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Tamara Bell 's blogs

  • The last day of the conference consisted of a visit to a rural indigenous community followed by the closing ceremony in the evening.

    The visit to the village was eye opening.  The people were so friendly and welcoming, very happy to have us there.  They showed us around their village and with the help of an interpreter, they shared how with financial assistance they have been able to irrigate their land and in turn produce crops for them to eat and sell.  With the money the earn, they have been able to build safer and more hygenic homes and send their children to school.  A percentage of our WIPCE conference fee went to this village as well as all the money raised from the Aotearoa evening, so it was awesome to know we had contributed in some small way.  The highlight of the visit was a wee girl who came and sat with me.  We played together on my iphone, reading childrens stories, drawing pictures and listening to nursery ryhmes, it was super special, language barriers didn't stop us laughing and playing and it made me miss my own 2 girls terribly!



    The closing ceremony was good, a little too long for me, as there were many speeches and they had to be said 3 times - in Quenchuan, then Spanish and then again in English!  Plus, we were outside, at night in high altitude so it was really cold!  The best news of the night was that the host for WIPCE 2014 is... Hawaii!  I am absolutely going to be there, this trip has been amazing, I have learned so much, been inspired by some amazing international educators and made many friends from indigenous communities around the world!  I am a WIPCE fan for life.



  • Fourth and last day of WIPCE workshops

    Today was the last opportunity we had to attend presentations as tomorrow we head out to visit the community and then have the closing ceremony.

    I dragged myself away from Aotearoa workshops and attended one form Australia and from Sweden…having said that, my two favourites of the day were yet again, from Aotearoa.


    Whānau transformation through indigenous values based education and leadership’ by Bentham Ohia, CEO of Te Wananga o Aotearoa. 


    This was the keynote for the day and it was fantastic.  Bentham is a dynamic and passionate presenter, like many others I have had the privilege of viewing.  He is the youngest CEO of any tertiary provider in New Zealand and has been doing an exceptional job, as many will attest to.

    Bentham talked about what TWoA are doing to promote indigenous values based education and leadership in Aotearoa and overseas.  He shared the journey of how TWoA have developed close ties to AIO-Americans for Indian Opportunity and how in turn, they established AMO-Advancement for Māori Opportunity.  These 2 organisations have a reciprocal and beneficial relationship, with exchanges and sharing of knowledge and resources.  They also have a shared commitment to supporting indigenous education around the world, most recently travelling to Bolivia and meeting with President Evo Morales.  Bentham spoke extremely highly of the President and praised his support of indigenous education,  sharing a fabulous quote from the President, “I am not a communist, I am not a socialist – I am indigenous!”


    Kawa Oranga: Māori lifestyle advancement through exercise, sport and health’ by Isaac Warbrick, of Te Wananga o Raukawa. 

     This was the last workshop I attended, and a great way to finish.  I chose this workshop because of my concern about the health of our indigenous people.  The statistics of Māori health are shocking and at times disturbing and it was a pleasant surprise to see a workshop dedicated to this kaupapa.

    Isaac is a lecturer at  Te Wananga o Raukawa where he heads the programme Kawa Oranga.  This programme is designed with Māori in mind, by Māori and for Māori. 

    Obesity related illnesses disproportionately affect indigenous people throughout the 
    world. While these illnesses are regarded as physical disorders, they also impact on
    psychological, spiritual and family wellbeing. A physically active lifestyle is associated
    with a reduced risk of developing these illnesses. What’s more, physical activity has a
    positive effect on aspects of psychological, spiritual and social wellbeing. Thus, exercise
    and sport could prove a valuable tool in enhancing Māori wellbeing, and the wellbeing of
    other indigenous peoples. Nevertheless, in accordance with Māori aspirations for
    tinorangatiratanga (self-determination), initiatives aimed at increasing Māori
    participation in exercise and sport will only be successful if programs are led by Māori
    and incorporate Māori perspectives in their design. Recently, the Institute of Māori
    Lifestyle Advancement (IMLA) was established to enhance research and build
    knowledge in aspects of sport, exercise and health with a focus on Māori wellbeing. The
    flagship degree of IMLA, the Kawa Oranga degree, incorporates curriculum from
    exercise physiology, sport psychology, sociology, nutrition and health. While kaupapa
    Māori values inform all aspects of design and delivery of the Kawa Oranga degree,
    students are also taught to utilize a Māori approach when applying this knowledge. The
    aim of this degree is to develop a Māori workforce capable of applying Māori
    perspectives to all areas of sport, exercise and health. This qualification, located at the
    interface between indigenous and scientific knowledge, is the first of its kind and
    provides a model to be used or built upon in other institutions and among other
    indigenous groups

    I loved how Isaac threw out the challenge to each of us, having a healthy mind, body and spirit is our own responsibility.  We have to look after ourselves and our whānau, there is no quick fix but the answer is simple - eat healthy, exercise often. It's not rocket science huh.  I'm going to work hard on this Isaac...as soon as I get home to NZ!  Look how great an example of healthy eating Isaac sets, here he is indulging in the local kai, Guinea Pig hmmmm!


