Whanaungatanga at the heart of lockdown life

Issue: Volume 99, Number 8

Posted: 2 June 2020
Reference #: 1HA7rh

Whanaungatanga and kaitiakitanga have remained strong priorities for Te Kura ō Ngaruahinerangi as kaiako supported the learning and wellbeing of their tamariki and whānau throughout the lockdown.

Kia Uruuru Mai a Haumaia i te wā o te Urutā Korona

Tangia te ihu, maringiringi ngā roimata i tēnei wā taumahatanga ki runga i a tātou katoa i te wehenga atu o ngā tini mate i taka i te pō huri rauna i te motu haere atu ra koutou ki rātou mā kua wheturangitia haere atu rā koutou i te rangimarie whakangaro atu rā moe mai rā koutou i ōu koutou moengaroa okioki ai, kia koutou rā e noho pania nei ka urū mai a hauora, a haukaha, a haumaia, ki runga, ki raro, ki roto, ki waho rire rire hau pai marire.

Tahuri atu ki tātou te hunga ora nei tēnei te mihi kau atu ki a tātou katoa.

Ka pai au e noho ki runga i taku waka kia te manawanui

Making a commitment to maintaining our resilience

Nā Tohu Kakahi rāua ko Te Whiti o Rongomai


The Taitoko-Vella whānau in Opunake enjoy taking part in daily karakia.

The Taitoko-Vella whānau in Opunake enjoy taking part in daily karakia.

As the country headed into lockdown, Te Kura ō Ngaruahinerangi was already looking ahead at what kura might look like if they had to close. A week prior to lockdown the tumuaki of all the Kura Kaupapa Māori, Te Aho Matua ki Taranaki came together to discuss and share ideas of how they could help and support each other, their tamariki and their whānau whānui.

“Educational attainment was not at the top of our list,” says Ngapera Moeahu, tumuaki of Te Kura ō Ngaruahinerangi.

“Within our whānau, we realised the pressure and stress that school closure and isolation would create within our homes. We committed ourselves to delivering a creative, whānau-inclusive programme to promote and nurture whānau wellbeing and learning.”

The challenge of operating from a distance posed some major questions for the Kahui Kaiako. How to maintain the essence of tikanga me te reo? Under the guidance of Te Aho Matua, how to maintain the mana of their tikanga, without compromise? How to maintain some normality?

Karakia important part of kura life

“As a whānau we decided that karakia was the most important component. It would get whānau up in the morning, give purpose and provide spiritual upliftment every day, and maintain connections with our tamariki and whānau on a day-to-day basis,” says Ngapera.

“In order to connect with whānau, we needed to ensure the availability of devices such as laptops, Chromebooks and iPads to support their kaupapa. However, connectivity within homes posed the biggest challenge due to the remoteness of some whānau and the lack of consistent internet supply within homes.

“We surveyed all our whānau to gauge what their needs were. While the kura was not in a position to supply every child with a device, we were able to ensure that each of our whānau had at least one working device in the home and, in some cases, we supplied two devices where there were three or more children,” says Ngapera.

The first karakia of lockdown was livestreamed from Parihaka on Thursday 26 March. This proved such a great success that whānau requested to open it up to extended whānau, hapū and Iwi of Ngaruahinerangi. Since then the karakia has been livestreamed at 9am and 7pm every day of the week and extended to whānau members in other parts of the country.

“Opening it up to whānau across the country has meant that kaiako get to breathe a little,” says Ngapera.

“The engagement from around the country has been overwhelming. We have kaumātua, aunties, uncles, cousins, brothers and sisters of our wider whānau from as far south as Invercargill to the Far North engaging in karakia.”

It’s something that has become a fixture in many households.

“Our house looks forward to karakia,” says Bea Weston Jacobson, a matua of the kura.

“It gets us up in the morning, it breaks the isolation bubble. It’s not as good as kanohi ki te kanohi but I like how all the whānau are having input. Whānau participation has been great. I absolutely love it.”

“It’s good for the wairua,” agrees Morna Matangi-Bush, another matua.

“It’s hard being away from mum and dad so getting in on the karakia is really good. My son likes the karakia at night because of the kids. He gets excited when he sees the other tamariki. It’s uplifting and the words of the karakia and waiata helps us to get through the day. It is good for my son at night because he knows he has to go to bed after that. I am so grateful for everything that the kaiako are doing. They are awesome; going way above our expectations.”

Rhonda Vanstone agrees the karakia helps give the day some structure. “If we know that karakia starts at nine, it is nice to be up and dressed. It’s nice to see a whole lot of people watching and people joining in.”

The Wright whānau located in Rotorua enjoyed the opportunity to take karakia live via the kura Facebook page.

The Wright whānau located in Rotorua enjoyed the opportunity to take karakia live via the kura Facebook page.

Tikanga wānanga

The karakia has been supported with tikanga wānanga provided by Te Reo o Ngaruahine/Huirangi Online delivered by kura tikanga advisors Phil and Puhi Nuku.

Kaiako have utilised a number of different online platforms including Google Classroom, Seesaw, Matifica Kahoot and Zoom, allowing the kura to maintain connectivity with tamariki.

“With the amount of te reo Māori resources coming online, we are able to utilise these within our daily programme. It has really opened up our world online. Ngā mihi nui ki te ao hangarau Māori mō ēnei taonga rāuemi,” says Ngapera.

Kaiako also began preparing workbook activities for every tamaiti with fun-filled activities that could keep them busy every day. The activities were whānau-focused to enable matua to assist and engage with their children’s learning.

Chelsea Rennie, a kaiako of the kura and a parent of three young children who attend the kura, says it has been a challenge balancing the needs of their own tamariki with those of the tamariki of the kura.

“At first we were so focused on what we could provide for parents to help with their tamariki at home, forgetting about our own. We decided to draw up a household wātaka [timetable] with activities for the kids to do within our bubble, as well as kura mahi.”

Wellness packs

Their efforts also extended to organising wellness packs for their kura whānau.

Rhonda Vanstone preparing weekly food packs to go out to whānau.

Rhonda Vanstone preparing weekly food packs to go out to whānau.

Packs were ordered the day before lockdown and packed at the local supermarket. With delivery by kaiako out of the question, arrangements were made for an essential worker to deliver the packages to whānau. The packs were based on the needs of whānau as well as ingredients for those who had indicated they would like to take an online cooking lesson with the kura. All whānau received a pack unless they chose to opt out.

Ngapera says matua have been extremely grateful for the efforts of the kura.

“It’s keeping the tamariki engaged and busy but not pushing them too much,” says one parent.

“They are excited about the Zoom sessions because they are able to see their classmates. Our kura is at the top of the ball game as we are delivering kai and looking after the whānau. Our kaiako go over and above their professional duties. I want to say ‘thank you’ to our kura for our parcels that arrived this morning. We really needed it. We were so thankful.”

Ngapera says they are totally committed to ensuring the wellbeing of the kura whānau.

“Manaakitanga is what we as Māori do well. This was our main priority before anything else. If it is anything we know, we know our whānau well.”

Renee Wright, board chair for the kura, says the lockdown has stretched their thinking.

“Nine o’clock to three o’clock, five days a week is a thing of the past. Connectivity, whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, spirituality remains our priority. This is our ‘Te Aho Matua’ way.”

Kia piki tātou ki runga i tēnei kaupapa o te manawanui

E kore tātou e mate, ka mate ko te mate, ka ora tonu ai tātou

Pai Marire

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero, reporter@edgazette.govt.nz

Posted: 8:31 am, 2 June 2020

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