Whanau hui/fono great start to our journey

 

2018 has seen the start of a new initiative for recognizing Maori and Pasifika culture at Sancta Maria College. Although the school has had the Kapa Haka and Polynesian dance groups perform at Cultural festivals in the past, the school is looking to take an even bigger step in their cultural responsiveness journey.

On Wednesday evening Ms Judd and Mrs Rehu, with the support of Ms Moore and Mr Green, helped to organize a Whanau hui/fono (family meeting) with the parents of Maori and Pasifika students at the College. It was a great opportunity for parents to share their ideas on ways the school could acknowledge more of the students’ heritage in their everyday learning and in co-curricular activities. It was also a chance for parents to see how their children are doing at school in terms of past NCEA results and how teachers are being more accommodating to their specific needs.

The Kapa Haka opened the meeting with song and a haka as 18 families came along. Some ideas that parents put forward included having our Cultural Festival on an evening where families can gather and enjoy food. Another idea was to have days when students can dress up in their traditional clothing or for example if there is a rugby game on the weekend where Tonga and Samoa are playing against each other, students could bring their flags and wear their colours. With a whole lot of amazing ideas put on the table, the parents did agree that they would love to have more meetings like this in the future.

It was a fantastic start to this cultural journey and the College hopes that more families will participate in the future. The goal is to have a hui/fono at least once every term with Ms Judd and Mrs Rehu being given the task of helping our teachers and families build a more responsive culture for the wide range of ethnic groups in our school.

Mrs Rehu said, “It’s about being inclusive, acknowledging our cultures, particularly our biculturalism under the Treaty of Waitangi and also our multicultural communities. We must encourage more to join us. Good things lay ahead for Sancta Maria.”

Shontelle Matano