Ideas for hauora/well-being and connecting in these unpredictable times…



In this time of change, where the world around us has become unpredictable and our focus has changed significantly. What changes should we be making to learning for young people? Does this situation in 2020 with COVID-19 mean that we should be refocussing not only for now but into the future? Prioritising of what is most important for people will be happening, whether we as educators like it or not. Many of us with our own whānau at home, will be weighing this up for our own whānau, as well as thinking carefully about what it means for the ākonga in our Kura.

We need to be aware, not only of our own contexts, but of ākonga across the whole nation. Accessibility  is an issue for many ākonga and so the shift to online learning, will not work for all in the current climate.  How can equity of access be found? We do not know how long this situation will go for, it would appear the ripples will continue far and wide for quite some time. We need to be rethinking what is success in education now.

“Education today is about more than simply teaching students something. It’s also about helping them develop the tools they need to navigate an increasingly complex, volatile and uncertain world”. “…success in education to be about identity, agency and purpose. It’s about curiosity, compassion & the courage to put our cognitive, social and emotional resources into action”.Andreas Schleicher

With the current climate being more volatile than ever, it may be useful for people who have not yet done so to explore, or for those who have to explore deeper into the work of the OECD Learning Compass 2030. There is multiple resources and support to look through to think about what priorities for learning should be now and into the future.

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You can see in the above visual that the core foundations include literacy and numeracy, social and emotional, health, digital literacy and data literacy. Wellbeing is the main outcome for the learning compass. HPE is seen as an imperative part of this and you can read more here about


When thinking about the current situation in NZ and beyond, do we need to shift the focus to well-being? Do we need to refocus on hauora even more now than anytime before? Do we need to understand no more than ever the interrelationship between our dimensions of Hauora. See a deeper description of hauora below….

Well-being, hauora
The concept of well-being encompasses the physical, mental and emotional, social, and spiritual dimensions of health. This concept is recognised by the World Health Organisation.
Hauora is a Māori philosophy of health unique to New Zealand. It comprises taha tinana, taha hinengaro, taha whanau, and taha wairua.
Taha tinana – Physical well-being
the physical body, its growth, development, and ability to move, and ways of caring for it
Taha hinengaro – Mental and emotional well-being
coherent thinking processes, acknowledging and expressing thoughts and feelings and responding constructively
Taha whanau – Social well-being
family relationships, friendships, and other interpersonal relationships; feelings of belonging, compassion, and caring; and social support
Taha wairua – Spiritual well-being
the values and beliefs that determine the way people live, the search for meaning and purpose in life, and personal identity and self-awareness (For some individuals and communities, spiritual well- being is linked to a particular religion; for others, it is not.)
Each of these four dimensions of hauora influences and supports the others.

Dr Mason Durie’s whare tapawha model compares hauora to the four walls of a whare, each wall representing a different dimension: taha wairua (the spiritual side); taha hinengaro (thoughts and feelings); taha tinana (the physical side); and taha whanau (family). All four dimensions are necessary for strength and symmetry. (Adapted from Mason Durie’s Whaiora: Māori Health Development. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1994, page 70). (please note, other models of Hauora have been designed. For example, in 1997, Moeau suggested that a fifth dimension, whenua (connection with the land), be added to the original model. In 2001, Hokowhitu also tried to have whenua added to the Tapawha model but again it was not added.

I would like to ask you a few questions to ponder…

  • What is most important to you right now?
  • What are your top five priorities?
  • What are you are concerns about for your whānau at the moment?
  • What does your daily structure look like in your house?
  • Do you have essential workers in your household? If yes what is your concern for them?
  • If you have children, what are your priorities for them at the moment?
  • What does work look like for you at the moment?
  • Can you put food on the table?
  • Can you pay your bills?
  • Do you have concerns over mortgage or rent?
  • Do you have elderly whānau that you have concerns for?
  • Are you getting your whānau outside for physical activity?
  • Do you have whānau with mental health issues?

I am making assumptions, but I would assume that all of these questions will come before I even start to ponder what is my child doing with online learning. I would assume for many, there has been a very sharp shift back to focus on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

maslow's hierarchy of needs

I believe we as educators need to to be thinking along these lines when we are making contact with ākonga next term. We need to be focussing on hauora and wellbeing of our ākonga. So whether or not your Kura is taking learning online, your focus can be on what is truly relevant to our ākonga in this time. We should be concerned about how they are doing, how their well-being is, including taha tinana, taha hinengaro, taha whanau, and taha wairua.

Ideas could include:

  • If access to online material, using free exercise programmes such as… 

In addition, you can access, yoga, pilates, body resistance training, meditation and more… all that can help balance your hauora.

  • For a Mātauranga Māori approach to physical activity while living in isolation, Toi Tangata will be hosting a webinar with Atua Matua expert Dr Ihirangi Heke.
    This webinar will coalesce three decades of working in the outdoor environment into contemporary examples of surviving the recently imposed isolation. Dr Heke will introduce ideas on how to bring the outdoors inside with an introduction to

Atua Matua: A Māori Health Framework. Also included will be examples of health and well-being obtained without leaving your own backyard by learning how to read trees, insects, birds and changes in weather patterns. Likewise Dr Heke will provide some insight into the planning of training programs to last you through the isolation period and beyond. (accessed via Waikato PENZ @YkatoPENZ)

The above resource has lesson plans for

  • personal identity and enhancing self-worth
  • stress management
  • friendships, relationships, and communication
  • effects of discrimination and stereotyping on mental health
  • support of self and others during times of difficulty
  • equity issues that support the mental health of others and society
  • help-seeking
  • drug education and alcohol education (for example, the content on assertive communication, decision making, personal values)
  • leadership and effective communication.

These resources may also be helpful on change loss and grief.

At HPSS, we have had a focus on Porowhita and check ins with our ākonga.

This is more important than ever before, we have a maximum of 19 students in each hub. We aim next term to have check ins with our hubs once a week face to face (using google meet) for those that do not have access, we have loaned devices, for those who do not have connectivity we will ring and touch base. Ideas for porowhita can include ideas such as:

  • How are you going?
  • Have you got outside much?
  • Have you done any exercise?
  • What have you been up to in your daily schedules?
  • Do you have any worries at the moment?
  • How is your whānau doing?
  • Have you got any cool ideas for others on things to do at the moment?
  • How much screen time are you having? Do you need more balance?

Some great getting to know you (better) prompts:

  • My best quality is… And if I could change one thing about myself… 
  • Describe someone who is a hero to you and explain why. 
  • What didn’t you do this weekend? (or what would be your ideal weekend and how can you make that happen one day…?)
  • If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?  Why would you make this change? 
  • Talk about a difficult decision you have had to make. 
  • Talk about a time you gave someone good advice. 
  • If you had three wishes, what would they be?  (Do not ask for three more wishes) 
  • Talk about two things that your family or friends have taught you. 

Some examples from this website:

The Sky’s the Limit

  • What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
  • What would you do if money were no object?
  • What would you ask for if a genie granted you three wishes?
  • What’s your wildest dream?
  • What would you do if you could live a day without consequences?
  • What grand adventure do you wish you could go on?
  • If you could become an expert in any subject or activity, what would it be?
  • What would your perfect day be like?
  • Close your eyes and imagine the kind of world you would like to see.  What is it like?

An Ode To Your Uniqueness

  • What makes you unique?
  • How do you stand out from the crowd?
  • What are your best character traits?
  • What are you really good at?
  • How would you describe yourself?

Pretty sure some of these resources came via Rosamund Britton @rosbritton

Some other ideas/readings around hauora

the kindness curriculum 

Social and emotional learning 

leadership and wellbeing blog by Celia Fleck @CeliaFleck 

In addition to checking in on ākonga and their wellbeing, the focus can also be on taha whānau.
Learning for ākonga could include important aspects of tikanga such as manaakitanga and whanaungatanga. These are two of our hub strands. (This is how we have these defined below for our context).
Students  will explore some of their current relationships eg with self, peers, family and whānau, teachers, other significant adults and digital technology with a view to evaluating, refining and strengthening them. They will also explore the impact of these relationships on their overall well being and how the Hobsonville Habits might be useful in building and strengthening their relationships.

Manaakitanga, exploring what it is, why it is important and how it actually benefits the giver as well as the receiver. Hubs can plan together, or in smaller groups, a way or ways they can show Manaakitanga. This may be a one term activity or be adopted by the hub as an ongoing care project. The concept of Manaakitanga can be en-actioned at the level of self, others, local community, society or globally.

This could also be revisioned for this time: Ideas for in the home:

  • How are your whānau going at this difficult time?
  • What could you do to help support others well-being in your home?
  • Is there anything you can do for others? A neighbour? An elder who cannot leave their home?
  • What whānau physical activity challenges could you produce?
  • How can you impact on others hauora? Think of all four dimensions.
  • What chores could you do to help around the house?
  • Do you have younger siblings? What activities can you do with them?
  • How do you think you can help  Taha hinengaro in your house?
  • How do you think you can help  Taha whānau in your house?
  • How do you think you can help  Taha Wairua in your house?
  • How do you think you can help  Taha Tinana in your house?

In addition to the previous mentioned focuses of hauora, manaakitanga and whanaungatanga, our ākonga can also focus on the dispostions needed to make it through these changing times. At our Kura, we have named these the Hobsonville habits. These are the dispositions we believe that will allow our ākonga to thrive in this changing world. Our Tumuaki talks about further aspects of online learning here in his post Maurie Abraham @maurieabraham

Hobsonville habits

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I know for myself and my whānau, that there will be learning that will occur for my children next term. However, my priority will be on hauora and dispositions to allow them to cope. Priorities have shifted and what truly matters comes to the fore. I also believe this is how we can best support out ākonga and their whānau in these difficult times. Only then are we truly revisiting what success is, what is relevant right now and what is required to thrive in this ever changing world.



Continuing to challenge the Status Quo-though my daughter’s eyes-the ongoing journey

Going back a couple of years, I wrote a post…


As you read the post, you see it is aligned to the lens of my daughter. I am a pākehā educator, my daughter is Māori. I wrote the post after being challenged an provoked by Ann Milne into critiquing our education system around many aspects, some of those including…What knowledge is of most valued? Historically, an extensive tradition has grown around a restatement of that question. Rather than “What knowledge is most valued?” the question has been reframed. It has become “Whose knowledge is most valued?

At our Kura, we are on a journey of challenging this to ensure that our Māori Ākonga can achieve success as Māori. We have by no means got this right, this is not a blog claiming to have it all sorted. What this does talk to is a Kura, that has undertaken to do the mahi to challenge the status quo and shift things. We as a Kura, have the moral purpose to ensure or ākonga see themselves, their culture and identity in our Kura.

We are steered on our waka by our Tumuaki, Maurie Abraham and you can see in this blog post the thinking of a Tumuaki intent of shifting things.

I would like to share with you some of our journey that has continued to occur since this last blog post. Some of the strategic mahi and evidence of this impacts that have occurred from this over the last couple of years at our Kura- Te Kura Tuarua o Onekiritea -Hobsonville Point Secondary School.

At a strategic level what does that look like?

