Leaders, parents and the local Pacific community discussed and identified cultural models that were important to them. They used the cultural models to guide their discussions and decisions about making improvements. Following are examples of cultural models used by these services (ERO sought permission to include these).
Falalalaga (Samoan) The art of mat weaving
We looked at other concepts and decided to use mat weaving – Falalalaga. It is like the way we raise our children, it is a continuous process, it never stops. The process of Falalalaga helps us to recognise the different developmental stages of our children. We use this process in planning programmes for our different age groups and in our self review.
Fale Hanga (Tongan) Weavers House
As a Tongan, a fale Hanga is very important to us, it represents shelter, families, community meetings. The idea came about because we have a fale in our yard here at the centre.
We created the fale in 3D so that we could actually touch it, display it and move the posts around. We work on each post at a time. The model is something we can actually see and test.
It is also a good way for our parents to understand the concept of the Pou. If we were to actually build one, a real fale, they would have input towards the planning and building, what it would look like etc.
In the past, parents would come and listen to what we would have to say, we would hand out paper after paper but they couldn’t relate to what we were saying as they couldn’t see or touch, it’s not really there.
Kopu Tangata (Cook Island) Our partnership with our whānau
The actual waka itself is all about our tamariki, all our children, they’re on the journey, so the waka is going through the journey. The sails of the waka, are the Kopu Tangata, which means our partnership with our whānau, our partnership with our whānau, is working with our tamariki to work together, that’s the whole whanaungatanga.
Our four oars are like the four pou of ERO’s Ngā Pou Here. We have used Cook Island language to describe the meaning of the oars. We don’t have Fale in the Cook Islands. We are one with the land and the sea. That’s why we thought we’d use the waka as our metaphor.
We showed parents the waka. We told them how we wanted to give them something that related to their children here in the Puna, and we shared our story how we related to the sea and the land. We talked about the waka being an important symbol for us. The families agreed and thought it was a good idea as well.
This has been useful to use in the centre because you can see it with the children, because we’re taking them on a journey too.
It’s working for us. We use it in our planning and for self review too.
The leaders of these services used their cultural models and asked themselves:
These services had undergone varying levels of organisational change and leadership development. ERO’s review recommendations were the catalysts for these changes. The leaders knew they had to make improvements and took risks because their own comfort zones were being challenged. Their trajectory of improvement was due to establishing a shared philosophy and vision, clarifying accountabilities and responsibilities, and building the capability of leaders and teachers.