College – Issue 41

CHARACTER, WELLBEING & POSITIVE EDUCATION Marae visit resonates with Immerse & Inspire

work on Te A ̄ o Ma ¯ ori, the boys would take three days out of their year to work with tutors brought in from the wider community. “As part of that experience they went on a marae for a short time and took part in a po ¯ whiri. When the school introduced Te Reo as a compulsory subject in Year 9, Te A ̄ o Ma ¯ ori programme was no longer needed.” Mike Field worked with boys and outside tutors last year as part of the Immerse & Inspire programme, and the progression to spending time overnight on a marae this year seemed a natural one. “I’m a great believer that the boys actually need to spend a night and live on the marae. To sleep in the wharenui, to share kai and to be welcomed on to the marae through a po ¯ whiri are all more authentic when the experience actually occurs on the marae,” Ben said. He believed the boys gained a lot. “Tane Keepa, who guided and tutored the boys and staff through their experience on the O ̄ nuku marae, was fantastic, as was the

It’s one thing to talk the talk, another entirely to walk it. College’s Year 10 boys on the Immerse & Inspire programme moved from an academic study of tikanga to experiencing the real thing, when they were fortunate to spend a couple of days and a night on the O ̄ nuku marae near Akaroa in Term 2. Assistant Principal – Boarding and Immerse & Inspire Ben Vink said the idea of incorporating a marae visit during the boys’ week-long Immerse & Inspire experience came from Bicultural Coordinator Dr Mike Field and himself. “It was a natural part of the evolution that College has been on to becoming a more inclusive and bicultural place. It made perfect sense – and because it has been received so well by everyone concerned, it will now become a regular component of the Immerse & Inspire programme.” In the past, before the start of Immerse & Inspire, when Steve Everingham was leading the school’s

kaumatua James and the tangata whenua of the marae. We spent a lot of time working on tikanga, te reo – in particular, the boys’ mihi – and the history of O ̄ nuku and the Akaroa harbour. The boys also spent time working on taiaha and learning waiata. Whaea Rae stayed overnight with the first group and she wove a kete while the boys were there. They would sidle up to her and chat about it. Some of them spent time yarning away with the older men who had made themselves available to talk with our boys.” However, more than anything it was “the shared experience” that had the most impact. “The fact that everyone slept together, that everyone ate together; the understanding on why certain rituals took place, that you could only experience on a marae and not here at school. We deliberately chose O ̄ nuku because it is such a wonderful facility. It’s a bit of a journey to get there and it’s in a beautiful part of the country. We knew it would be a very special event for our boys and an asset to our programme.”

College Issue 41 2021


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