  • Treaty of Waitangi
  • Māori potential approach
  • Warm and demanding relationships that show Manaakitanga and Mana Motuhake.
  • Development of coherent pathways for ākonga.
  • Ako – a two way teaching and learning approach
  • Identity, language and culture count.
  • Building use of Te Reo and Tikanga across the Kura
  • Productive partnerships
  • Strong engagement from parents, families, whānau, hapu, iwi, Māori communities, organisations and businesses

What do these actually look like though? How do we ensure these aspects are not just rhetoric, but, actually realised in Praxis and reflection and action.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi


As a Kura, we have been undertaking Professional Learning with Rosalie Reiri, which has involved Te Tiriti o Waitangi unpacking what we know, what we need to know and how this relates to equity, governance, partnerships and more… In addition Rosalie is working with us at a strategic level. Furthermore, our staff have access to her for support on how this looks in their own teaching and learning programmes. I will talk to this more below in other aspects.

Māori potential approach

Rejecting deficit theorising and ensuring we see and enable the potential of all our ākonga. This occurs when there is collective efficacy in our staff and challenging conversations when this does not occur.

Our Kapa Haka Rōpū performing at Te Maeva Nui in Rarotonga in 2019.


As a staff our spirals of inquiry and our collective efficacy around this is helping to ensure that we are working to a Māori potential approach. Below is our staff sharing their inquiries at the end of the year.

Warm and demanding relationships that show Manaakitanga and Mana Motuhake. 

Warm and demanding relationships that show Manaakitanga and Mana Motuhake. This  aligns to the previous point, but has been an important part of our Kura vision from the very start. This has been supported by our hub curriculum, which is based on advisory models used in other countries. Which have shown to support ākonga in a warm and demanding way, with that one advocate, contact to whānau, who really knows the learner. We ensure whanaungatanga is placed first in our curriculum and beyond. If you want to learn more about the research into advisories, this is a great read.

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Maurie- our Tumuaki, has gone into much more detail on this in his last two blog posts. These two images from his post shows how our restorative practices, align to Teaching to the Nor’East (based on the work of Russell Bishop).

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See more detail in the two blog posts.

Development of coherent pathways for ākonga.

Guided and shaped by their passions, interests, talents and aspirations, the kura supports tamariki/mokopuna and their whānau to develop, monitor and evaluate a pathway plan.  The kura provides access to internal and external pathway opportunities and is committed to ensuring that tamariki/mokopuna transition successfully into the next stage of their education.


Above is our Kaea of our Rōpū, Leianah, who is both Māori and Pasifika descent. Leianah was one of our Kura Kaiārahi from 2019. She is one example of an ākonga moving onto a pathway, based on her passions and interests. Leianah has just gained a leadership scholarship, for cultural, sporting and academic leadership and is studying a double degree in law and psychology at AUT. In addition to University pathways, we have a strong focus on other paths with our internships and pathways programmes.

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Ako – a two way teaching and learning approach

In our Kura, we are attempting to ensure Ako, within our classes, our modules and beyond. We have developed a Māori student agency Rōpū, who we gather voice from and who we are learning from. This has developed further into working with Stevie Davis-Tana and amazing Māori woman and leader, who is working with our Māori and Pasifika Rōpū on spoken word, identity and leadership. We are excited where we are taking this in 2020.

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Click to access thepower.pdf

Here is just one example of the ākonga voice we gathered into what teachers who they engage and learn with vs those they switch off to. This was shared with staff and informed the start of their spirals of inquiry.

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Identity, language and culture count.


We are working hard to ensure this occurs in the Kura and beyond. We have had a focus on building the Kapa Haka Rōpū in our Kura. We took 18 students over to Rarotonga and performed at the Te Maeva Nui Cultural festival. This is the biggest celebration in the Cook Islands, which invites everybody to feel the spirit and passion of local life. The goal of the trip was to build on our sense of cohesiveness and belonging, continuing to develop these attributes as the foundations for the ‘culture’ and shared experiences of our rōpū. The Wahine Toa group took part in several performances and did an amazing job of representing our Kura with pride and passion. Performances were in the islands main auditorium, with crowds of over 1000 people.  An amazing time was had by all and we look forward to continuing to grow the rōpū in the future. The rōpū was supported by, Raegan, Marion, Whaea Leoni, Ngahuia and myself, during the year and on the trip. We worked hard to ensure equity of access for the Rōpū to the trip, fundraising over $20,000. I am pleased to say we had 35 ākonga come last week who want to join the Rōpū.

In addition to Kapa Haka we have worked hard to develop a curriculum, that Māori ākonga can see themselves in. We are attempting to do that explicitly in Hubs, Projects and Modules. These visuals show how we are attempting to achieve this.

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Building use of Te Reo and Tikanga across the Kura

You will see aspects of both of these through all of the above. In addition, we are working to develop staff capability to work with both Tikanga and Te Reo in their classes and beyond. We are in the process of co-constructing a matrix which will allow staff to assess, where they are at and where to next, this is a work in progress… here is a snapshot…We will also be taking this to our whānau and our Rōpū.

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We have had the development and release of Te Pātaka app-Te Pātaka makes the crucial link between language and culture, with content including te Reo Māori (language), tikanga (customs) and mātāpono me ngā ūaratanga (principles and values).  We have developed the app in conjunction with Te Kawerau ā Maki and ensured representatives attended from Te Kawerau ā Maki. I will talk more to our developing relationship with out Kura iwi below. We also ensured we had a Pōwhiri involving Te Kawerau ā Maki Kawa to launch the app.

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Productive partnerships

Strong engagement from parents, families, whānau, hapu, iwi, Māori communities, organisations and businesses

Partnerships are a founding Principle for us here at our Kura. We ensure there are meaningful partnerships across our projects, pathways work, with whānau across everything that we do and also are developing our relationship with our local iwi Te Kawerau ā Maki. We have engaged with Māori whānau in an ongoing way, with whānau evenings to build relationships and gather voice. Her is a couple of examples of voice we have gathered, around what whānau want/aspirations for their tamariki/mokopuna and also a dream Kura activity, of what a dream Kura looks like, feels like, sounds like and what more we can do. In addition to this, we shared the journey that I am sharing with you now, on what we are trying to do for our ākonga.

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In addition to partnerships with whānau, we have reciprocal relationships with business etc.. in our local community, who we draw on with our pathway work and also give back to through our progamme. With Te Kawerau ā Maki, we have a developing reciprocal relationship with our iwi. We are working with them on developing a toolkit and resource for Kura in this area to use that involves their Kawa and understanding. In addition, we have helped them to source funding to work with Kura in their place. Robin has worked with our staff with PLD around Te Kawerau ā Maki stories. We have used our Kapa Haka to support them when the local community has requested their support at local events.

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While I am not proclaiming that we have everything sorted, we still have a long way to go. However, we are attempting as a collective force of Kura, whānau, ākonga, iwi, and community to shift things for our ākonga. To allow our ākonga to see themselves, their culture and identity in our curriculum and in our place. Is there any evidence things are helping? In 2019 our L2 achievement rate for Māori was 82% which was higher than the 80% for European in our Kura. At level 3 it was 64% for Māori and 66% for European. Steps in the right direction, but still more to come… I will continue to work on this, not only for my daughter, but for all our ākonga. I personally will continue to question and see what more we can do to ensure equity, where equal importance is placed on their knowledge and culture. We as a collective will continue to challenge the status quo…

My daughter and I


Powerful Partnerships and Authentic Learning-Let’s shift the conversation away from the system…

Recent conversations about education have focused on the NCEA Review and the potential outcomes of this, both intended and unintended. Purposefully, I would like to shift the dialogue away from this. Reflecting over the holidays is a time to try and consolidate thoughts, actions and potential routes to embed the vision and values of our Kura across all that we do. You may ask, “has that not happened yet?” Well no! We are always in an on-going journey of reflection and action to make sure we are gaining positive outcomes for all our ākonga. We are looking at some developments that move further down the track of gathering evidence and measuring what we truly value.

AT HPSS we have put systems and teaching and learning programmes in place that we believe lead towards the action and implementation of our vision and values.

HPSS Vision Circles

One of our principles that you will see above is powerful partnerships. We try to enable these through different parts of our Curriculum. Including, projects and pathways aspects that include our internship programme that runs on a Wednesday alongside our projects. Here are a few stories from our internship programme that we have shared recently.

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In addition to the internship programme, we have powerful partnerships with all of our projects. See the following presentation to get an idea of the types of partners that we work with, this booklet sits alongside the exhibition evening that we hold once a year. The evening invites in authentic partners, whānau and the local community and celebrates the learning that has occurred over the year in projects.

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The strands are the focus of these powerful partnerships.

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Impact Project Showtime booklet

The booklet shows a variety of projects, with visuals and description of partnerships and focuses.

In addition, we create powerful partnerships with whānau and do this through our hub aspect of the curriculum. Where we have one hub coach who works alongside a small group of students.

What Learning Coaches do:  The Hub & our role as Coaches allows us to make  learning relevant, connected & personalised for ALL our learners.

  • Never stop finding ways to get to know their learners.
  • Develop sustainable connections with whānau / family.
  • Warm – demanding relationships, built around learning conversations and high expectations.
  • Track learners journey through dispositions (Hobsonville Habits) and build academic and personal excellence.
  • Support students in building their Learner Profile by telling their learning story through conferencing and IEMs.  
  • Grow learners to be inquirers and self-directed learners.
  • Create structures and resources that ensure rigour, but allow for flexibility and personalisation.
  • Negotiate / co-construct Learn paths to ensure exposure, coverage and passions 
  • Never give up

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While we do assess our values through our project learning, we want to develop things a bit further. We have tried different ways for learners to reflect on their learning, dispositions etc… over time. However, we have definitely not nailed this aspect. Here are a couple of samples of this type of reflective work from the past few years…

Here was an example of a Year 9 Boy reflecting on his learning in 2015… The structure and focus of hubs was slightly different at this time…

“My Being:
I have learnt over not just this semester but the first one is that school isn’t just about scores and test but also how you have to work others and it’s about getting along with your peers and teachers because in a real life situation such as work you aren’t going to be judge on how smart you are at maths and you aren’t going to be given multi choice tests about maths but you will need skills such as communication and other social and interpersonal skills.

My personal achievements have been to be able to work more independently without help from teachers and I have achieved this, it’s just I need some guidance such as this blog post here. I’m doing it independently but there are guidelines to help me so I stay on the right topic. Another achievement is that my grades improve which in some aspects of learning like science and technology they have but in reading and maths I got the same scores as my mid-term e-asttle test and I even when down in some aspects of reading like language features but I did go up in other aspects such as my understanding of the text.

I have been inspired by a lot of things, some of the main things being art and design. Because of my dream to be a graphic designer, seeing all these different pieces of art and design work just wants inspires me to follow that dream. For example when I saw what the students did last year for big projects and how they created those banners, I thought it was really cool how we can do art and design but it is also helping out the community and when I got a chance to do it my self I took it up immediately.

When people like Johnny (a school/public speaker) came in it gave me a real good understanding of how other people and teenagers think and the situations they go through and now I have a better understanding of why some people do things and also I have better understanding of things that seem cool but can really harmful because they can say it in a way that everybody can relate to. So now that I can understand why people act the way they do I can find a way to help or at least try to help if it is a bad situation.

