Hola, tēnā koutou katoa!
Thank you WIPCE! Thanks for giving indigenous education a global stage and audience!
World Indigenous Peoples' Conference on Education, this year in Peru
Tamara with new friends made at WIPCE 2011, Peru:
This amazing three-yearly conference brings together some of the world’s leading indigenous organisations, students, academics, and professionals to share their stories and promote best practice for the development of programmes for indigenous peoples of the world.
WIPCE has been running for 24 years, but WIPCE Peru was the first time a non-English speaking country has hosted the conference. As you can imagine, this brought several problems. It’s true, the organisation and communication could have been better, however, the local people and the city of Cusco made up for any frustrations we may have had.
My colleague Dee Reid and I had the honour of presenting on our work Te Manawa Pou, an online te reo Māori programme for teachers in English medium schools Years 0-8. We were thrilled at the opportunity to share our methodology and experiences at an international level. We were rapt at the interest in our programme—many seeing our model as something that could easily be modified and implemented in any country, for any indigenous language worldwide.
In one word: whanaungatanga
A colleague of mine asked me to sum up WIPCE in one word, which I thought was impossible. But when he pushed me for an answer, I had to say ‘whanaungatanga’.
This is the Māori concept of a relationship based on shared experiences and working together. My professional and personal learning was immense, and I have now established numerous professional networks. But more importantly, I have made great friends from all corners of the world—all of them with a passion for and commitment to indigenous education, and all doing their best to make a difference.
Whanaungatanga is a concept that we should all take the time to explore. I believe it impacts on us every day. It influences where we live, where we work, what we like to do socially, and most importantly, what we learn. Those around us—those with whom we share relationships—are shaping who we are.
The story of Rawiri Waratini-Karena
Tamara (left), Rawiri (centre), Tamara's sister, Luana (right)
One particularly moving WIPCE workshop I attended was by David (Rawiri) Waratini-Karena.
Part of his presentation was sharing his family history. He went back through four generations of his whānau, and his story of loss of language, loss of culture, the impact of violence, gangs, drug and alcohol abuse on his whānau, moved me to tears. The sadness of what his whānau had endured and suffered resonated greatly with me, as it is a common story for many Māori in Aotearoa. However, what brought home the inspiring impact of whanaungatanga is the path Rawiri is on now. Through his professional and personal relationships, coupled with his motivation and belief in himself, he has broken that pattern. He is now a respected and inspiring lecturer at WinTec, currently working towards his PhD, and, thanks to WIPCE, someone who is now a much-loved friend. Whanaugatanga in action!
Can you see whanaungatanga in your life?
Can you think of an example of whanaungatanga in your professional or personal life that has had a profound impact on you? Is there something that has shifted your thinking, or even changed your life pathway somehow? Has there been a time where you may have been the one to form a relationship that has impacted on someone else in that way?
Leave us a comment below and share your story in the true spirit of whanaungatanga, and build relationships so we all may grow.
This was a trip of a lifetime. Thank you to CORE for allowing me this opportunity, and thank you to the people of Peru. Ngā mihi nui ki te tangata whenua o Peru me te rōpu CORE hoki. Nei te mihi aroha ki āku hoa hou ki te whenua whānui. I am a WIPCE fan for life, and I will definitely see you all again in Hawaii for WIPCE 2014!