Randwick School – Hutt News

School using kaupapa Māori to enhance mana of its students

Narratives, gods and metaphors from the Māori creation story are being used to enhance the emotional literacy and mana of schoolkids.

“It’s so much bigger than just a programme. Mana enhancement has become our everything, really – it’s become our curriculum,” says Randwick School principal Simonne Goodall​.

The school has been using the Te Ara Whakamana programme since the start of the year. Through it, kids are taught about Māori atua, or gods, and use their personality traits to identify how they are feeling, so they can react to and cope in times of stress.

“It’s normal not to feel great all the time. This is about what to do when you get into that phase,” Goodall said.

Victor Maaka​, 10, said “it’s helpful because you can express what you’re feeling. [Teachers and classmates] ask how they can help you”.

Randwick School principal Simonne Goodall says the mana-enhancing programme helps all students identify with and think about their backgrounds.

Ethan Withers​, 9, liked learning about the gods – he said he connected most with Tāne and Tangaroa because he cared about the environment.

Each morning Randwick’s students place a card with their name under a god that reflects their mood – among others, Rongo-mā-Tāne represents peace, Rūaumoko is anger and resentment, while Tangaroa shows they are “seeking shelter from a storm”.

The system encourages students to be open about their feelings and draws a line in the sand, allowing issues to be dealt with before they come to a head.

The programme had such an impact, a mural featuring atua was commissioned for the school’s hall.

More than half of Randwick’s roll is Māori, and Goodall said it was great for those students because they could see how their culture was relevant.

Learning about kaupapa Māori was beneficial for non-Māori, too.

“It’s all about enhancing mana. Mana is not something that just Māori students have.

“The programme introduces more diversity [to the curriculum] and it encourages them to talk about their culture, and their identity.”

Goodall said Randwick had been introducing more Māori elements to school life over the last few years to acknowledge the special place tangata whenua hold in New Zealand.

“It’s about bringing the culture off the paper and into life.”

Article written for Hutt News by Matthew Tso, Jun 14 2021. Original link here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/125399417/school-using-kaupapa-mori-to-enhance-mana-of-its-students

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