This semester I have been thinking about my future such as what I want to have as a job and I am working towards that by taking class learning how to use tools for graphic design and I have been In contact with my uncle (works for a web design company) and he has said that he could give me a small job and maybe an internship and the business which I am really excited about to see what the work space is like and how to work in the environment.

My Communities:

My place in the world and how I make a difference, now and in the future. The connections I bring and the connections I make.

One highlight of working in my community is how I have created new friends through working with people I don’t normally work with, it’s not just in the school but outside like the primary I have created new friends and I get along with a few of the primary kids. I also made some friends when the year 8’s came for there orientation day. In my classes I have had to work with people I don’t really get along with but I have been forced to get along with them and now we are sort of friends. Being able to get out of the class and help out people from all around the community really brings out what this school means and how we are extremely community based.

Manaakitanga: I have shown Manaakitanga by respecting other equipment by using my own stuff and not relying on others to from equipment, for example at the start of the semester I would always forget my maths book and would have to use pages out of my friends book but now I have been more purposeful and have just kept my book in my bag so I don’t need to use anyone else’s.

Whenua: I have shown Whenua in my big project because it has been all about sustainability and they way I am showing it is by creating movies and documentaries about the topic “sustainability”. For one activity we did, we went to the city and filmed things like cars, buildings and rubbish to show that even though New Zealand is considered “Green”, Its really not and we are creating lots of pollution and rubbish.

Whanaungatanga: I have shown Whanaungatanga when I have had to help out at the primary and teach LC4 how to play a certain sport, my crew and to teach a group how to play tee ball, different skills used in tee ball and how to practice those skills and incorporate these skills into a game of tee ball. I have also shown it in big projects as I had to work with Flynn and Jack, two people I had never worked with before, and we ended up working really well together and we came up with some good ideas for documentaries and then put those ideas into action.

My Learning:

This semester I have learnt a lot from things like why chemical reactions happen and why they split the way they do, things about geometry and angles and other areas in maths, in maths I have also done some Pythagoras theorems and other level 5 stuff. In technology I have expanded my knowledge on prototyping and creating a brief for a product. I have also learnt skills on Adobe Illustrator as a lot of web and graphic designers use this tool and if I am going to peruse my goal of becoming a graphic designer than it is a good skill to learn. Those are just some of the things I have learnt but a highlight of this semester has been that in my e-asttle reading test in some aspects I have progressed and achieved level 6 beginner which is at year 10/11 knowledge. Another thing I have done really well in was science and how I have been doing a little bit of year 11 science work independently, one example of this was when I stayed back after class and asked about why the chemical worked the way they did and Cindy, my science teacher, explained what was going on with the quickeze and why when added to the hydroelectric acid it lower the Ph level. She also explained why the chemicals bonded they way they did. I have enjoyed the class Lunchbox because I have learnt lots of skills that I wanted to know like how to design a product and brief as well as more complicated maths techniques and I have expanded my maths knowledge. They way I learn best is either by myself with no distractions and that way I am complete focused on completing the task or the other way is in a group doing each thing to make a whole but working together to make it get done quicker, for me there is no in between otherwise I would get distracted. I feel more confident about speaking in front others because of my class ABBS, in ABBS we have to go to the primary school and teach sports there and most of the time I have been the leader. This has boosted my confidence at talking in front of others.


Three habits that I showed this year are Resourcefulness, Contribution and Reflective.

My first habit Resourceful, means to use the materials/situation that are provided to come up with a solution to a problem. Some examples of me using this habit are when I have been able to sort out conflicts between friends such as when there was a bit of misunderstanding and one of my friends and I got into a fight but we talked it out and found out that we were thinking abut two complete different things. Another way I have shown this habit stepping outside my comfort zone and worked with people I don’t normally work with and I have shown this by in big projects working with Flynn and Jack who I wouldn’t normally get along with but we worked well together and it was a lot of fun working with and I got to know them better. This habit has helped me to make to best discussions in a unexpected situation and has also helped me make new friendships and I has made me more confident to try new things. My next steps in using this habit are to use the skills I have acquired to help me in everyday life and take it with me into everything I do.

My second habit is Contribution. This means to help in anyway possible and give things a go. Some examples of me using this habit are when I helped out at the primary school for my class A Brief Skill Session. For this class we have to help one of the primary school classes learn some sports such as tee-ball, football, touch, etc. This helped because it got me out and being contributive with the primary school, and in big projects working together as a group with people I haven’t worked with before to create documentaries about sustainability and this was good because I learnt who to be contributive in an environment in not used to. This habit has helped me to understand the needs of others and how to give things ago even when I’m not used to the environment or the activity that is happening. My next steps in using this habit are to contribute more in day to day life and getting out and helping out when the opportunity arises.

My third habit is Reflective. This means to look back at what you have done in the past and use that to make better choices in the future. Some examples of me using this habit are when I do most school work like in my spin “PROD” and in this spin we learn to create a product with the laser cutter using Adobe Illustrator. The way I used my prior knowledge on this was that I already knew a lot of skills in Photoshop and because the two are both made by Adobe the tools worked very similarly I pick up on how to use it really fast. Another way I was reflective was when we went to the city to film for my big project I already knew my way around the city and suggested where some good spots to film would be and in my smaller group of Jack, Flynn and I, I kinda took charge and worked as the navigator. This habit has helped me to draw from my prior knowledge to help me when needed for example don’t jump over fences because there could be a sharp pole in the ground. My next steps in using this habit are to before I do anything, it be a test, sports or just having fun always think about what happened last time and what the consequences are going to be.”

As well as the above way of reflecting, students have led their own IEMs (Individual Education Meetings) over time and have shared their learning and successes with their whānau.

Here is an example from a Foundation student in 2015.

IEM Presentation

We also have used templates, my portfolio and a variety of other platforms and structures that have not lasted the distance. We want to ensure that our ākonga can leave our Kura with a portfolio of how they have shown our dispositions (the Hobsonville Habits) and also the school values. We feel that a lot of the powerful learning that is occurring, is not always the focus of what we are gathering evidence of. We are going through a stage of… “How might we do this better?”


In addition to the collation of learning showing values and dispositions in action, we have a lot of learning going on that does not necessarily get measured by assessment such as NCEA. For example, these blogs are learning that has occurred during our project process for three of our ākonga in Year 11.

Those of you who know we do minimal assessment at Level 1, will realise that this learning  is often taking place without assessment against NCEA (it can, but often is not required). It is about the learning. If we develop our systems of capturing this learning in a better way, students can leave with a portfolio of how they have shown values etc… Students can capture this type of learning and then look at it through the lens of values and dispositions. The blogposts of the students are showing collaboration, connectedness, inquiry and so on…

We are having a tutu at the moment with developing some rubrics for our values. Please note these are a work in progress and need refinement. Instead of just sharing things just at end points, or when we think things are sorted, I am sharing some of our thinking along the way, in the same way, we want our ākonga to share their thinking and learning.

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We are wanting to shift further from the collection of evidence and measurement of what is valued by NCEA and more traditional assessment, towards our values and the habits and dispositions needed along the way. The thinking is that we want our ākonga to leave with a portfolio that highlights their greatest successes that align to these, We have been inspired by how two other Kura have used Linc Ed as a platform to personalise what this looks like in their own Kura. We are grateful to the sharing of their thinking and development of teaching and learning and measurement of what is powerful within this, of Haeata Campus and Ormiston Junior College. Their own vision and values put into action where aspects such as micro-credentialing and portfolios showing dispositions rather than just NCEA as a measure of success. We are excited to begin our journey with Linc Ed next term and hope to set this up for our ākonga and their whānau for 2020. We see this as a way for ākonga to not only share their learning and the development of this over time, but, also to have agency over what this looks like. We have talked of the possibility of micro-credentialing that other Kura are also exploring and really liked how the ākonga at Ormiston Junior College-pitched for their “badges” with their own evidence and reflections. We also really enjoyed reading about the graduate profile work taking place down at RJHS shared by Paula Wine in her blog… Paula’s Blog

We have been exploring and reflecting on our graduate profile with staff and also whānau, specifically with Māori and Pasifika Whānau asking what they want for their Tamariki. What do they see as success?

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We look forward to working further with our ākonga on this as we look to implement this change into 2020. We see ourselves as on-going learners, inquiring into our own practice and looking to see what more we can do for our ākonga to ensure positive personal outcomes as well as “Academic Achievement”. We are excited to see our ākonga moving forward along their learning journeys, BUT… even more so we are excited to see them leave with a true reflection of what they have gained at HPSS and beyond, in the forms of powerful partnerships, skills and dispositions, deep challenge and inquiry from across learning inside and outside the classroom. With evidence that shows authentic collaboration, connectedness, innovation and inquiry skills that will set them up for life long learning where we ….empower young people with the skills to contribute confidently and responsibly in our changing world. Watch this space….


..success in education is about identity, agency and purpose. It’s about curiosity, compassion & the courage to put our cognitive, social and emotional resources into action.

Proponents of socio-critical discourses are influenced by critical pedagogy. In general education, advocates of critical pedagogy are committed to ongoing reflection and action, as a process for creating change in classroom structures and practices that perpetuate undemocratic life. Furthermore, they attempt to develop a culture of schooling that supports empowerment of culturally marginalised and economically disenfranchised students (Baltodano, Darder & Torres, 2003).

Critical pedagogy involves questioning assumptions of power, inequalities, and the relationship between power and knowledge. In addition by acknowledging these inequalities, critical pedagogy aims to empower individuals and groups to take social action for change. Consequently, emancipation and social justice are major goals of critical pedagogues (Friere, 1972; McLaren, 2007).

Educational commentators such as Apple (2004) and Ross (2000) argue that society is built on an economic and cultural imbalance and that the ethos, context and structures of schools actively maintain the imbalance to substantiate and legitimise the existing social and economic structures. Ross (2000) argues further that ‘a schooling system which credentializes a particular proportion of the population roughly equivalent to the needs of the division of labour (and de-credentialises the rest) is almost a natural way of maintaining the economic and cultural imbalance on which these societies are built’ (p. 42).

Those of us involved in education, need to be aware of and actively challenge ourselves, not to allow these institutions and power imbalances to be rife in our schools. A major limitation to this (if we allow it) can be the assessment system. With recent developments, or regression as the case may be, allow for these imbalances to continue. In a system that involves “apparent” standards based assessment, where if you meet the criteria at a certain level, you will achieve the standard at that. However, with the use of the PEP in externally assessed standards, there is manipulation of results to suit. This allows for the fore-mentioned “credintailzing” and “decredentializing” of results to occur, to ensure the status quo is maintained. Do we really want to adhere to a system that ensures this? Or do we want to challenge the system, put students at the centre, allow for creative and inspiring teaching and learning to occur and then align the systems we “must” implement to this.

Through my research in 2014, –Investigating Socio-critical Discourses in Assessment of Senior Physical Education in New Zealand, the key findings showed that factors influencing selection / non-selection of different standards are complex and decision-making about selection can involve dichotomous thinking. The data provided insight into the impact that issues associated with standard selection and interpretation can have in relation to teachers’ design of teaching and learning programmes, students’ pedagogical experiences and assessment associated with NCEA physical education.

