what it is achieving with Toitoi Manawa, where learning is promoted within a Māori context and whanaungatanga is encouraged.
Parent and Board of Trustees member Raponi Wilson: "The thing I like the most is that Toitoi Manawa is a Māori unit where the tamariki can be Māori but also be a part of the larger mainstream school – this better emulates Māori being part of a community. I think that is an important part of what makes Toitoi Manawa."
"We are trying to create a holistic education that isn't just focused on the academic, because the kids we're trying to nurture need the whole package," says Toitoi Manawa leader Tatai Taikura-Mita.
And underlying everything are the relationships with whānau and community. In Toitoi Manawa, whanaungatanga is encouraged; tamariki (and their whānau) are inspired to succeed and be confident in who they are and where they come from; and learning is promoted within a Māori context.
"I think that many whānau for generations have felt very uncomfortable coming to school; for them school is not a place they have a positive connection. We've got a personal connection with our whānau," says Tatai. "They feel welcome, important and they're a part of their children's learning. They know it's an open door and we have parents in and out all the time."
Māmā Cherryl Thompson agrees. "Toitoi Manawa gives whānau the opportunity to participate practically – sharing our ideas and skills, which builds mana, both individually and collectively, and a sense of worth and value," she says.
"It's a bigger thing than just teaching te reo Māori at Fairhaven," reflects Principal Paul Hunt. "It's creating intergenerational change of lives and appreciation of education. We can see the change within Fairhaven and within the whānau at Fairhaven, and across Te Kāhui Ako o Te Puke."
Posted: Thursday 2 July 2020