Saturday, February 8, 2014

The spirit of Waitangi

"Demonstrate commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa New Zealand"  From the New Zealand Registered Teacher Criteria
The Spirit of Waitangi - A Partnership in Action
(and yes, I took this photo at our Waitangi celebration)

I never really did understand Waitangi day. It seems like the closest we get in New Zealand to a national day where we celebrate New Zealand yet, Waitangi day is littered with protests, endless debates and a general sense of irritation. Yet, this Waitangi was different. For the very first time I saw a true celebration of partnership. As one of my students so aptly put it on Friday, "we hacked Waitangi." Rather than a presenting Waitangi day as a commemoration of a boring historical event strung out by endless negotiations, we presented and celebrated Waitangi as a partnership. And yes, we really did celebrate.

We started they day with exploring the treaty activities such as Guerrilla Waitangi , Treaty Treasure hunts and Treaty Drama. This was followed by workshops such as wood carving, painting, flax weaving, fishing and so forth. After school the community was invited to join us for a few sport games and some amazing kai, made by our staff and students. It all sounds simple enough, but there was nothing simple about the beautiful community spirit that was so tangible as our school and our community celebrated their partnership. I was lucky enough to be designated photographer for the day so was able to walk around the school and see how the Maori elders from the community taught our kids. I could see our teachers and our community, in a true partnership for the good of our children. And together, the school, the students and the community celebrated partnership, the spirit of Waitangi. 

Of course this post would not be complete without recognising the outstanding vision of our school leaders and the hands on efforts of all the teachers. I feel privileged to be part of the team.

I'm washing dishes here. There was this amazing solar powered dishwashing cart to help minimise waste. 

Serving up the amazing food 
Print making

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