Furthermore, teachers’ own habitus, beliefs, value orientation, language and pedagogical practice were shown to have a strong influence on understandings and application of standards. Issues of alignment of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy were also explored. The study highlighted the importance of teachers’ understanding of the tensions, knowledge structures and power relations at play between curriculum, assessment and pedagogy. Data revealed important ways in which these matters inform and limit understandings of what constitutes legitimate and valued practice and learning in senior physical education.

Implications of this inquiry were explored for educational policy developers, senior secondary HPE teachers, all HPE teachers, HPE departments, pre-service teacher educators, senior secondary teachers working in other subject/learning areas and research. An extensive list of recommendations has been made. Several areas were identified as requiring further research. Further exploration of teachers’ habitus, beliefs and values and the influence these have on the alignment of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy would be useful. In addition research into ‘holistic’ physical education ‘in’, ‘through’ and ‘about’ movement, in the context of NCEA, would facilitate more accurate and meaningful conclusions about teaching and learning and assessment experiences for secondary school students in NCEA physical education.

My concerns for Health and Physical Education are if a shift to 50% external, from a fully internally assessed subject, will shift the teaching and learning programme even further away from the relevance, voice and choice that can be drawn on in our teaching and learning programmes. The talk of portfolios is a possible way to stop this from occurring, but here we need to be careful of the clarification documents and exemplars that go out around this. Some other curriculum areas may potentially see this 50/50 split as something similar to what they have now. However, we have to be careful where external assessment is used as a legitimisation of subjects, or accountability tool to ensure the “school down the road” is doing things how they should be, or a way to ensure that when we “rank schools” we can trust the ranking. Who cares about ranking? Who cares about accountability? Who is this system really serving anyway? What do we really value? While the research specifically sat specifically in the Health and Physical Education for this comparative case study, the implications were wider in terms of decision making about teaching and learning and and pedagogy and assessment aligned to this.

Screen Shot 2019-05-26 at 12.57.16 PM I came across this work from the OECD on the Learning Compass 2030.

What is the Learning Compass?

The Learning Compass 2030 defines the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that learners need to fulfil their potential and contribute to the well-being of their communities and the planet.

If you use this link you can click around the information to look at skills, values, knowledge, attitudes and more that consider a more future focused view on where schools should be heading. All of this is in total contrast to where we are heading with the NCEA as a system for “measuring success”.

We had a chance to really rethink, reimagine and reconsider, what the “purpose of education” really is. To re-imagine how we assess, these skills, capabilities, values etc…Why is this so important? Well what we truly value, we should be measuring. How is the Ministry going about this chance to revision and reimagine. Currently, it is heading down the track of subject associations bringing their expert knowledge to the table, to decide what is valued knowledge in curriculum areas. Here lies the problem, does it sit in subject areas? Is it knowledge that is important? Or is it skills, capabilities, attitudes and values? If it is the later, then we need to advocate for a group to challenge the status quo. To look across curriculum areas, to find generic skills and capabilities that are needed to succeed in whatever life throws at people. The way the world is heading, it is going to throw a lot!!! Only then, can we truly personalise our teaching and learning programmes to allow for what the OECD tool talks of……

“…success in education to be about identity, agency and purpose. It’s about curiosity, compassion & the courage to put our cognitive, social and emotional resources into action”.

Read more here…

On Friday, I attended the Word Summit 2019, alongside our Māori and Pasifika Rōpū. Run by Action Education involving the South Auckland Poet Collective, the event was awesome, engaging and inspiring.

The learning was relevant to our ākonga and it was not just me who thought this. On the way home in the bus, they all talked about how inspired they were by the spoken word poets that they heard. There was learning going on all day, involving knowledge and skills you may find in the English Curriculum, such as, personification, alliteration and use of metaphors. All the things I used to switch off to at school. However, here they were using Tupac, rap and spoken word to engage and inspire.


You might think anyone could do this in their classroom? Well, a big past of it came down to the role modelling  of Māori and Pasifika Poets. However, something even more special than curriculum content occurred on Friday. I could see a wider range of skills and capabilities being used in action. Students were building the confidence to “talk on the Mic”, they were using their own identity to develop poems to express themselves. In addition they were using interpersonal skills and collaborating with others.

They were drawing on connections of identity and self, to create and share. They were putting themselves out of their comfort zones and challenging their own assumptions about poetry. They were challenging systems, issues in the world and talking about transformation. If this had all occurred in the silo of English, we could be missing out on so much more…


Ākonga had creative ideas for social action, showed curiosity, compassion, and courage, challenged power in society through their words, advocated for change, some of the content was raw and real. In addition they showed leadership skills in different aspects of the day. Ākonga loved the day and I believe it had a truly strong and positive influence on their hauora/wellbeing.

What if some of these skills, capabilities and focuses could be captured? What if it did not matter what curriculum area these were arising through? What if we could see beyond silos and draw out the learning and outcomes that were achieved that day? Who says that for deep learning to occur it must sit in chunks like 20 credits? Who decided this? Let us not be dictated by a system… we need to push back, we need policy makers to rethink how they may be limiting the alignment of curriculum, assessment and pedagogy, by allowing standards and outcomes to sit in discrete tightly framed chunks of knowledge and understanding within subject areas. Even with the shift after the fact, to say that cross-curricular programmes can still occur, who says this occurs in 20 credit chunks? Careful thought of how this is developed by the MOE beyond the subject associations, will allow New Zealand to re-prioritise and work more to ensure that…

“…success in education can be about identity, agency and purpose. It’s about curiosity, compassion & the courage to put our cognitive, social and emotional resources into action”.


Powerful Partnerships and authentic learning

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If you are a parent, grandparent or caregiver for a child, tamariki, mokopuna…what do you want for them in life? What do you aspire for them? What would success look like from your point of view? What does success mean to them? What do they aspire to be or do? Do you know? Have you thought about it? Have you asked them?

Earlier in the year, I wrote a post about the development of our project “Arohnui R Us” taking action with the special needs unit within our Kura. This blog post explores our action and how this has made a difference for the students and whānau of Arohanui, but also for our ākonga, who have learned about rights and responsibilities, different special needs and how to best work with students, what a difference inclusion can make. In addition, they have planned budgeted, reflected, gathered voice. The Arohanui students also taught our students for a couple of sessions, with us all learning Makaton from them-a form of sign language that they use, and also joining in art, science and maths sessions alongside them. All of these actions and learning, has allowed for empathy and compassion to truly be shown and felt. Compassion is one of our Hobsonville Habits and these students have definitely shown this in abundance this year.

Make a difference…

What better way to show you what the action entailed, than to share with you student, whānau and staff voice from the actions of our project.

“As a result of this Inclusiveness project, my students have developed a sense of belonging, they feel accepted and part of the HPSS school community. In fact, because peer norms are so important to teens, creating positive peer connections between HPSS and Arohanui Special School students may be one of the best ways to promote my students’ wellbeing, their sense of self, and their social development”.

Henny Arohanui lead teacher.

” I would just like to thank you and your team for Wednesday evening. It was great to see Stephen so involved and engaged. We were very impressed with the Project and the enthusiasm of all those who took part. Thank you, on behalf of all of Stephen’s family, Ann.”

The following was a video made by Savannah, one of our students collating the journey of our project in visuals and with student voice.
Hi Sally and students,

I have shared your YouTube video with our parents on or digital portfolio. Your work with our students has a great positive impact  on their lives at school and at home, their families are very thankful:

Malcolm Lambert Love this video and appreciate all the work that has gone into this project. Well done everyone 
Diane Willis How lovely 🙂
Rebekah Jessen love love love!!
Ann O’Grady Awesome, thank you!! I know Stephen really enjoyed the shared experiences.
Faith Van Heeswyck thank you to the Hobsonville Point students. what a great video.





Here is a final reflection from Lily one of our ākonga.

Final Reflection

At the start of the year, I chose the project Arohanui ‘R’ Us because it sounded the most interesting of all of the new choices we had for projects. I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to get out of this project, but I knew that it was going to be a good choice. At first, I was a little out of my depth because I had never really interacted with the students in the Satellite Unit within our school, but I had worked with special needs students before. It didn’t take long before I got to know the students and formed bonds with them through my time on a Wednesday during Block 2 when I would work with them.

Our school had worked with the students before, but not on a scale such as what we work with them now. In the past, there had been a few feeble attempts at working with them more, but I think because of a lack of direction from teachers and students themselves, this attempt was short-lived, but now the program has taken off, and the students can’t wait for the days where we work with them. For me, the best parts of the project would have to have been getting to see all of the smiles and all of the happy faces that we get to know every time that we work with the students.

From the project, I learned that inclusion is not just a phrase or a mindset, but rather inclusion is an action. I thought I knew that inclusion was just the simple act of including someone in a game or something that you do. Working in this project has taught me that inclusion is more like a fight for these students, and people like them because every day they are being excluded from the simplest of activities just because they are different. I feel that now inclusion means to me that everyone should be able to take part, no matter if they know how to play the game or not. Inclusion is crucial not only in society but to the students themselves.

I have had a few conversations with some of the students in the unit, and they all want to be treated the same as everyone else in the ‘mainstream’ area of our school. While this might not be possible for all of them, we can certainly try and make them feel as included as possible. This is certainly the hope of the teachers and the students’ parents. After surveying the students’ parents and their views, some of the responses that I got were intriguing. When asked whether HPSS included their child enough, one parent responded with ‘Previously my answer would be no, but this year the programme has blossomed.’ When it comes to what inclusion means to them, another parent responded with ‘Inclusion is to actively include everyone in an activity by ensuring measures are in place to make this possible.’ and ‘keeping the students integrated with the mainstream.’

The response about whether their child was being included enough is eye-opening, in the sense that it allows us to see that the programme in which we undertook is benefitting the students and allows them to gain a better understanding of belonging in our school. As mentioned earlier, there had been previous attempts at making connections within the unit for the students to have some work outside of the unit, but now, the students can gain much more from having a year-long programme. Seeing this response makes it clear that all the parents and students want is to be included in activities undertaken by the school through inclusion and integration rather than being excluded from events as seen in previous years. The second response fits with a more generic look of the term of inclusion. This response is not exactly the perspective I was looking for when I sent the form out to the student’s families, but it does give a good idea into what the families are looking for within our programme.  What I feel that the families are looking for through our work with them is a better relationship between the student and them wanting to come to school because there is something to look forward to on a Wednesday. The final parental perspective of simply keeping them integrated within mainstream just shows that the parents just want their children to be treated as students of HPSS, regardless of whether or not they are within the unit or labelled as mainstream. Ultimately, I believe that this shows the parents are extremely happy with what we are doing in regards to inclusion, but like anything, there is room for improvement. Next year I think to make the programme the best that it can be, it should be run with different year levels multiple times a week so that the students are able to make and form relationships with students apart from us and have more to do with the mainstream aspect of the school. If something like this is done, it would definitely qualify for what I believe the inclusion of these students should be. I feel that inclusion is not just making sure that the students feel included in the activities that we do, but rather that the inclusion is not a once off or only seems to happen once per week, but rather that it happens slightly more frequently than that. At the moment, we are doing some great work with the students, but it doesn’t quite match up to my view of inclusion yet, as there is only one group working within the unit with the students, and to be truly included in my opinion would mean that more students from within our school would work alongside them and alongside us.