    Check out Isaac’s blog devoted to promoting a healthy lifestyle through the use of sport and exercise -http://www.exerciseisthebest.com/


  • Today was yet again another fantastic day of presentations.  I was drawn to the workshops of people I had met over the last few days, particular those from Aotearoa.  Thanks to the amazing opportunity I have had to attend WIPCE,  I have developed new relationships and friendships with many people from all around the world but especially from Aotearoa. 

     Top 2 for the day:

    ‘Setting the examples – Māui and Tāwhaki – by Te Awanuiarangi Black of Aotearoa

    Awa  works for Te Wananga o Raukawa and is a very charismatic and passionate presenter.  I was struck by his obvious knowledge and commitment to te ao Māori and I will absolutely be staying in touch with him.  His workshop began with him paying homage to those who have gone before us, the trailblazers, our tupuna who were at Parihaka, Hikoi whenua, Tama Toa and as recent as the 2003 walk on Parliament for the foreshore and seabed rights.  He reminded us that we are the beneficiaries of their hard work.  Awa then cleverly used the stories of Māui and Tāwhaki, stating that we need to look back into our traditions, to these ancestors and start referencing our own stories, not looking at what others are doing to preserve their culture, but start learning from our ancestors and their ways to preserve who they were and where they came from.  Awa was such a great speaker, I stopped taking notes as such and just started writing his quotes, word for word, here are my favs:

    • Both Māui and Tāwhaki were great achievers but the difference was, Tāwhaki followed the tried and true path, and in comparison, when everybody was going right, Māui was going left
    • I am giving you A Māori world view, not THE Māori world view, there is no such thing
    • Within our pūrakau, traditional stories, are encoded knowledge and ways for us to be
    • Māui did it in one way, Tāwhaki did it in another way, both of them left legacies…for us! Both achieved greatness, even though they both faced adversities.
    • It is a waste of time gathering knowledge and skills if it is only kept for yourself
    • Everyone of us has a bit of Māui and Tāwhaki in them, but remember, you cant teach a Māui like a Tāwhaki, and vice versa
    • What’s the lesson? Learn from our ancestors!


    ‘Takitoru –  from parallel to partnership, a ritual of engagement based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi for safe cultural practice' by Rāwiri Waretini-Karena of WINTEC
    What can I say about this presentation?  It resonated with me on so many levels, firstly, through the process of mihi, I learned that Rāwiri and I are related, a new cuzzie for me!  
    Also, Rāwiri's presentation was powerful, moving and honest to the point where it moved me to tears.  He shared a whakapapa of sorts of his whānau over four generations, looking at some of the negative influences that have impacted on his whānau and his own life journey, like jail, violence, gangs, alcohol, gambling.  The term he used for this was 'symptoms of inter-generational trauma'. He then linked this back to the changes to Māori lifestyle and beliefs as a result of colonisation and the Treaty.  This is an exercise he actually walks his own students through, looking at depth at the Treaty and supporting them to research and fully unpack and understand what Māori agreed to share, and what Māori agreed to keep.  This was a real insight into the disparities within the Treay and the reasons for the need for claims and settlements.  Rāwiri did an amazing job of showing that the 2 major stakeholders, Māori and Pākehā, need to come into shared space.  Teh question is how do they come into that shared space but still keep their dignity, identity and autonomy?
    I started wondering just how much does the average Kiwi know about the Treaty, what it says in English and in Māori and what it meant to both groups?  If I was to stop 100 people on the street in any of our main centres and ask them what they knew about the Treaty, besides the who and when of the signing, how many people could answer with some conviction and accuracy?  What do you think?  I also thought, until we start teaching NZ history well, in particular Te Tiriti o Waitangi, in our schools from Y1-Y13, will we never be able to move forward as a bi-cultural nation.  We need to understand the past before we can make peace with it and come together as one.


