This week I had the privilege of celebrating graduation with my class of 2018. I’m pictured here with two of our graduating students of Samoan descent: Leota, Alice Meredith and Savaiinaea, Tamatoa Manoa from the Certificate in Te Kunenga o te Ao Tikanga (Indigenous Research/Inquiry) class, Level 4.

It’s an interesting paper to teach and I’ve learnt a lot too. As a 36 weeks course, you are encouraged to learn indigenous inquiry (so far different from research) about indigenous leadership particular from your own cultural group i.e. Mana tangata (the cultural significance of people); and then through Mana whenua (the cultural significance of the environment) you learn about significant environmental practices and knowledge surrounding them; Mana Ao Turoa is about looking at the development of future innovations and further inquiry with Mana Reo being, the importance of our indigenous languages and knowledge to sustain and maintain for future generations.

It’s been an interesting journey because I knew when I was teaching in secondary school that it wasn’t really what I wanted to be doing and now in teaching and learning within tertiary education with adults and supporting their learnings (although I probably learn a lot more from them), it’s been a privilege to meet wonderful people like these students above who bring much knowledge, experience and understandings into our classrooms.

I also have the privilege of supporting them into Masters degree learning for those who wish to continue their journeys and often friendships build as we support each other in our educational journeys with laughs and sometimes tears along the way as we build trust and share about each others lives.

I’ve definitely come a long way from being a student who aimed high to learn as much as I possibly could to pass those exams at high school and Uni to the best of my abilities and now I get to support others too in their climb as well as to share some of those stories in books. I definitely have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. Thank you God!…