When we initially started this project, we interviewed a few of the students about what their favourite part of the project that we were doing with them was. All of them love working with the mainstream and look forward to the activities that we do with them. I think that inclusion to the students means that they are going to be able to take part in activities with us and feel as though they are exactly the same as us (which they are) which is so very important not only for us but them as well. In many aspects of their schooling, they would have been separated from the ‘normal’ children which makes such inclusion just as important to them as it is to us. I think that this programme is making sure that the students are as included in school as they have every right to be. After all, it is our responsibility to make sure everyone has the right to inclusion.

Finally, after speaking to one of the teachers in the unit, we found that in response to a question of what inclusion means, it should be ‘working together and acceptance’. What I feel that this means is not only is inclusion about simply working together with the students, it also comes down to accepting their differences and our own to make sure that we can effectively work together with the students and make sure that they understand that there isn’t anything wrong with being different because in the end we are all humans, and we are all entitled to exactly the same rights (mostly the right to inclusion) and no one can prevent that. Something that would make them even more included according to this teacher would be if the mainstream students were ‘learning how to communicate or learning simple signs and stopping and listening as they [the students] need longer to respond.’  I think that if we were to learn some signs and if more people that weren’t affiliated within our project were to try and talk to them that we might have some better inclusion through our school.  Overall, these responses show me that inclusion is not only the most essential part of the project, but it is also the most important right that we as humans have. Although we have the right to inclusion every day if we are ‘normal’, even if we aren’t the same as everyone else, society still has the responsibility of keeping everyone included in everything that we do. After going through this project, I now have a clearer understanding of just how vital it is to include and be included in activities and have fundamental human rights. Now what I feel is important is that society needs to work on its assumptions of people and make sure that they own their responsibility for the greater good.

Rights, Responsibilities and Inclusion

Everyone has the right to inclusion. In 1945, a newly formed United Nations (UN) developed thirty human rights known as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The list of these thirty rights was developed after the second world war to unify nations and make the world unanimous in their rights. Our project focuses on these rights, but the most important are articles 29 and 30; Responsibility to respect the rights of others and No one can take away your human rights. This is especially important when it comes to inclusion, as based on Article 30, no one can take your human rights from you- especially the right to be included. Society has a right to be including everyone, but unfortunately, based on past experiences and past mindsets, society fails to uphold this right and often people like the kids that we work with in the Arohanui Unit are ridiculed by society, which breaks this fundamental right. While we all have rights, we also have to remember Article 29 or Responsibility to respect the rights of others. Although there are some members of society who would rather disown people if they are different, today we need to realise that these students and others like them are just people like us. They might be a little different, but we are all humans through and through, so we need to start building our responsibility to them, as after all, it is a right that no one can take away. In terms of this project, every one of us has the responsibility to make sure that the students are being included and not stripped of their rights, and our work is just one of many amazing ways that we can make sure that the students feel happier at school and make some friends along the way. During the project, I have made sure that all of the activities that we have been doing with the students have been as close to their level of capability as possible so that they have felt as included as possible, and I have done this to ensure the fact that they are included in all of what we have been doing and therefore by making the games as easy and including as possible for the students. After all, we all have the right to inclusion, but it is the responsibility of those around us to be including of us.
You can read more from Lily here in all her blog posts along the way about planning, reflection and action in an ongoing way….
Back to aspirations for your whānau, for their child, tamariki, mokopuna…
When we held a Whānau evening for our Māori Whānau this year, we asked what their aspirations were for them…

Māori Whānau Voice


This is whānau voice collected at the Māori whānau evening. This is what they said….

Sense of self

Good communication skills


Connections to the people

Toolbelt with skills for life

Good health

Passion for life

People skills

Self esteem


Adapt to change

Tipi Haere-travel


Critical thinker

Equipped with knowledge to be world ready

Different world views

Chase dreams

Understanding for different cultures

Love of learning




Open Minded


Sets goals

Good communicators

Effective listeners

Happy to be in this school



Down to earth



Culturally confident and competent

Tū Rangatira Tū Māia


Healthy choices

Ngākau nui

Embrace/know their passions

Be prepared for the world-academic/social skills/life skills

Have strong values-knowing them and knowing their strengths



Social awareness and able to communicate and connect with others


Coping Mechanisms-problem solving, strategies when things don’t go as planned

Self Efficacy-I am, I can, I will

Are able to challenge and have a voice




Non judgemental

Talking with respect

Critical Thinker


Awareness of external environment factors




Learn Te Reo


Strong in Tikanga

Opportunity to learn from mistakes




Be grounded





Curious to explore the world-travel

Hauora-Taha Whānau, Taha Hinengaro, Taha Wairua, Taha tinana

To tell you the honest truth, there are many place within our Kura, that I would hope we are helping to develop and nurture these dispositions, skills, capabilities in our ākonga. However, I truly believe that the place in our curriculum, where these are developed and allowed to be shown in action the most, is within projects. Where we work with authentic partners and make a difference in society in meaningful and ways. I am grateful for getting to work with these awesome students this year, both from the project and also from Arohnaui.

The project did align to a level 2 standard for Taking action on social issue (inclusion), however, this was never the driver for learning. Going forward next year, there is a group that want to continue to work further with Arohanui and intend on creating policy change by sharing their learning journey, with a newly developing school, who have a satellite unit also. They wish to share their learnings on the power of inclusion and making a difference. Finally, the highlight of the project is the fact that one of our wonderful ākonga, Misioalofa, who was in Year 13 this year and is amazing with the Arohanui students, has managed to gain a job for next year as a Teacher Aid to work at Arohanui from the start of next year. This is Misialofa pictured below with Serina from Arohanui on our MOTAT visit. Authentic and powerful partnerships at their best….

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In my daughter’s eyes- be the antithesis….


gerund or present participle: sustaining
strengthen or support physically or mentally.
“this thought had sustained him throughout the years”
strengthen or support physically or mentally.
“this thought had sustained him throughout the years”
synonyms:  comforthelpassistencouragesuccoursupport, give strength to, be a source of strength to, be a tower of strength to, buoy up, carry, cheer up, hearten, see someone through.

I actually don’t know where to start here. I have been challenged, inspired, provoked and basically rarked up. To help and try synthesise and make sense of my thinking, I have decided to talk through the lens of my daughter’s eyes. Why my daughter? Well, I think a narrative through her eyes, will show you a part of what has stirred me up. Before looking through her lens, it is pertinent to consider what has provoked me.

Who has stirred me up? You may well ask… Dr Ann Milne and her Warrior Scholars from Kia Aroha College;

  • Jacob Harris-Kaaka | Year 12 | Te Aupouri | Ngāti Kuri
  • Timitimi Ropata | Year 12 | Ngāti Toa Rangatira | Ngai Tai

I was lucky enough to be a part of  our TOD for our for our Kāhui Ako. Ironically, part of their inspiring presentation was to critique the whole premise of Kāhui Ako. You can find a way into their awesome blog posts and research on Beyond Māori boys’ writing: Reading and writing our WORLD

“Kia Aroha College’s goal is to “Develop Warrior-Scholars.” Our designated-character sets out how we are different from regular state schools. Our Graduate Profiles make clear what success “as” Māori, Samoan and Tongan learners looks like at Kia Aroha College. Tino Rangatiratanga / Self-Determination is our rationale for ‘Why we do what we do’ at Kia Aroha College. Self-determination is about what Matua Graham Smith describes as the ongoing cycle of conscientising, resisting and transforming.” Beyond Māori boys’ writing: Reading and writing our WORLD [part 3].

There were so many aspects of the talk that sparked me, for many different reasons. My sense of social justice and moral purpose is why I do what I do. I want to make a difference and I will fight for unjust situations. I consider myself to be a proponent of critical pedagogy and if you read my past posts you will already know this. Some of the the thinking and influence that I have had within this lens are as follows.

When considering guiding questions within the field of education there is a deceptively simple one: What knowledge is of most valued? Historically, an extensive tradition has grown around a restatement of that question. Rather than “What knowledge is most valued?” the question has been reframed. It has become “Whose knowledge is most valued? (APPLE, 2004, 2000, 1996). In addition to whose knowledge is valued? I also recognise Praxis: Reflection and action. To no longer be prey to its force, one must emerge from it and turn upon it. This can be done only by means of the praxis: reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it (Freire, 1972 p.36). Considering the fore-mentioned “Praxis” should be a part of how we as educators “are” and “must be”. Alongside praxis is a need to ensure conscientization occurs. “Critical and liberating dialogue, which presupposes action, must be carried out with the oppressed at whatever the stage of their struggle for liberation” (Freire, 1972 p.52). • Conscientizaçào is most commonly translated as conscientization. The term encompasses Freire’s ideas and means in general terms ‘learning to perceive social, political, and economic contradictions, and take action against the oppressive elements of reality.’ (Freire, 1970 p. 17) This stood out to me when I was watching the video of Kia Aroha College and seeing the Kaiako in action. He was up fronting the power relations in society, he was allowing for that understanding of this to inform and empower his ākonga. Critical pedagogy is fundamentally committed to the development and evolvement of a culture of schooling that supports the empowerment of culturally marginalized and economically disenfranchised students. By doing so, this pedagogical perspective seeks to transform those classroom structures and practices that perpetuate undemocratic life (Baltodano, Darder & Torres, 2003, p.11). The ākonga at Kia Aroha College were experiencing that pedagogy in Praxis. Creating an environment for counter hegemony (Gramsci, 1976) to occur. Gramsci built on the ideas of Marx (1844), shifting from thesis and antithesis as opposing forces to form a dialectical relationship, to hegemony, counter-hegemony to create a new hegemony.

We must all do this, we must all be the antithesis to the “societal norms and culture” that are valued in society today. We must create an environment that disrupts this, challenges the status quo and empowers our students to create change. Kia Aroha College is living and breathing this. So are the Wharekura, living and breathing this for Māori achieving success as Māori.

The  slipped into an unconference and my uneasiness of the day ensured that I went straight to the pop up workshop on where to from here, after the powerful talk, what can we do? What change can we be? Or how can we ensure we ensure our ākonga can be. What do I mean by uneasiness? To tell you the truth. I am so proud of our Kura and what we attempt to do with shifting education. However, I was left with a sense of uneasiness in the morning. I will be open and honest here, I was uneasy that our Kapa Haka Rōpū was not here to welcome the manuhuri to our Kura by Pōwhiri, I was uneasy Maurie was not here to Kōrero Māori. Maurie was in Wellington working with NZQA and the MOE. Was there no other Tumuaki/Principals in our Kahui Ako that could Korero Māori? There was a Kōrero back after Anne spoke, but my heart said this should have been in Reo. We sing the school Waiata every morning and usually follow this tikanga and kauapapa. Why did we not do this that day? I realise there was multiple schools there within the Kahui Ako, but in a talk on “colouring in white spaces”, I was seeing the blank pages of a colouring book. We must live and breathe this every day. We are not a wharekura. However, we are a Kura of passionate teachers who want to challenge the status quo. I am inspired by my colleagues every day, in the shifts against institutions that we are  making and the moral purpose that we collectively bring.

