Emily Looker reflects on the Ako Mātātupu event held at Auckland University Faculty of Education and Social Work.
Around 300 members of the Teach First NZ community came together at our annual Ako Mātātupu event to celebrate Cohort 2015’s completion of the Teach First NZ programme and welcome our newest members of the Teach First NZ whānau (Cohort 2017).
This year’s event lay down the challenge "What will it take?” asking our speakers and attendees to consider how they can be making a greater difference in the communities that we serve.
A number of special members of our whānau spoke, including our Kaumātua Awi Riddell, the Faculty of Education and Social Work Associate Dean Fiona Ell, our keynote speaker Hon Hekia Parata and students Tule Mahe and Ruta Paniani from our partner school Southern Cross Campus.
The poignant and often comical insights shared by our outgoing participants and alumni of their experiences in the classroom helped ground us in the work that Teach First NZ participants are doing, and the impact they are making. It was especially humbling to hear from Meghan Ashford who found herself in the unexpected predicament where she had too many students eager to take on extra learning in her weekend tutorials.
Ako Mātātupu allowed us a special opportunity to farewell our outgoing Chief Executive and Co-Founder, Shaun Sutton, who has tirelessly worked towards developing Teach First NZ into what it has become today. We also took the opportunity to welcome our incoming CEO, Jay Allnutt, who has stepped up into the role after working for Teach First NZ for the past 2 years.
My personal highlight of the evening was hearing from our 2017 Cohort of 30 participants, our largest cohort to date. It was fantastic to have the new participants' introduce themselves and share the waiata they had written during their recent noho marae at the Epsom campus whare, Tūtahi Tonu.
While the evening was filled with reflections and memories from different members of our whānau, special remembrance was given to our Cohort 2013 participant Esther Rakete who recently passed away. Esther’s impact as a friend, teacher, mother, and fellow participant of our C13s was beautifully acknowledged throughout the night. Our aroha and thoughts continue to go out to her family in particular, and all those who knew Esther well.
I know that we all came away from this years Ako Mātātupu event feeling empowered and excited about what our graduating Cohort 2015 participants have achieved and what our newest recruits of Cohort 2017 have ahead of them.
By Emily Looker
To see the photos from the event, CLICK HERE
Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, was our keynote speaker for the evening. Watch her speech below:
Two students from Southern Cross Campus, Tule Mahe and Ruta Paniani shared their poems on "The impact of Teachers".