The aim of the wānanga is to bring leadership teams together in a consciously bi-cultural space. The intention of the He Kākano team is to familiarise school leaders with the most central of Māori contexts, rather than to alienate them. The logical way to do that is to begin by asking leaders to consider themselves first and foremost as cultural beings, whose cultural experiences provide the basis for the way they think and act as leaders. Since He Kākano is directed at Māori student achievement and success, it makes sense to ask school leaders to do some of their learning in a bicultural context driven by tikanga Māori – that is through Māori ways of doing and thinking.
Wānanga 1 - Au
The marae experiences, therefore, build on the concept of "au" (that is, I/me/my self). The first wānanga have been developed around the "au" – leaders are asked to position themselves and their leadership competencies along a continuum that leads to a description of highly effective leadership characteristics which have been proven (much of the latest learning coming from the current Te Kotahitanga research) to increase learning achievements for Māori students.
Wānanga 2 - Placing "Au" in Whānau
Our use of the word whānau in the He Kākano model, with "au" at the core, refers to the ‘in-school’ relations and relationships that school leaders have with their teaching and non-teaching staff and their student communities. Leaders are asked to examine their roles and places within their in-school communities, examining their relational understandings of themselves by asking: ‘
- What do I know about the Māori students in my school?
- How does my knowledge impact on how I see myself and my role as a leader?
In other words, leaders are asked to examine what impact their knowledge has on their leadership roles and responsibiities in relation to their school’s people and policies. These include the Secondary Principals’ Standards, the NEGs and NAGs, Ka Hikitia, the New Zealand Curriculum Framework and the School Charter.
Wānanga 3 - Placing Whanau within Whanaunga
The next level of relationships leaders need to engage in is reflected in the word whanaunga. The school leaders are asked to consciously place themselves within the ever-increasing network of relationships that extend beyond the borders of the school. These wānanga connect leaders to the broader social, cultural, political contexts in which their school whānau and whanaunga operate. It includes those communities inextricably connected to the school, but who live outside the in-school communities. They include parents, grandparents, relations and caregivers.
Wānanga 4 - Placing Whanaunga within Whanaungatanga
Building on their engagement with whanaunga, the wānanga continue to develop the school leaders’ relational understandings, in order to strengthen their engagement with wider communities of interest, including local and broader educational, social, cultural and political interests. The focus in this wānanga is working together to enhance the cultural competence and cultural literacies of whānau and whanaunga.
Wānanga 5 – Placing Whanaungatanga within Whakawhanaungatanga
The strengthened relationships developed through the different wānanga and co-construction hui all serve to build towards the ultimate goal of Whakawhanaungatanga – the active engagement and connection of all the preceding components, where the four Māori student outcomes identified in Ka Hikitia, can be realised. In this wānanga, principals look at their agentic role across all the different communities of interest, to enable Māori students to take up their roles as citizens of the world, as Māori.
In sum, the wānanga marae experiences provide the leaders with the luxury of being able to look at themselves as educational leaders in terms of being relationship builders; where they can examine their values, theories of practice and practices, and the catalytic component of their relationships within a Māori framework.
From Mana to Manaakitanga
The above model also links leaders with a core Māori value and concept – that of mana – and its different manifestations in the range of relationships that are developed in the wānanga. Mana used in this sense refers not just to the authority and prestige implicit in a leadership role, but to the way leaders treat those with whom it has a relationship. As a concept applied to leaders, the goal of leadership is to enhance the mana of those in their care. Acknowledging the individuals in their care implies that leaders are also acknowledging the whānau that they come from – and in the case of Māori students, the hapū and iwi from which those individuals come. In so doing, leaders enhance their own mana.
In the broader communities, mana is shared, distributed and acknowledged, so that the principle of manaaki – generosity, caring and sharing – becomes embedded in the way that leaders and their schools interact within and without their communities of interest. In a school where manaakitanga is a key value, leaders and teachers care for their students as culturally located human beings above all else.