But….. are we doing enough? No? We must do more? I must do more, I must be the antithesis of what is valued in society, I must ensure that all our ākonga are valued and that this is not occurring…..

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Good question from Claire. also put here by Lisa, inspired by Anne…

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and the point of not deficit theorising here by Ros,

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Back to my daughter’s eyes… My girl is the left hand one on the very first photo. I am Pakeha, her father is Māori. She lives with me and our blended whānau at Muriwai beach. She is from a split family, however, both her father and I have ensured she is loved, believed in and supported by all of us and our extended families. She experiences Awhinatanga and Mana Motuhake every day. In saying that, she did not know a great deal of her whakapapa and cultural connections. Her identity was predominantly influenced by me as a Pakeha mother. She has been to her Marae “Opurure” in Te Kuiti. However, she has not really known much of her iwi connections. She has grown and blossomed under the influence of a special man. I am grateful for the time she had with him and the impact he has had on her cultural identity. She has been connected to all of her whānau. However, she has just not really understood this. She has found aspects of this, still a long way to go. However, now thanks to Matua her nick name is “Maniapoto” Her connection to Ngati Maniapoto with the Joseph side of her whānau. Jaimee, my daughter has grown so much, in terms of identity wise through her time down at Rototuna High School and is continuing to grow back at Hobsonville Point Secondary. Two mainstream Kura that are attempting to break institutions and create change. Jaimee did something down the line and was influenced by a person with “mana” who epitomises being “whakaiti” who has an in depth understanding of tikanga and kaupapa Māori. Matua Anaru Keogh, who came from  Ngā Taiātea College    and is going back there. Jaimee joined Kapa Haka and that was the beginning….




She is in the above photos and her “Decile 10 Kura” in Hamilton as a new Kura Rototuna High School- 1 year old, attended and took part in the Tainui Regionals in Te Kuiti. One of only a couple of mainstream schools to take part… To say I was proud watching her and the ākonga is an understatement, I was beaming with pride, alongside Troy Collins another whānau/Mum of three ākonga in the Rōpū-Travis, Reggae and League. However, it is not just her learning in Kapa Haka, including Poi, Mau Rakau, Haka and Waiata that she has blossomed in, it is also her identity. Her other side of the whānau, the Poihipi side has links to Tainui and Ngaruawahia. I am sure that her Grandfather, who passed before she was born, would have been proud of her at the Tainui regionals. Her Father and whānau were there. Here she was on the stage of the Kura (Te Kuiti High) where her fathers cousins had all gone to school, in the region of her Marae. In addition I am sure he was proud to see her working in the wharekai at Hukunui Marae for the Pokai.


Not only has Jaimee been influenced by Matua, but also other passionate teachers at Rototuna. In her module “We the People” she experienced learning into her identity from Whaea Amy Hudson, Sally McBride and Kendyl Morris. Again through Art, English and History, looking into her own identity. Teachers such as this are part of the antithesis that I talk of, that are starting with culture, identity and relationships and challenging social norms. This is how Jaimee saw herself…


In my own module at the moment with Jessica called “Ko wai ahau?” which is Science and Mathematics. Our focus has been learning about why we are like we are. We are comparing western worldview of the biology of inheritance including cells, genes, and chromosomes, with Te Ao Maori ideas about whakapapa, genealogy, stories….and  mokopuna. We have also been exploring the patterns of inheritance through mathematics and put into perspective how close we really are. We have looked at aspects of whakapapa, however, I wanted an expert who could show in action how whakapapa is passed on to the next generation. Matua Anaru (previously mentioned), was chosen by his Grandmother to pass on the whakapapa of his whānau. He came up to Hobsonville and helped take my class for the most awesome session. Explaining the tension he had at primary school, when the teacher talked of James Cook discovering NZ, the fact he thought his Nana was telling fibs about Kupe being first. How when he came home his Nan said not to challenge the Kaiako. Matua can whakapapa right back to Kupe. He talked to the ākonga about how they learnt chants of whakapapa like the old school way of telling times tables. He did some great whakawhanaungatanga activities and Mau Rakau-which he is Pou Waru in.




Rather than just focussing on Punnet squares and traits, homozygous recessive genes etc… we have looked from different world views. When I was working with the stories of Papatūānuku and Ranginui, Anthony knew a lot, I asked him of his connections to the story. He had learnt about it where he had come from in Kawakawa. So when Matua came up Anthony, stayed behind after class to personally thank Matua, I told of his connection, with Matua from Ngāpuhi. They connected straight away. Just as Matua had done with Jaimee and his same connections with her with Ngāti Maniapoto. If ākonga did not know their iwi connections, Matua would ask their surnames and often find connections through this. Down the line, I worked with a project where I my group helped to make all the Maro for the Kapa Haka group, I did not know how to do this prior, so we got in Whaea Linda Keogh, who showed us the tikanga of gathering harekeke and stripping to make Muka and dye etc… we all learnt together, see more here… Ākonga making a difference through powerful partnerships. 

Continuing on with my daughter, she is back at Hobsonville Point Secondary Year. In terms of Te Reo, while Maurie has ensured that Te Reo is compulsory at our Kura, she has chosen to take the full year option “Nau Mai Haere Mai” with Whaea Leoni, continuing what she started off down the line with Matua and also in a smaller module with Whaea Nadine Malcom and Rebecaa Foster. In addition she has joined the Mana Wahine group and is excited for a couple of weeks time where her old Rototuna Kapa Haka Rōpū is coming up for whakawhanaungatanga and performance. To see some of these faces and connections.




So all of us as educators, in NZ, we have a moral imperative to ensure that we are allowing for world views beyond our own to be explicit in our classes. When I stayed behind at the workshop that was held on where to next after Anne’s Kōrero, teachers talked of being uncomfortable, but you know what, we need to get uncomfortable, we need to be the antithesis to the norm and allow our students to become critically conscious. We should aspire to the critical consciousness that Kura like Kia Aroha have created  and can do this in all contexts. While we are not full immersion, we must value culture, language and identity. However, cultural responsiveness is not enough as Anne Milne said. It must be a culturally sustaining pedagogy, hence the definition at the top of this post. Only then can we ensure the empowerment and cultural growth that will enable positive outcomes in our school. When I talk of outcomes, I mean more than academic outcomes, I mean personal and academic achievement. When my girl started school at Hobsonville, Maurie interviewed us and asked Jaimee and I what we wanted for her at the Kura. Jaimee, was excited to be back, to be back to sport, friends and talked about a few subjects. I said “I just want her to be happy, if she is happy the rest will come”. While I am not Māori, I will continue to be the antithesis and hope I can help make a difference for my daughter and all the ākonga that come my way.

Apple, M. W. (1996). Cultural politics and education. New York: Teachers College Press, 1996. ______

  • Power, meaning, and identity. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.
  • Official knowledge, 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2000.
  • Ideology and curriculum, 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 200

Baltodano, M., Darder A., & Torres, R.D. (2003). The Critical Pedagogy Reader. NewYork: RoutledgeFalmer.

Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Sheed and Ward Ltd.


Make a difference…


What drives the value I place on making a difference and on our ākonga making a difference…

Proponents of socio-critical discourses have foregrounded critical pedagogy (Culpan & Bruce, 2007; Gillespie & Culpan, 2000; Ross, 2001; Sparkes, 1996; Tinning, 2002). In  education, advocates of critical pedagogy are committed to ongoing reflection and action, as a process for creating change in classroom structures and practices that perpetuate undemocratic life. Furthermore, proponents attempt to develop a culture of schooling that supports empowerment of culturally marginalised and economically disenfranchised students (Baltodano, Darder & Torres, 2003). Critical pedagogy involves questioning assumptions of power, inequalities, and the relationship between power and knowledge. In addition, by acknowledging these inequalities, critical pedagogy aims to empower individuals and groups to take social action for change. Consequently, emancipation and social justice are major goals of critical pedagogues (Culpan & Bruce, 2007; Friere, 1972; McLaren, 2007).

I have written about students making a difference in a couple of posts before…

engage through powerful partnerships ….contribute confidently and responsibly in our changing world…

Ākonga making a difference through powerful partnerships.

This is a major driver for me philosophically. I am therefore lucky to be working in a school that has “powerful partnerships” as a main driver and critical pedagogy being applied in praxis, through an on going process of reflection and action. I am excited to be able to work in the “Impact Projects” at school this year and ensure I put this into action so that it is not just rhetoric. The intent of the project is to work with our special needs unit on site here at school “Arohanui” to ensure inclusion for all. To ensure we challenge power relations involving those with special needs and how they are included in society.

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with a focus on the Manaakitanga strand…

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Liz , Cairan and Rebecca make up our awesome project team at HPSS and have developed the curriculum around this to have student voice into passions, interests and needs of our students. The students are currently working their way around sparks over a six week period to get a true taster for what project may light their fire. I am running sparks for students and have tried to do this with the voice of the Arohanui students. Here is the voice of our potential partners…


What has been exciting to me over the past few weeks is that there is great interest from our students in this project. They see this project as a potential symbiotic relationship, where both groups of ākonga benefit from this definite challenge to the status quo. On the one hand, I feel that those who opt into this project have had a sense of empathy from the outset, on the other hand, what an amazing opportunity to develop many other skills and attributes. These attributes and skills may include, empathy, compassion, communication skills, leadership skills, patience, tolerance, acceptance of diversity and many more… The Arohanui students are excited to work with the mainstream kids and it has been rewarding seeing the students after the video provocation, going down and introducing themselves to the Arohanui students, the smiles on their faces as they say their names and introduce themselves has been tear jerking. As all of the seniors in the school are moving through the sparks, they are all learning their names, so we talked to the fact that even if they do not pick the project they can set on the path to greater inclusion by interacting and acknowledging at the least. This is another provocation that I used around #notspecialneeds

People talk of ākonga being citizens of the future, I believe they are citizens now and truly can make an impact locally and globally. I look forward to finding out who is coming into the project, continuing to develop a path based on social action and starting to co-construct with them a way to “make a difference”, knowing in doing so the rewards are great for all….As a final note, assessment will fall out of this around taking action. However, the evidence will be the on going journey of reflection and action of the ākonga as a portfolio and not be used as the main driver…

Baltodano, M., Darder A., & Torres, R.D. (2003). The Critical Pedagogy Reader. NewYork: RoutledgeFalmer.

Culpan, I., & Bruce, J. (2007). New Zealand Physical Education and Critical Pedagogy: Refocussing the curriculum. International Journal of Sport and Health Science 5: 1-11.

Freire, P. (1972). Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Sheed and Ward Ltd.

Gillespie, L., & Culpan, I. (2000). Critical thinking: Ensuring the “education” aspect is evident in physical education. Journal of Physical Education New Zealand, 33(3), 84-96.

McLaren (2007). Life in schools: An introduction to critical pedagogy in the foundations of education. Boston: Pearson Education, Inc.

Ross, B. (2001). Visions and Phantoms: Reading the New Zealand Health and Physical Education Curriculum. Journal of physical education New Zealand, 34(1).

