"We need to communicate better with Māori students. We need to share ideas, plans and resources - and to know what is there for us."
- Year 12 student from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate
We are thrilled to share some highlights from our recent Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum, which was held at the Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) in Ōtara. This event provided a unique opportunity for all those passionate about the educational needs of Māori learners in Tāmaki Makaurau to come together, engage in meaningful discussions and gain valuable insights into our community's pressing issues.
Dr Will Flavell, our Kaihautū Māori, shared his Fulbright experience interacting with indigenous communities in Boston and elsewhere in the USA. His words underscored the importance of indigenous groups collaborating and supporting one another in our collective quest for tino rangatiratanga.
Our keynote speaker for the day was Principal Kiri Turketo from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate. As a first-time principal, Kiri spoke passionately about her role as an agent of change within an educational system now working for her predominantly Māori and Pasifika learners.
When Kiri started at the school, she saw four areas she wanted to push hard: attendance, achievement, engagement and systems. To do this, she brought in support services, whānau and role models from the community. She also challenged tradition by redesigning how the curriculum was taught at her school.
An inspiring rangatahi Maori panel marked the forum's conclusion. These young voices offered invaluable perspectives on various issues, including their vision for a transformed education system, creating a more enriching learning environment for our youth and fostering inclusivity to meet the needs of our rangatahi. This showed that we need to continue to focus on elevating the voices of our tamariki and rangatahi to improve our education system.
"We need a deeper focus on cultural competency for our teachers and students. More emphasis on language weeks or pronouncing our names right. Also, having staff that are more reflective of the student population."
- Mukai Duder-Hura (Year 13 student from Dilworth School)
We extend our thanks to all who attended this year's forum. Your presence and engagement was important, further fueling our collective commitment to enhancing the educational experiences and opportunities for Māori learners and their whānau in Tāmaki Makaurau. The kōrero from this forum will help support and lead the works goals that we have at Te Hononga Akoranga COMET, so that we can continue to advocate for our Māori communities.