In mid-2014 I was presented with an opportunity by a Twitter colleague of mine, Sonya Van Shaijik aka @vanschaijik, to write the final chapter of a collaborative e-book to be launched at the end of October, to conclude Connected Educator Month New Zealand. The kaupapa that I was asked to write about, all in te reo Māori, was ‘Whanaungatanga — Relationships’. I consented to write the chapter, and on the 31st of October the e-book was launched. For the purposes of this blog, I have translated my thoughts from that time into English for everyone to read. Here is my disclaimer: all the ideas and thoughts are mine, and are an interpretation rather than a direct translation of my previous blog.
In this blog, the concept of Whanaungatanga — Relationships will be discussed. Whanaungatanga is a massive kaupapa, one which can not be fully unpacked in one short blog. Therefore, this blog will be themed on three aspects, relationships between people, people’s relationship with the environment, and the relationship between people and the non-physical ‘spiritual’ world.
Unuhia te rito o te harakeke kei whea te kōmako e kō
Whakatairangitia rere ki uta rere ki tai
Ui mai koe ki ahau he aha te mea nui o te ao
Māku e kī atu he tangata, he tangata, he tangata!
Remove the heart of the flax bush and where will the kōmako sing?
Proclaim it to the land proclaim it to the sea
Ask me ‘What is the greatest thing in the world?’
I will reply, ‘It is people, people, people!’
We often see this whakataukī ‘tossed around’ within educational contexts to acknowledge the importance of establishing strong, sustainable relationships with students and their whānau, colleagues, hapu, iwi and the wider community. This indeed is a formidable task, even for the most ‘onto it’ educator. So I ponder, ‘How do we form these relationships with all these key education partners?’ This is what our educational leaders are saying: