Climbing into the flax bush - starting your Mana Ōrite journey

Sep 05, 2022

"Mā te whakātu, ka mohio, mā te mohio ka marama, mā te marama ka matau, mā te matau ka ora." 

 "With discussion comes knowledge, with knowledge comes light and understanding, with light and understanding comes wisdom, with wisdom comes wellness."

 Have you had a chance to check out the Mana Ōrite webinar series yet? You can explore a  range of videos, podcasts and downloadable worksheets and resources to spark deeper korero and changes in practice at your kura. The more we talk, the more we can learn. The more we learn, the more we know. And the more knowledge we have, the more light comes in - and the more we will grow through knowing.

This quote from Mere Berryman, Dawn Lawrence and Robbie Lamont also points to the importance of dialogue:

 “Dialogue within responsive pedagogy requires relationships in which risk taking is encouraged, where there is no shame in being a “not knower” and where it is understood that everyone brings with them knowledge, ways of knowing, and experiences of value to share.”

- Cultural relationships for responsive pedagogy: A bicultural mana ōrite perspective. 

The key take-away from this quote is that there is no shame in not knowing - and that it is through korero that we can begin to know and acknowledge ways of knowing. 

This blog post is about feeling brave to start the korero, about feeling brave to ‘clear the undergrowth’ and about recognising that we all have to start somewhere - but we have to start somewhere together. 

Tungia te Ururua, kia tupu Whakaritorito te tupu O te harakeke
Clear the undergrowth so that the new shoots of the flax will grow.

But how can we clear the undergrowth? Where can we start? 

What about if we start by seeing the learner as the centre of the flax bush. As a rito and ngākau, ākonga are protected and surrounded by whānau, elders, teachers and others who can help - and we are not on our journey alone. We are part of the flax bush and we are growing together. We are all just one small part of the flax bush - but it is through working together that we can weave a brighter future for the rito. 

Let’s go to the bottom of the flax bush. Yes, at the bottom of the flax bush it is dark. And we might find some things that need to be cleared away - but we can also see the light of the growing rito. We can agree that the learner needs to be at the centre and we can work together to clear the path for more growth and ongoing korero. The more we talk to people, the more we can let the light in and we can grow stronger together with a rich mātauranga Māori foundation and a new shared understanding.   

Mana Ōrite is an opportunity to grow in a direction that is informed by indigenous knowledge. How can we start clearing the way? How can we start growing? 

We just need to start. 


Here are some pātai to start the discussion:

  • How are we inviting the ‘tanga whānau’ into our practice? (whanaungatanga, manaakitanga, kotahitanga and kaitiakitanga)
  • How can we start our learning design from a mātauranga māori seed?
  • How can we honour the learner and their whakapapa at/as the centre?
  • How can we learn and play together? (ira tākaro, ako)
  • How can we grow quietly and humbly beside each other with shared roles in learning? (whakaaro nui, whakamana, whakaiti)


The first step is working together. We may need to clear some things away before the new shoots will thrive. But we have to start. Together. 


"Mā te whakātu, ka mohio, mā te mohio ka marama, mā te marama ka matau, mā te matau ka ora."



Cultural relationships for responsive pedagogy: A bicultural mana ōrite perspective MERE BERRYMAN, DAWN LAWRENCE, AND ROBBIE LAMONT


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