Covid-19 couldn't stop Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā KKM training new kaiako

By James Perry

Te Rūnanganui a Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori (TRN) is celebrating the completion of its first support programme for first-time teachers.

Some 73 beginner students took part in the programme that was almost flipped on its head because of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns. 

“From the time we heard that there was the possibility of another lockdown, we quickly moved to transition our programme to an online delivery and were pleasantly surprised that the teachers remained engaged each fortnight,” said Bab Walker, the national coordinator who is based in Rotorua.

TRN co-chair Rawiri Wright says, "it would be even better to hold this wānanga face to face. However, because of the restrictions imposed due to Covid, we had to quickly move it online, and keep up the momentum so these teachers could be registered in two years.

"We initially thought this would cause more issues but, to our surprise, we've had a steady attendance and it seems to be going pretty well," he told Te Ao Mārama.

Wright says there is no programme similar to this initiative launched this year.

"Te Rūnanga aims to develop and nurture incoming teachers. We are targeting those who want to be registered, recent university graduates, graduates from Te Wānanga Takiura, and of course those who are already teaching but aren't yet registered."

Developing and nurturing

Walker added that while there was initial concern the programme would be hurt by the lockdown, they carried on and there have been many gains as a result. “Despite the challenges of Covid, we are very pleased to have successfully achieved the first year of this beginning teachers' programme.”

Six regional mentors worked across the eight regions of TRN supporting the 73 beginning teachers Kura Kaupapa Māori Aho Matua across the country. The mentors,  all experienced kura kaupapa Māori Aho Matua practitioners, worked with the beginning teachers to help bring an understanding of the philosophies of Te Aho Matua, the foundation that underpins Kura Kaupapa. 

"What you learn at tertiary education is this much but, once you step into the school, that expands after engaging with whānau and other matters. It's very difficult for incoming teachers to juggle all those demands,"  Wright says.

"So we structured these programmes to help develop and nurture them so they are ready when they start school. This is all conducted under the Te Aho Matua principles.

This year's programme will be wrapped up by a panel of raukura of KKM live-streamed on Facebook.