Ko Wai Au?

Our Past, Present and Future 

I keep pinching myself - this must be a dream. I feel like I am in my dream job - a job where it doesn't feel like work, and now I can fully appreciate Mark Twain's quote about finding a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life". I am being fed - I feel like everyday is the best PLD ever. I am learning more every day, realising just how much we don't know what we don't know! As I am working with Core colleagues, schools, leaders, learners and educators to empower and transform them, I am humbled and excited by their passion, dedication and vision - with the ākonga at the centre. 
Thanks Te Mihinga for this perfect whakataukī - resonates so well.

Earlier this month, I was fortunate to attend the Core Retreat. What an amazing opportunity for all of us to gather, share, learn and plan for the future. Oh yeah, did I mention it was at Hamner Springs! Another first for me.

We were asked to write our top thing we wanted from the retreat. Mine was:

Connections were definitely made informally...formally...in our teams, fāmili groupings, and of course, my sneaky addition into 'Team Moodle'. Loved the unconference sessions with Alex working on our pepeha, and of course, dancing with Te Mihinga.
Our Core Education Whānau

Tātai Aho Rau - I love the metaphor of weaving, it links so well to the Harakeke from my foundation days at AJHS. I feel I am able to weave my past experiences into the present, which will help shape our future. My two artefacts symbolise my whānau - this precious book was a gift from my colleagues at AJHS - it is filled with special people whom I will always treasure. The medal, and ruru badge, represent my journey at AJHS. Our harakeke logo, like Apirana Taylor's poem of the same name, places and nurtures our students at:
 “the heart of the plant from which our future grows” (Apirana Taylor)

The challenge in any rapidly expanding organisation is to ensure that people still feel connected at a personal level.  Again, Tātai Aho Rau, nurturing our whānau. Thus, one of our challenges was to create a one minute video to introduce Ko Wai Au? I enjoyed the opportunity to be creative, and to acquire new learning around film editing. What a fun way to find out more about each other, and to continue building connections. Here's mine: Ko Wai Au?

This leads to building Culture - my quest...my mission... potentially my topic for further research. How Might We effectively build, nurture and sustain our culture? As a school or organisation develops; grows; flourishes, what are the implications for maintaining the culture? At retreat, quality time was spent on unpacking our values, how we measure our life, and WHY we do what we do. Building a common shared vision, and walking the talk, enables us all to feel confident in what we are delivering.
"Mana o te whānau
Te muka tangata
E kore rawa nei e motu e! Tātai Aho Rau"

Finally, it is important for me to ensure the essence of my beliefs, my values and what I stand for. My 'eMPOWERedNZ' brand is deliberate and carefully planned. Therefore, I wanted my whakatukī to encapsulate the idea that we are able to learn from each other, empowering us as we learn, unlearn, relearn; challenge and push the educational boundaries, together. A special thank you - tēnā rawa atu koe Te Mihinga, for guiding me.  'Aukaha, kia kaha!' is taken from the Kāi Tahu whakataukī, 'Aukaha kia kaha i kā kaha o Ārai Te Uru' - 'Strengthen and reinforce the lashings of the waka Ārai Te Uru'. A simple meaning is to join forces. Aukaha = au - to bind or tie; kaha - denotes power, strength, ability and courage: the binding and strengthening of our 'waka', our people, so very appropriate for a collective, all wanting to achieve something by knowing they are stronger together.

Aukaha, kia kaha!