    Whoops, aroha mai e hoa ma, I have gone on far too long again, SORRY!  I am new to blogging and have enjoyed WIPCE immensely, so a recipe for disaster in terms of keeping it short!   Mauri ora whānau  : )
  • Kia ora,

    Day 2 arrived and the presentations I was able to attend were outstanding.  I found myself going to several New Zealand workshops as I am obviously keen to see what else is happening in Aotearoa for our Māori students and to forge relationships and networks with people that will strenthen my own knowledge and the work of Te Manawa Pou-it's all about whakawhanaungatanga e hoa ma!  

    The two favourites of the day were (sorry, I just can't keep it to 1!):

    ‘Strengthening school leadership through native Hawaiian cultural values’ - by Nālini Sing of Hawai’i  This presentation discussed the importance of embedding Hawaiian cultural values in leadership practices.  They are attempting to do this by surveying Principal's about their current knowledge, beliefs and practices around Hawaiian values and then working with them in small groups to support their learning.  With the new MoE PLD focus on raising Pasifika, Māori and special needs students achievement, it will be critical for our Tumuaki to have a thorough understanding of Māori values, and how they can be modelled by themselves and then embedded into their kura.  This will be an important step in our tamariki seeing that their school values who they are and that our kura begin living and breathing the values of the tangata whenua of Aotearoa.

    ‘The Kapahaka Phenomena’ – by Dr Raukura Roa of Aotearoa

    This was my fav presentation of the day!  Mainly because Raukura's workshop was the perfect example of an informative and interactive workshop.  She sung to us, modelled and explained common actions and facial expressions, unpacked the whakapapa of kapahaka and discussed in depth kapahaka in three different contexts-in sport, on the marae and the contemporary context of kapahaka competitions.  Plus, she even managed to get everyone on their feet learning and performing a haka as well!  I learned so much and had a blast, she has inspired me for teh next time I present!  He mihi nui ki a koe e hoa!



  • Kia ora te whānau,

    I have accepted the fact that I can't possibly write about every workshop I have attended, as there have been 8 workshops and 2 keynotes almost everyday!  There is a huge amount of fantastic workshops on offer but they are spread across 10 different rooms, 6 different venues, which obviously becomes an issue when trying to decide which workshops to attend, and whether you can get there in time. So, I've decided to just blog the highlight of each day.

    The pick of the bunch from Sunday, Day 1

    'Language, culture and technology - bringing it all together' by Eddie Walker, Te Wananga o Aotearoa.  

    Eddie shared the online community they have set up for their staff.  I found it very relevant as the connections to 'CORE Interact', my own work's online community were strong.  They too have staff (1300!) spread all across the country and there was a huge need for better communication, collaboration and culture. Yes, culture!  Eddie talked about the ease of retaining and sharing cultural knowledge and tikanga online if you develop it with Māori ways of working in mind, or in their words Kaupapa Wānanga:

    • Āhurutanga – safe space
    • Koha – contributions
    • Kaitiakitanga – to care, nuturing our language, knowledge, culture
    • Mauri ora – make our world a better place for staff & students

     The online community/home for staff and students is called 'Te Kete', developed in house using Microsoft Sharepoint.  It is accessible by all staff, knowledge is shared, communication regular and open. Insights shared from Eddie:

    • use language and culture to create buy in
    • retain knowledge for future generations
    • celebrate success

    Next steps is for TWoA to look at further developing 'Te Kete' for student use, and with 35,000 students across Aotearoa, this could be a major move forward for the wananga.

    "Technology doesn’t drive the knowledge, people do"  Eddie Walker

    Traditional Māori Whakatauki

    He aha te mea nui i te ao, he tangata, he tangata, he tangata! 

    What is the greatest thing in the world, it is people, it is people, it is people!




  • Tēnā koutou e hoa ma,

    I have arrived safely in Cusco and am now enjoying day 3 of the WIPCE conference.  The hardest thing about writing this blog post will be trying to keep it short and succint while still adequately potraying just how amazing the city, the people and of course the WIPCE workshops I have attended, have been!

    The trip over was long but still enjoyable.  I flew from Chch-Auck, Auck-Santiago where we stayed the night, then Santiago-Lima, Lima-Cusco.  I am travelling with 18 other NZ delegates, and there are another 100 or so kiwis who came over earlier.  With an approximate total of 700 people at the conference, 120 delegates from Aotearoa shows we are well represented and have a lot to contribute to the global indigenous education community.

