Ako Solutionz is looking for brilliant new kaihuawaere / facilitators to help deliver Te Ara Whakamana training in schools and organisations across Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Initially, this is a part time position and would suit a teacher, RTLB, Psychologist or similar able to gain release time, or someone who has time available for a few days training per month. There is travel involved as we deliver our services across the motu and you will be working alongside a colleague. The primary qualification we require is experience in successfully implementing Te Ara Whakamana and a commitment to excellence in delivering this kaupapa.
For a job description and more information about this role, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Ngawati-Osborne Pou Rangatira / Chief Executive Officer
When kura/schools set out on their Te Ara Whakamana journeys, passion, creativity, deep reflection, and innovations often occur. This has been the case at Oaklynn Special School in New Lynn, Auckland in their Rangatahi Unit.
Led by the Tumuaki, Louise Doyle and guided by Head Teachers, Donna and Jonathon, they worked collaboratively with several of the Rangatahi ākonga/young students to create an incredible peace of art representing the Te Ara Whakamana Atua and narrative and weaving in the whakapapa and region of their wonderful school, Oaklynn.
Using the mana/strengths of their Rangatahi, they have created an art piece that now graces the wall of an entrance into their school that sits about two meters in diameter. A stunning eye-catching piece that captures their mana/uniqueness, their āhua/character as a school and community, and the ara/journey they are taking together. You should all feel very proud of your creative efforts. Ngā mihi aroha ki a koutou kātoa. Mauri Ora.
Pia Harré, Ako Solutionz Kaihuawaere / Facilitator
Te Ara Whakamana is a tool designed by: Ako Solutionz – Plans and Strategies for Positive Change.
‘An opportunity for a fresh start’ By Nigel Marshall
When a person has behaved in ways that cause injury, discomfort, or disruption they often become ‘storied’. By this we mean that negative information is shared about that person that explains their behaviour as an integral part of who they are, rather than just talking about ‘what they have done’.
For example, a person becomes storied as aggressive, violent, or a bully etc rather than someone who has been aggressive, violent or has bullied.
This can have serious implications when we are seeking to help a person make positive changes.
Instead of looking for the cause of the behaviour in its context, we may be locating the cause of the behaviour in the essence of that person and often in their culture. This story is more likely to be seen as reflecting a fixed determined state that is resistant to change.
Not only can this negative story or view be held by those working with a akonga, e.g. teaching staff, other akonga, whānau etc, it may become internalised and held to be true by the akonga themselves.
If the akonga also believes that their actions are a result of their ‘fixed’ nature and/or culture, their belief and motivation for positive change will also be weakened.
While it is a familiar and all-too human response to generalise and categorise behaviour it is often a major barrier to making positive change.
By focussing on an akonga’s strengths, positive beliefs and values, and structuring opportunities for the akonga to apply those skills, strengths, beliefs, and values in ways that are of assistance to others and reflect well on themselves, we create the potential for a new, mana enhancing, positive story to emerge for the akonga themselves, staff, classmates and whānau.
This new story needs plenty of opportunity to be practiced and must be shared with all those who have previously been privy to the negative storying until the new story becomes the defining description.
This is an example of ‘co-regulation’ where the locus of responsibility for behaviour and self-regulation shifts from resting solely on the individual, to being the shared responsibility of the individual and those of us in that person’s community.
Horses Helping Humans Taranaki, Hōiho Hāpai Hapori is a licensee of the Horses Helping Humans programme developed by Sue Spence in 2006.
Lead facilitator Laura Menzies says the programme uses a trauma-informed approach to teach body awareness by pairing a young person with a facilitator and a horse.
“By interacting with the horse, young people learn how to adjust their body language and breathing to regulate their emotions, improving their assertive communication skills and self-confidence.”
The flow of the programme intentionally aligns with a pōwhiri, and the programme itself has an optional additional component called Te Ara Whakamana which is “a circular framework that uses the Māori creation story, colour, imagery, narrative and cultural metaphors”.
“We then incorporate the Atua (gods) from the Te Ara Whakamana model into the programme. For example, we channel feeling like Rongo-mā-Tāne (the protector of crops and also the god of peace) when we are interacting with the horses.”
She says specific horsemanship exercises that involve no riding are used to teach taiohi how they can adjust their breathing and their body language to keep themselves calm, improve their assertive communication skills and enable them to make good decisions when under pressure.
Laura tracked the outcomes for the 2021 funded clients and noticed there was an improvement in self-confidence, emotional regulation, assertive communication skills, self-awareness, awareness of others and mental well-being.
“We have proven results with anxiety, aggression, low self-confidence and youth justice. We tracked the client’s outcomes for three to six months after the sessions and saw amazing sustained improvements.”
Laura says feedback from referrers has been very positive.
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”.
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.”