Māori Museum Educators – Te Papa meets Tairāwhiti

Tairāwhiti museum

Tairāwhiti Sign

Grass roots programme developing is best achieved by:

  1. Not trying to invent the wheel
  2. Learning from those who have been in your shoes
  3. Targeting an area that shares your demographical target audience – In this case, a predominantly Māori audience
  4. Realising a potential win/win situation when it’s staring you in the face a.k.a quid pro quo!

My name is Pania, I’m the freshman. Straight out of the classroom, I had never worked in a Museum before, let alone the museum of all museums – Te Papa! And, before I allow my initial insecurities to this role permeate through, I’ll exercise my growth mindset and allow myself to speak of my sweetness! I have been a mother for over 50% of my 35 years of existence, I have rousied in a shearing gang, been the annoying lady at KMart who asks you to buy a Pixifoto sitting – that you may or may not have showed up to. I’ve milked cows, I still consider myself to be a musician, and I’m about to bring my 5th ray of sunshine into this world! I know, I know…. I had you at Pixifoto lol.

I first heard about Julie Noanoa, the current sole-educator at Tairāwhiti Museum, by way of email introduction. She’s a graduate, teacher trained, and a mother (bonus!). She’s also ex-educator at Te Pātaka and Te Papa. I only know what I know but I am sure there is an impressive CV to boot. But, getting to the nitty gritty…

Pania & Julie

Pania & Julie

We needed to meet – kanohi ki te kanohi. We had met over cellular frequencies and I immediately knew that we spoke the same languages! We spoke English, Māori, how to engage Māori, and what we want and don’t want in a Museum generated education plan targeting Māori speaking tamariki.

I needed to see an established model of successful engaging programmes that I could use to guide my planning process here at Te Papa. I have planned maniacally according to curriculums of all-sorts over the past 7 years, so that was not the hard part. I wanted to view in action the way someone did it successfully in the museum context. I have an amazing team of learning innovators that I work with at Te Papa, but Julie had proven to engage a Māori audience – with 80% of the museums attendance being Māori children = SUCCESS.

Julie wanted to ask me questions regarding the journey – New ways of working (NWOW) – here at Te Papa. Perhaps I would also be able to assist with meeting local iwi Rongowhakaata in a whakawhanaungatanga/building relationships aspect. They are to be our new iwi in residence come 2017. She also wanted to know whether I had ideas that could contribute to upcoming programmes for the local projects taking place. Me? Ideas? Sure! Timing was surely a thing of divine intervention as it just happened that a design team from Te Papa were there also working on an upcoming exhibition. I managed to sit in.

In a nutshell, the upcoming blogs will give greater light to what went on! Was it successful? Did I achieve what I set out to do? What were some potential pathways of learning? Yes to come!

Moral of this initial blog?

  1. Not trying to invent the wheel by realising that you know where you are going, if you know where you’ve been!
  2. Learning from those who have been in your shoes. Literally the best form of professional development. Someone who knows the ins and outs, highs and lows of your job! Also, kanohi ki te kanohi enhancing the relationship and further consolidating an emerging trust level.
  3. Targeting an area that shares your demographical target audience – In this case, a predominantly Māori audience. Tried and tested methods which will feature in up-coming blogs.
  4. Realising a potential win/win situation when it’s staring you in the face a.k.a quid pro quo! Again, in the ‘coming soon’ category.

2 Responses

  1. Craig Turvey

    …and it was just as cool bumping into a Te Papa educator at Tairawhiti ! ….. sharing the whakaaro – yay!

    Reply

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