    The first thing that hit us in Cusco, beside the jetlag, is the need to adjust to the high altitude.  Some people have been hit badly, with a NZ woman even ending up in hospital (she is fine now).  Even after 4 days, you are huffing and puffing when walking around the town.  As a result, my running shoes haven't seen the light of day and I have a feeling they will remain buried at the bottom of my suitcase for the duration of my travels!

    The opening ceremony was great but we only found out that morning that we would be presenting that very afternoon, first session on the first day of WIPCE. So Dee and I returned early to track down our workshop venue and prepare for our presentation on Te Manawa Pou.  The workshop went very well and it was an honour to be able to share our mahi on a global stage to other amazing practitioners from around the world. As promised, I have uploaded our powerpoint for any who would like to access it.   WIPCE Te Manawa Pou presentation

    I was right at the beginning, short and succinct was optimistic, this has already become quite lengthy and I haven't even started to discuss the workshops I have attended!  I shall save that for tomorrow where I will share the names and countries of the presenters, their kaupapa and some key messages I took away from their sessions.  Let me just say, the variety and standard of the presentations have been excellent, the only let down is that you can't be in more than one workshop at a time!

    He mihi aroha ki a koutou, love to all of my friends and whānau at home, I hope you have all survived the big snow ( my husband barely did-he was stuck inside for 2 days with my daughters watching Wiggles and Dora Laughing ) and I look forward to sharing the 'good oil' with you all in my next blog post. 







  • Ko te reo te manawa pou o te iwi Māori!

    The final countdown has arrived, 4 more sleeps before I head over to Peru to attend WIPCE 2011!  

    I am of course, really excited and keen to get there, however with a busy week ahead and the thought of being away from my husband and 2 daughters for such a long time, I have to say it is causing a little bit of anxiety!  So to alleviate the nerves, I have taken the time to explore the WIPCE website again to re-establish the sense of adventure and fun.  http://wipce2011.net/


    In looking at the programme I can't help but think how spoilt for choice we are in the variety and the substance of what breakouts are available to attend. So much, so little time! I have no idea how I will choose but that is a credit to the kaupapa, the wealth of expertise in terms of presenters and also to the hard work being done globally to preserve our native languages.


    Something else that struck me was the amount of New Zealand presentations available. I am eager to see what is happening in my own backyard and how I can develop some links to other facilitators or programmes that can support our mahi, Te Manawa Pou. I also look forward to comparing where New Zealand is in terms of the revitilising and embracing our native language, in comparison to other native languages around the world. I have no doubt there will be lessons, both good and bad, to be learnt from the journey of others.

    WIPCE programme


    Other than that, our WIPCE Aotearoa delegates uniforms have arrived, so I am beginning to think about packing! Last job is to head out to the shops for insect repellant and a power adapter! To those of you in Group 3 of the NZ delagates, I will see you at Auckland airport on Friday. To all of my soon to be WIPCE friends, I will see you in Cusco very soon! And to the rest, next blog post will be reflecting on day 1 of WIPCE!


    Mauri ora ki a koutou, e hoa ma!

  • Nau mai haere mai ki taku 'blog' e pa ana ki te hui WIPCE 2011!  The countdown is on-only 5 weeks until I leave for WIPCE 2011 in Cusco, Peru!

    WIPCE = World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education is held every 3 years.  Find out more about the conference here:WIPCE 2011 This year it is being held in South America and my colleague Dee Reid and I will be there co-presenting on our mahi Te Manawa Pou!


    It all began earlier this year when Dee wrote Our abstract for WIPCE-World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, 2011  outlining our wish to present on the PLD programme 'Te Manawa Pou'.  A huge thanks to my employers, CORE Education for supporting me and assisting me financially to attend the conference.  He mihi aroha ki a CORE!


    Te Manawa Pou is a national online te reo Māōri PLD programme for teachers in English-meduim schools Y0-8.  Dee and I will be representing the consortium Te Toi Tupu, who hold the contract for this initiative.  


    We will be travelling with a large group of delegates from Aotearoa representing Māori education.  I am super excited to hear from other NZ delegates about what they are doing for Māori education in Aotearoa, as well as from international delegates about what is happening around the world to preserve and revitalise indigenous languages.  


    I thought I would start this blog of a way to share my exitement, journey, experiences, learnings, resources, ideas, amazement, relationships...with anyone else keen to hear about them.  So, I will keep this updated and once I begin the trip will add links, photos and other resources where possible.  Please feel free to ask questions, make comments-in fact, is there anyone else out there attending WIPCE as well?  

    If not, are you keen to?  Wink  WIPCE Brochure





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