Long service rewarded

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Recently we celebrated the annual 20/30-year club dinner that recognises long-service staff at WITT Te Pūkenga. This year the club will welcome its biggest group of new members, with seven staff receiving their long service awards.

Kellie Fairweather and Bernie Edwards are two of the members joining the 20/30-year club. While the journeys they have paved for themselves at WITT have been different, they both began as students before moving into becoming staff members. 

In 1999, Kellie enrolled at Te Kura Matatini o Taranaki in the Business Administration Programme; in  2002, Kellie became a staff member...and the rest is history.  From being a Support Administrator for the Māori and Pasifika Counsellor to working alongside students and tutoring, Kellie has held a wide variety of jobs in her time at WITT.  

"The staff and students are what have kept me here. There are constantly new challenges and growth in my work, and I have enjoyed all the variety," she said.  

Bernie Edwards is a te reo Māori tutor and began his journey with WITT as a full-time te reo Māori student. 

Outside of the full-time study, Bernie would enhance his learning by attending ACE (Adult Community Education) courses in the evening run by Te Ataarangi* and ACE courses run by WITT that delivered Te Ataarangi methodology. Later this was where Bernie’s teaching career began. 

" I was first approached and asked to deliver the ACE community programmes for WITT and teach Te Ataarangi Methodology.  

"I still teach these ACE programmes for WITT today and Te Ataarangi methodology is the programme's foundation. This is my way of giving back to our community."  

Bernie has seen a huge growth of te reo Māori at WITT 

"The language is getting more embraced by everyone. The main focus over all these years is to plant the seed for new ākonga and to continue the revitalisation of the Māori language," he said.

E kore au e ngaro, he kākano I ruia mai I Rangiātea. I will never be lost, for I am a seed sown for Rangiātea. 

 *Te Ataarangi Te Ataarangi is a total immersion way of learning Te Reo. Te Ataarangi is well-known for the use of coloured Cuisenaire rods (rākau) as a learning tool.

Pictured: Lisa Banks, Kim Valintine, Kellie Fairweather, Robyn Trowern, Bernie Edwards. Absent: Jane Slinger, Jeff Wilson 

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