Sparkes, A.C. (1996). Research in physical education and sport: Exploring alternativevisions. London: Falmer Press.

“Future for our students” and some thinking on N.C.E.A…

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Much is written about the future of work, where society is heading and what the education system to support this, will need to be. Here are a few opinion pieces on changing work…

In addition here is work from the OECD looking at Education towards 2030…

“Future of Education and Skills: Education2030

Globalisation, technological innovations, climate and demographic changes and other major trends are creating both new demands and opportunities that individuals and societies need to effectively respond to.

There are increasing demands on schools to prepare students for more rapid economic and social change, for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, and to solve social problems that have not been anticipated in the past.

One may argue it is still some time away to think of 2030 but this is the world in which those who are beginning primary school today will start their professional careers and those who are in secondary school today will become the core group of the prime working age. The project “Future of Education and Skills: Education2030” will target school education, both general and vocational, while recognising the importance of learning progressions and a life-long learning continuum”.

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At a National level we have looking for change towards… Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 12.55.38 PM.png

All of this work shows the paradigm shifts that are occurring in the potential future of work. At the same time we have had a shift in assessment practice in New Zealand, however, this has been evolving for some time and the speed of evolution is not keeping up with what may be required in the future by our students as they leave the “Secondary Education System”. It is pertinent to reflect on the time line of the development of N.C.E.A.

NCEA timeline

The following summarised timeline shows how NCEA has evolved:

  • Late 1997, the New Zealand Government announced a policy called ‘Achievement 2001’, involving a complete overhaul of the secondary school qualifications system. Under the new system, students would be assessed at three, or possibly four, levels of the same qualification, to be called the National Certificate of Educational Achievement, which would be registered on the National Qualifications Framework.
  • In 2000, the start date for the new qualification was delayed a year, to 2002, because the system was deemed to be not ready, either at school level or at central agency level.
  • In 2002, NCEA Level 1 was introduced and the first group of students and teachers began to experience the new qualification.
  • Over 2003 and 2004, Levels 2 and 3 were introduced, and also the separate Scholarship examination, which was registered on the Framework at Level 4, but whose content was derived from the Level 3 standards.
  • As each level was introduced, the previous qualification at that level was discontinued, except the Year 12 qualification, Sixth Form Certificate, which was allowed to continue for a further two years by schools that were not ready to move to Level 2 in 2003.
  • In September 2004, the Minister of Education, Hon. Trevor Mallard, announced at a PPTA Annual Conference, that there would be a low-key review of the NCEA system during 2005, to inform strategic planning of future work to refine the qualification system.
  • By the end of 2004, the qualification was firmly entrenched in New Zealand schools, and the first phase of implementation was complete.
  • In November 2006, a new-look Record of Learning and Result Notice was developed.
  • In 2007, a suite of improvements to the NCEA were announced by the Minister of Education. Among the first to be announced in July was NCEA certificate endorsement designed to recognise student achievement at Merit or Excellence level across all learning areas. In November, ‘Managing National Assessment’ reports for secondary schools were made available online.
  • From the beginning of 2008, full-time moderators took up their appointments as part of a process to increase the amount of internally assessed student work undergoing moderation (approximately 10%).
  • Reporting of Not Achieved results was introduced for internally assessed standards, and in March, a new monitoring process was announced, which would compare internal and external assessment data for NCEA.
  • In April 2008 , the Record of Learning was renamed Record of Achievement, to better reflect its purpose. In May, random selection of internally assessed student work for external moderation was introduced, to increase public confidence in the credibility of internal assessment.
  • In June 2008, the process began to review and align standards with the new New Zealand Curriculum (developed by the Ministry of Education) and address issues such as credit parity and duplication. Newly aligned standards are due to be introduced progressively, with level 1 standards first, in 2011.
  • In May 2009, new-look statistics pages were released on the NZQA website, including data based on participation, gender and ethnicity.
  • In July 2009, consultation was completed on the draft level 1 standards and draft level 1-3 subject matrices. New rules on further assessment opportunities for internally assessed standards were introduced in July 2009, allowing one further assessment opportunity (re-sit) per student per standard per year.
  • In April 2010, Education Minister Anne Tolley announced the introduction of Course Endorsement for NCEA, to begin in 2011.  Course Endorsement enables students with strong performances in individual courses to gain Excellence or Merit endorsements in those courses.  Students will receive an Excellence endorsement for a course if they gain 14 credits at Excellence level, while students gaining 14 credits at Merit (or Merit and Excellence) will gain a Merit endorsement.  To ensure students are capable of performing well in both modes of assessment, in most courses at least three of the 14 credits must be from internally assessed standards, and three from externally assessed standards.

Much of this evolution has been tweaking. In contrast the development of the New Zealand Curriculum shows a different timeframe…


New Zealand curriculum – draft 2006–2007

The timeline for consultation and implementation of the New Zealand Curriculum: Draft 2006–2007 is:



Draft New Zealand Curriculum (English medium) published for consultation and feedback. (Feedback must be returned by 30 November 2006.)


Independent survey carried out to gauge penetration and understanding.


Independent focus groups.

30 November

All feedback and consultation completed.


Draft Te Marautanga o Aotearoa published.


Proposed release of the revised New Zealand curriculum.


Final Te Marautanga o Aotearoa published.


Implementation of the two partnership documents: the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

You can see that the assessment was developed and implemented before the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). For this reason, is it really a surprise that in many schools in New Zealand Assessment continues to drive the teaching and learning. Even when the standards were aligned to the NZC half way through the timeline, there was really only shifts in semantics of standards rather than the actual outcomes themselves.
The NZC is applauded internationally for its future focus-see this article…
The challenge is not what the New Zealand Curriculum offers, the challenge is what are the intended and actual outcomes for teaching and learning in our classrooms across the country? In addition what are the intended and actual outcomes for the assessment aligned to this? If, of course, the horse comes before the cart.
This overview of the NZC shows why our curriculum document is applauded for it’s future focus…
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I personally have a strong belief that what you assess, is what you value. Currently for most Secondary Schools, the major aspect of assessment falls from N.C.E.A and the Achievement Standards that align to this document. The limitation of this assessment system as I see it is that the Achievement standards align to this aspect of the curriculum.
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Many of the aspects of our curriculum that are applauded as “future focus” come from other parts of our curriculum document such as, the “key competencies”, “values” and “vision”. While there has been a shift in curriculum documents and assessment towards some aspects of these “socio-critical discourses” the intended and actual outcomes of this can differ greatly (I went deeper into this in my own research).
If the future of work is looking more towards skills and dispositions than content knowledge, how are we collecting and curating evidence of this?
Some schools have placed a real value on dispositions that align to the NZC such as the Hobsonville Habits from Hobsonville Point Secondary School.
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Where the habits are taught explicitly and reflections occur that evidence learning against these…
or the awesome work that Liz and her team have done with real world, authentic projects that make a difference in the community. All aligned to the school vision and values…
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For all the amazing teaching and learning, there is still a search through N.C.E.A to find assessments that may align. For example here are three different examples of standards aligned in different curriculum areas, that have a different focus…

Health 2 AS91237 2.3

Take action to enhance an aspect of people’s well-being within the school or wider community.

Physical Education 1 AS90969 1.8

Take purposeful action to assist others to participate in physical activity.

Social Studies 2 AS91282 2.4

Describe personal involvement in a social action related to rights and responsibilities

If taking an action in our community, is an outcome that we want for our students, that aligns explicitly to the NZC Vision as well as schools own vision…

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Reach for the sky! Whaia te iti kahurangi

At Hobsonville Point Secondary School we believe in empowering young people with the skills to contribute confidently and responsibly in our changing world.

Then wouldn’t the ideal situation for aligning Curriculum, Assessment and Pedagogy, to be one where there are more generic standards, that do not sit in the subject silos, with specific contexts required to be used… should the context be more personalised, as is the case in our projects that use student voice and choice for what actions will be. Evidence could be collected over time in any context or several contexts and then this could be used to make judgements against the standards. Portfolios where the teaching and learning of relevant contexts to the students are collated over time. With generic standards of more future focussed skills and dispositions.

These standards would be better aligned to the wider NZC. Another example of this can be seen in this standard…

Physical Education 1 AS90966 1.5

Demonstrate interpersonal skills in a group and explain how these skills impact on others.

While this appears to be generic the Explanatory notes state that the interpersonal skills must be in a physical activity context. If the outcome that we want for our students for their future is interpersonal skills, why must it be in this context? Could any teaching and learning be aligned to this outcome? If yes, why is it sitting in a subject silo, with a specified context. This is compartmentalising learning. Not to take away from Physical Education and the development of interpersonal skills within physical activity, more to highlight this can be achieved in many contexts, for example impact projects that are taking action in a local community.

Could the Hobsonville Habits shown above, become generic outcomes for standards that students evidence overtime in portfolios? If these are the attributes that our whānau and employers are looking for, how do we value these outcomes as much as the high stakes outcomes currently in place in the N.C.E.A? There are still many knowledge and content based standards? If knowledge is ever changing, why are we assessing this? Can there be a shift towards skills and dispositions in our assessment system?

Such as these…


If there were more generic standards, would it allow there to be a power shift from the University end of things. Where, there is a hierarchy of knowledge and valued knowledge by curriculum area. Where universities still have a hold over the pathways that are occurring particularly at Level 3. Generic research standards, problem solving standards and more….

It is good to see that N.C.E.A is being reviewed this year,

It is also good to see people on the advisory group that will bring some outside perspectives on what N.C.E.A can be.

At the same time they need to talk to schools that are pushing back on over assessment, that are trying to minimise over assessment and assessment driven programmes. That are personalising learning as the future of work documents talk to. That are taking action in their communities, while still working the constraints of the current system, that I have mentioned above. See the article below on this and what Maurie and HPSS have been pushing.

Also see RNZ Interview here…

Only then can we truly align curriculum, assessment and pedagogy to ensure personalised and best outcomes for our students to face the future coming their way….

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Ākonga making a difference through powerful partnerships.

Heal the World
Michael Jackson
There’s a place in your heart
And I know that it is love
And this place could be much
Brighter than tomorrow
And if you really try
You’ll find there’s no need to cry
In this place you’ll feel
There’s no hurt or sorrow
There are ways to get there
If you care enough for the living
Make a little space
Make a better place
Heal the world
Make it a better place
For you and for me
And the entire human race
There are people dying
If you care enough for the living
Make it a better place
For you and for me….
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The words of Michael Jackson are a good place to start and set the scene for this reflection…So much in the world and the media about what is wrong with the world, with society, with the future focused New Zealand Curriculum having the following vision, values, key competencies and more…
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Focusing in on the vision …”Young people who will be confident, connected, actively involved, lifelong learners”.
So how is this been enacted in our schools? Within schools own contexts how is the vision being played out? I want to share some of the partnerships we have at Rototuna High Schools to show this in our context…Let’s focus on the good stuff happening.

More specifically our Mission statement is...

“Empower our people to be connected, collaborative, community-minded learners inspired to soar”.

From our website


The land on which the schools are to be built is approximately 11 hectares in size (before building). The site is located to the north-west of Te Totara Primary School and adjoins a portion of the designation for the Waikato Expressway near North City Road and Horsham Downs Road.

