For those of you who have been engaged with the people of Ako Aronui, you will be aware of our guiding iho matua philosophy which is based on manaaki, mana aki, and mana ā kī.

My own advocation of manaaki came from my tacit understanding that manaaki was how hapu where measured, it indicated the state of the wellbeing of the people and the environment, and the acts of manaaki was indicative of the management of the sacred relationships between self, people, the environment protected by ātua (divine beings), and Spirit.

A pedagogy of manaaki is in-line with Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and Teachers as Cultural Workers (Freire, 1996, 2005). For me, a pedagogy of manaaki is about caring for the people, and the environment through providing and holding space for staff and students to become consciously aware of who they are (self) their relationship with peers and staff (people) and the environment, in particular the context of Aotearoa New Zealand.

In my personal blog I shared an in-class task called Hosting and Guesting where the lecturer took the position as host and the students as guest. However, as I have been mentoring staff I have been considering more and more, how do lecturers design a learning experience where the student becomes the host. How do we advocate and exemplify a culture of care to and with our students? This phenomenon of hosting and guesting within teaching is in fact the foundational reciprocity of ako. As our team have been working with staff in developing bicultural curriculum – that weaves mātauranga and tikanga Māori into their programmes (evidence of honouring the Treaty of Waitangi and TEC’s funding Priority #3), more and more the guesting-hosting relationship becomes more apparent where pedagogy of manaaki and cultivating a culture of care is advocating the growth of caring (aroha), just (tika), and mindful (pono) good human beings. Wherein designing curriculum, I am asking myself how can I design with staff learning environments that provide students the experience to realise the values and differences of being dependent to independent to interdependent.

Currently we are at the beginning of the journey with staff and as we progress it may be possible we can share some of the journey and strategies tested, and their success and failures.

So for now, you will have to watch this space …

-Piki Diamond