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NZC online: Engaging Pasifika families - Owairaka School builds a fale

We often talk about making connections with the wider community - including Māori and Pasifika Whanāu/Aiga. So what happens when one school brings a bit of the wider community back into the school? 

Fale at Owairaka SchoolHere's a story from NZC online – from Owairaka School. After the principal and staff visited Samoa, they decided to integrate elements of Samoa into the school environment - by building a Fale (meeting house) and growing gardens that reflect Samoan flora/fauna. This is a real tale of a community coming together to, 'bring an element of Samoan culture to the school’.


Because they acknowledge that, ‘the culture can really make a difference to the learning’ of their children.


This story truly reflects the intention of the The Pasifika Education Plan 2013–2017 (PEP) as it aims to achieve:

optimum learning by promoting closer alignment and compatibility between: 

• the learner’s educational environment, and

• their home and/or cultural environment, 

so that communities, education providers and services, are using their individual, collective and cultural connections and affiliations to work together towards better outcomes and better results.


Sometimes connecting with the wider community, can be a challenge. I'd love to hear how other schools are bringing 'a bit of local culture' into their school environment and does this include the use of technologies?





  • Ra Ellingham (View all users posts) 04 Apr 2013 4:25pm ()

    Thanks Tessa for the link. Love the way the community became so involved in the school. I've taken on the lead for Enviro this year and one of the ideas from the students is to create an outdoor classroom in Pacific style. I'll show them parts of this and see what they think.

    I would love to know more about construction processes and types of house that are built in the islands. What could be considered 'representational' of more than one culture?

    Thanks, Ra

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 08 Apr 2013 9:54am ()

    Kia ora Ra, thanks for this comment. What an exciting project ahead for you and your students.

    More digital stories about how Owairaka School has connected with their community, can be found in NZ Curriculum Online. You may even be able to contact someone at Owairaka School, for more information about the process they went through.Smile

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