In Pre-European times, the area around the school was a peat lake named Tunawhakapeke. The lake and surrounding swamps were a source of abundant resources such as tuna (eel) and harakeke (flax) for early Māori and of course the kāhu is a prominent bird in our area and is our school emblem. The kāhu (or swamp harrier) was regarded as good luck if it was seen flying overhead during a tribal meeting and we hope that it brings us the same luck too. It is also a bird that soars high and represents the high aspirations we have for our students and community too. Parts our branding and uniform also feature orange as one of it’s colours and this is reference to kokowai (paint pigment) that was produced from the iron oxide present in the rich peat swamps and gully creeks as the water flowed through them, producing ‘orange’ water commonly seen in creeks in peat areas.

Mana Whenua

First of all connections with Mana Whenua, our local iwi are Tainui and Ngāti Wairere, we are engaging with Mana Whenua across a number of levels.
The naming of our space and place has been completed in conjunction with Ngāti Wairere, right from the beginning our Board of Trustees led by Megan Campbell, worked alongside board member Wiremu Puke from Ngāti Wairere in the naming of our space and place and connections an partnerships have been developed for here…
The importance of connections with Mana Whenua have also been made explicit in our school charter
So how have we as a Kura and the ākonga been going about this?

Connections this year…


The poukai is a ceremonial gathering held on 28 days a year at different marae or ceremonial centres supporting the Kïngitanga, or Mäori King Movement, which is largely based within the Tainui confederation of tribes in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island.
Our ākonga and some staff attended this year, the ākonga helped behind the scenes the day before and the day of the visit to the Hukunui Marae, working in the kitchen and the dining areas to prepare the celebratory Kai. Also taking part in the Pōwhiri that you can see in the photos above.


The annual Koroneihana (coronation) commemorations marks the time when King Tuheitia ascended the throne on the 21 August 2006 following the passing of his mother, Te Arikinui Dame Te Ataairangikaahu, who had reigned for 40 years from 23 May 1966.The August celebrations are expected to be the biggest ever to match the 10 year milestone of King Tuheitia’s reign also paying tribute and remembering his mother. Koroneihana attracts hundreds of visitors nationally and internationally to Turangawaewae Marae in Ngaruawahia, for the week long celebrations.It brings together iwi from across the motu (country) who support the Maori kingship movement which emerged in the 1850s as a symbol of unity. Throughout the week visitors and iwi members will take part in political debates on matters important to the Kingitanga and to Maoridom. Cultural performances, sports competitions, education expo and other festivities also take place. Koroneihana is one of the key events on the Māori calendar.


This has just occurred an Matua Anaru Keogh took some of our Tuakana to work behind the scenes in the kitchen at Turangawaewae Marae once more…IMG-0266

“Wairere worry project”

“Wairere worry project” looked to connect further with Mana Whenua earlier in the year, meeting with the Marae committee at Hukunui to see whether students could help take action to sustain the culture at Hukunui, to paint garden upkeep, support as required….

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Communication did break down here and students had to shift their focus to helping sustain the culture at Rototuna, by supporting our Kapa Haka group. The Kapa Haka rōpu led my Matua Anaru Keogh and Matua Robbie Moore represented our Kura at the Tainui regionals this year, this was a massive achievement with the rōpu turning around a performance in one term of intensive mahi with Year 7-11 to compete against well established rōpu from kura with mainly Year 12 and 13 akonga. To say we were proud is an understatement. The project worked behind the scenes to support, as we are a new rōpu we had no uniforms-kakahu to wear. Here is some photos of our project making muka and dying to help make the Maro our bys would wear, supported by our Tumuaki Natash who can make Maro.

Here you can see the actual finished product of Maro and a few other Kapa Haka pics…


Te Rapa R Us Project

Another partnership making a difference in our kura is the Te Rapa R Us project, linking in with the Te Rapa Unit here at school. we have a satellite class on site. A group of ākonga came up with the idea of making a difference and developing inclusion at our school, to sustain the links between Te Rapa and RHS. Ākonga have planned budgeted and developed a programme for this and have lead activities including, cooking, art, technology-puzzle development with sketch up and MDF, PE and more…See some visuals below…


Taking action with Te Totara Primary

Active Community impact project have been building their leadership skills by sharing their sports knowledge with ākonga at Te Totara primary.

Bee cool Project

We have a project at school that has developed a partnership with pacific coast technical institute. This project is helping ākonga to gain qualifications that will allow them to be employed in the Apiary industry, which is a fast growing industry in NZ. In addition we have another project also working in conjunction with PCTI to gain qualification aligned to the Fruit growing industry. See some of the ākonga taking advantage of their learning through this partnership.

These are just a few examples, I do believe we are are still learning as we go, but I think it is important to share ways that Kura can help their ākonga to make a difference and know we are on the way to ensure here at Rototuna through our powerful partnerships we…

Empower our people to be connected, collaborative, community-minded learners inspired to soar.

Crash “testing” dummies…shifting assessment.

I like to use the metaphor of a crash “testing” dummy when it comes to assessment in Education. This is part of my thinking on my leadership inquiry involving building assessment capability. Therefore, this blog is part of my evidence and reflection.

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Most educators I know are passionate practitioners, who want the teaching and learning and pedagogy that underpins it to be akonga/student centred. To start with the akonga/student and to for learning to be supported, scaffolded, guided by them and their colleagues. If we think of the New Zealand Curriculum as the road, the journey, the potential pathways for our akonga. The road can be travelled at different speeds, different routes, stops and starts along the way. We are lucky to have a curriculum that is innovative and future focussed, allows for different interpretation and different ways to travel along the way dependent on the needs of our akonga. Our beautiful country can be seen as the learning that occurs along the way.

So what is the issue? or is there an issue? Many would say that we have NCEA as a handbrake, many critique NCEA as a being handbrake. Not just NCEA, many would say assessment is a handbrake to any level of education. What if it is seen that our students are travelling the journey of their education but along the way we keep putting up these obstacles and walls along the way.

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Some students stop in time, get over or around the obstacle and achieve credits for NCEA /pass assessments and continue on their journey. Some crash into the wall and come back for another go, some don’t ever recover from the crash. What are we doing as educators, are we just preparing them to crash and dodge at certain points along the way? Can we think about this differently? Are there ways to manipulate assessment and build assessment capability in all to ensure that this is not the case. So that we are not just churning out credits and stopping the journey of learning along the way?

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What if we can get teachers and students to see and treat the learning journey differently, gather the journey as they go and not to have so many walls, end points and obstacles in the way. Not to have final summative tasks. Not to drive a route along the way in our country and have to recount exactly where they have been in a test before they move to the next point. What about curating evidence as they go, of where they have been, show their understanding at the time as they go on their journey, while it is relevant, while they are amongst it. They do that on facebook, instagram and other social media, excited about what they are up to and wanting to share.

So what if students track their own journey, share their learning along the way, we as educators can helps support that, with maps, ideas on where to go, we can be along for the ride in the car too. We can be the co-driver for our students, taking the wheel when needed and letting them drive as well. A metaphor is all well and good but what am I actually talking about and what are some systems that have been put in place to help this?

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At Rototuna we are in the middle of a journey, trying to take control of the wheel, while still letting our akonga drive. We are trying to shift to assessments for NCEA that do not take over the journey, we are trying to gather evidence in an on-going way so that the process of learning and the evidence that falls out of this is valued over the final outcome. We are still learning around this, it is taking for some shifts and building of assessment capability across the board, for our staff and our akonga.

Some of the things we have had to look at are…

NCEA-How does that work here?

Here is a presentation that we have taken our akonga and community through along the way, in regards to a two year level 2 NCEA programme, the Why? and How?


Collecting evidence in a variety of modes along the way

  • Video evidence
  • Verbal evidence
  • Written evidence
  • Collated scaffolded documents
  • Blogging as evidence
  • Google sites/websites collating the learning journey

We have unpacked these types of evidence in PLD and looked at positives and negatives as well as possibilities of each mode.

Such as…

PLD around modes…


Assessment Task Development

We have looked at how to develop our own tasks for NCEA that ensure we are allowing for portfolios of evidence, while still ensuring we meet the requirements of the standards and allow learners the opportunity to achieve the standard, with fair, valid reliable and robust tasks.

Such as…

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Copy of Task Process visual arts 1.5

Also developing exemplars of tasks to help support staff and documentation to support this…

Copy of Internal Moderation Documentation

So these previous parts show some of the systems that need to be in place to enable a shift in assessment practice. In addition to this, I am also lucky enough to be a part of a team with Paula Wine-Deputy Principal in the Junior High focussing on teachers inquiring into their own practice on assessment capability, also inquiring into building assessment capability in their akonga and looking at evidence of impact on positive student outcomes. As a whole school, we have aligned our three Professional Learning Groups (PLGs) to our strategic goals. Teachers have opted into one of the PLGs that have the foci of…

  • Māori achieving success as Māori
  • Student agency
  • Assessment Capabilty

We are underway with the PLGs and staff are focusing into areas of interest… aspects that are being looked at include…

  • Learning focussed relationships
  • Quality feedback-feed forward
  • Assessment for learning/assessment as learning
  • Use of rubrics/solo/etc…
  • Development of exemplars? WAGOLLs -What a good one looks like!
  • Effective Learning Intentions and Success criteria
  • Making Learning visible
  • Exploring modes of assessment
  • Student agency in assessment
  • Teaching your students how to give themselves and others feedback (assessment capable learners)
  • Impact of previewing on learning progress
  • Teaching ‘learning to learn’ strategies (ASK)
  • Exploring how SOLO taxonomy can help students reflect & differentiate your feedback
  • and more…

Some exciting stuff that I look forward to seeing grow in their inquiries and also supporting and learning from along the way….

Supported with reading and learning such as…

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All of this is being scaffolded along the way by Arinui and just as we are wanting with our NCEA, teachers are collecting their evidence in an on-going way…

Reporting Practice

In addition to this, the other thing that we have been developing alongside this is also a shift in reporting practice…

Here is an overview of this process….


We are ensuring that reporting is not something happening at the end of semesters, when no shifts can be made to students learning and achievement. We have a process of teachers giving feedback on curriculum levels and CLOAK Values before the middle of the semester. Teachers also write comments that are blind and not proofed on where students are at and where to next. The Kaiārahi (advisors) then collate all the feedback, feed forward and conference the small group of students that they have in their whānau (advisory). This occurs and is sent out mid semester and gives times for students to act on feedback and improve on their achievement.

This is an exemplar of the Kaiārahi conference from Semester one:

Exemplar Kaiārahi Conference (1)

The criteria for CLOAK Values that we also report on were co-constructed with our students in our whānau time.


Students are also tracking their own achievement in NCEA and looking to align this with vocational pathways, so that achievement is not just sitting in silos.

Here is an example of this…


So my take on things at the end of this is, if we don’t want NCEA driving things, if we want to be responsive to our students and value the process of learning over final outcomes, or rather make the final outcome the process of learning, there needs to be supports, scaffolds and building of assessment capability for our staff and our students. In addition, this is ideally through inquiry, is informed by research and measures improved student outcomes. So let’s shift it, sit alongside our students, look at quality not quantity and push those walls out the way…..


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