Developing WITT's cultural capability

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Te Kura Matatini o Taranaki (WITT) has launched a Māori cultural capability programme for staff, designed to develop awareness and māramatanga (understanding) of Te Ao Māori.

The course was developed with Open Polytechnic through the online learning platform iQualify. It will be completed by all WITT staff in 2021 and offered to other organisations as a professional development programme in 2022.

The project involved using Open Polytechnic’s existing course framework and contextualising with the voices, input and stories of the Te Kura Matatini o Taranaki team.

Around 30 WITT kaimahi (staff members) got together for a ‘group startup’ last week to start the course with support from each other and facilitator Jasmine Jones.

Jasmine, who is also a WITT tutor, said the course – named Ka Uruuru Mai - was suited to people at all stages of their journey to understanding and embracing Te Ao Māori.

“What I know is that each person is on a journey; for some it is about revisiting prior knowledge and for others it is about how understanding the Māori world for the first time.

“What has been really exciting is seeing how kaimahi have been able to find ways to implement this learning and reflection into their personal and professional contexts.”

Jasmine said the turnout was stellar for the first group startup.

“What was really encouraging to me was to see so many kaimahi from our executive leadership team supporting the kaupapa and giving it a go.

“To me, this reflects the genuine commitment in engaging in a Te Ao Māori world. Kaimahi have said that it was a great opportunity to be able to set time aside to focus on working through this course and that the environment was supportive, as staff sought to support one another with any questions that arose.”

The name, Kia Uruuru Mai, comes from a karakia which is used at Te Kura Matatini o Taranaki/WITT. Jasmine said it was fitting to name it in honour of the karakia, which begins,

Kia uruuru mai - Fill me with

A Hauora - Vitality

A Haukaha - Strength

A Haumāia - Bravery

“We felt as though this course captures the aspirations of Kia uruuru mai as it seeks to fill someone with mātauranga (knowledge) that could further lead them on their pathway of responsiveness to the Māori world,” she said.

“We see this course as a smaller component of a much larger kaupapa.”

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