Gisborne puna reo honoured to receive top education award

Issue: Volume 95, Number 18

Posted: 10 October 2016
Reference #: 1H9d4h

Te Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti was named the winner of the Excellence in Teaching and Learning – Atatū Award in the June ceremony.

Curriculum manager Erana Haerewa, who accepted the award on behalf of the puna reo and its community, says winning was very exciting for the whole Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti whānau.

“Winning was a huge honour; it’s been an amazing journey,” she says. “Entering the awards, having the judges visit, becoming finalists and then winning was a lot of hard work, but it was definitely worth it."

“When we won it was huge and it was a really proud moment for our puna reo. As a team we’ve been working very hard with a focus on high quality.”

Before the teaching team headed to Auckland for the ceremony they went for a special walk with the children from the puna reo.

“We took the children up our maunga, the one that we all walk up every day, and told them that we may win a very special taonga. They were all very excited.”

Upon the teaching team’s return to Gisborne they celebrated the win with the tamariki, who did a haka pōhiri to celebrate.

The award judges recognised the puna reo for basing its teaching and learning on its local iwi identity of Poroutanga.

The mana of each child and their whānau is respected and enhanced. Children take charge of their own learning in a way that respects the Māori and Pākehā world view.

Erana says that Te Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti has been open for six years, however the centre’s approach to collaborative iwi-based learning has developed over time.

“This is something new for us,” she says. “We’ve created a curriculum based on tikanga Māori.”

Erana says a major focus for Te Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti is on iwi-based learning so that tamariki learn about their own culture and history.

“Our tamariki have a strong cultural identity. We encourage connections to their marae through tikanga, we learn pōhiri, we teach the meaning behind different waiata, and much more."

“We want the centre to be like a marae for our tamariki and their whānau. While they are with us they learn manaakitanga, so everything that they do here they will go away and do at their home marae.”

Erana says taking part in the 2016 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards was an amazing experience and she would do it all again if she could.

“Presenting our curriculum was a great experience and so was having the judges visit,” she says. “For our teachers and our whānau it was a very special experience."

“I told the teachers not to do anything differently so that the judges would see exactly what we normally do. They saw a day in the life of our puna reo. That’s what we’re really proud of.”

When asked what is next for Te Puna Reo o Puhi Kaiti, Erana says the goal of the centre is to keep improving its practice for its tamariki.

Further information

The 2017 Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards will open for entries later this year. We’ll keep you posted on the opening date.

To find out more about the awards, go to the PMA awards website(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 5:12 pm, 10 October 2016

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