Team leader weaves Māori culture into everyday learning

Team leader weaves Māori culture into everyday learning

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Tangiwai Trueman with her two mokopuna

A team leader in a bicultural preschool, New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC) student Tangiwai Trueman’s goal is to lead and implement kaupapa Māori in centre life.

“I absolutely love being able to incorporate this treasured language into our centre, especially as I speak it fluently and am of Māori descent myself. It is so wonderful to see tamariki and kaiako alike welcome te reo Māori with open hearts and minds.

“We have a fantastic whare that was uniquely built for us called ‘Whare Kiwi’. This is a special space we enjoy interacting with our tamariki in.”

Tangiwai shares that Whare Kiwi was built to support the implementation of te reo me ona tikanga (Māori language and its cultural practices) within her centre.

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Tangiwai Trueman with children in Whare Kiwi

“Whare Kiwi gives authenticity, honesty and understanding of all that is Māori by acknowledging the heritage. It represents a hub for iwi, whānau and community, as a whare tupuna/wharepuni is an ancestral house where gatherings and sleep take place.

“Recently, one of our young children was upset as he was still settling in to the centre. As I have a relationship with his whānau, I knew a quiet place would help him to settle. I read him a story in Whare Kiwi and he calmed down and fell asleep with me by his side.”

Now well into her Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) studies with NZTC, Tangiwai’s qualification is helping her to grow as a kaiako.

“I have built strong relationships with everyone in my centre, and my confidence in engaging with whānau has grown. I have also developed more of an understanding regarding curriculum documents, right through to the hopes and aspirations of tamariki; including how to be more in tune to their needs.”

Tangiwai plans to continue learning and growing as much as she can to better support tamariki and whānau.

“I now have four beautiful mokopuna, and I love helping their parents by suggesting strategies to support these young ones during their early childhood years. This is something really valuable I’m learning through my studies.”