On the first morning of the July school holidays, Teach First NZ participants, alumni, staff, guests and families gathered at the University of Auckland Epsom campus, coffee in hand, to board the bus bound for Waitangi.
Prospective members of our 2017 cohort also joined us for the trip to glean as much as they could from their tuakana, and to start building whanaungatanga amongst themselves and the wider Teach First NZ whanau before they start the programme later this year. The event, known as the Mid-Year Intensive, was organised by our Northland participants and alum, and had been highly anticipated, as the group was about to be immersed in the history and implications of the Treaty of Waitangi while staying at Te Tii Marae at Waitangi.
On the first day, the group toured the Waitangi grounds and had the privilege of hearing from Hekenukumai ‘Hec’ Busby, the master waka carver, Maori leader and expert in traditional celestial navigation. In the evening, back at Te Tii Marae, Hone Harawira (New Zealand Māori activist and former parliamentarian) spoke to the group on the manifestations of inequality and how movements such as Teach First NZ are so important.
After staying overnight on Te Tii marae, it was a privilege the following day to be welcomed onto Mahuhu Ki Te Rangi Marae in Tautoro, which is the marae of C14 alum, Kristina Te Whata’s whanau. We were given great insight into the achievements of and issues that face her community, deepening our understanding of the young people that our Northland-based participants interact with on a daily basis. We were also treated to a powerful kapa haka performance by students of Northland College, as they rehearsed for an upcoming competition.
The weekend was a significant one for the Teach First NZ community, as it has sparked a renewal of our commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi and bicultural Aotearoa New Zealand for the benefit of generations to come.
View Jeremy Downing's Vlog on MYI below: