Ako Mātātupu Rangatira at Tekau
Dec 23, 2022 - News items
Celebrating a decade of service and wayfinding toward education equity! Hinekura Smith (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi, Te Ati Awa) was a pou in the development and delivery of the fledgling Teach First NZ Programme, and at our recent community celebration reminded us to keep hold of our 'radical-tanga' alongside our manaakitanga. Change, after all, requires brave thinking! Check out more of the insights from Tekau:
Pictured above: Ako Mātātupu Kaitiaki Dr Michelle Johansson thanks Dr Hinekura Smith during the Tekau: 10 Years of Ako Mātātupu ceremony
The first decade of Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ has been a story of a global concept becoming a locally-rooted movement for education leadership and service in Aotearoa. Ako Mātātupu has navigated many changes over the years: from partnering with existing tertiary establishments to becoming our own Indigenous-led school in 2020; from basing ourselves on a global model to researching and advocating for best practises for our young people and communities; from first serving a handful of schools in lower socioeconomic communities in Auckland and Northland, to serving 95 schools and kura - and counting - all over Aotearoa New Zealand; from an initial cohort of 16 participant teachers to a network of over 300 Kairapu (alumni) in positions of influence in our nation’s education ecosystem.
Pictured above: Tekau celebration attendees sing a waiata of thanks
Our evening of celebration was a chance to take stock, give thanks for those that broke ground and continue to innovate our ambitious employment-based programme, and mihi to those that carry the torch for a thriving education system and society. As Taki Kairapu, Alumni Lead Denyce Su’a shared at our evening celebration, “since our first cohort began in 2012, the majority of our Kairapu have remained in schools, where they serve as teachers, heads of learning, deans, heads of department, deputy principals, principals, RTLBs and board representatives. We have had Kairapu move into working with the Ministry of Education, Non-Government Organisations, and social justice initiatives. Kairapu who have become business owners, or gone back to become students themselves again, studying for Masters and PhDs. Kairapu who have become mamas and papas. Kairapu who have become authors, musicians and artists.” It all matters: both the tangible and intangible developments of the past ten years that have made teaching a first-choice career for talented and culturally-located people, towards an Aotearoa where all young people can thrive.
Pictured above: Denyce Su'a (Kairapu and Kaihāpai Teacher Educator) shares the successes and stories of our Kairapu network of change-seekers
Cohort 2018 Kairapu Moana-Aroha Henry (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngātiwai) shared a brilliant promise and challenge at Tekau: 10 Years of Ako Mātātupu: “I am the first school principal to come out of the Teach First NZ Programme, and I will definitely not be the last.” In the words of Moana-Aroha’s Ngāti Hine elder Sir James Henare, “kua tawhiti kē to haerenga mai, kia kore e haere tonu. He nui rawa o mahi, kia kore e mahi tonu. We have come too far not to go further, we have done too much not to do more."
Pictured above: Moana-Aroha Henry tells her story of becoming a school principal after completing the Teach First NZ Programme, serving her iwi and keeping the torch lit, together, for te reo Māori.
As well as sharing stories and words of impact, Tekau was a chance to reunite and reconnect after, in some cases, many years apart. These pandemic years have been hard on the spirits young people and educators alike, but being back together makes everything feel possible. We loved seeing the alchemy of such formative groups as the founders of Ako Mātātupu, and the village of Kairapu that spur each other on:
Above: Deborah George, founding board chair; Shaun Sutton, founding CEO of Ako Mātātupu; Edna Novak, Teach For All Head of Region, Asia Pacific.
Above: Moana-Aroha Henry, Tumuaki Principal at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Rāwhitiroa; Teina Wells-Smith, Acting Deputy Principal at Whangārei Boys' High School; To'asavili Tuputala, Dean at Mangere College. All three of these teachers and leaders are Kairapu, alumni of the Teach First NZ Programme.
Tekau: 10 Years of Participants on the Teach First NZ ProgrammeNews items
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