Experiencing the power of whanaungatanga

  • My parents have been there for me, my sister, my whole family. They push me, tell me: “Go out do something with your life” - something that they couldn’t do when they were younger. Financially, it’s taken a toll - Mum and Dad having to work nonstop. They’ve been there for me and also with my grandparents and uncle and aunties who’ve also supported me. They’ve sacrificed a lot for me to achieve. There are teachers at the school who are quite good at helping us as well. Definitely exposed me more to Māori culture, so I can put that towards my work. They have high expectations for me.

  • It means getting rid of the idea that Māori, Māori youth in particular, aren’t really worth much. By achieving, succeeding, and enjoying, we’re a lot better than people think. We might even be better than everyone else because we can actually relate to each other. We have this whānau culture that supports us. It’s not about the individual. It’s katoa (all). Everyone’s there.

  • It doesn’t matter what skin colour you are, or where you’re from. There are different protocols and things you have to follow, but it’s still the same - you still belong to one big family.

  • No matter where you go, you have whānau. No matter if you’re related to them or not, you’ve always got people there. Other Māori people are always going to support you and help you out if you need it. And yeah, it’s just a really good feeling of, like, having family just everywhere.

  • If you’re struggling with anything at all, even if it is social or anything to do with school, teachers always have your back. They’re not afraid to step out of the box for inspiration; they’re always there. I’ve heard of Māori students coming back to our school and asking for help.

  • Matua is one of my biggest helpers for my academic side of things. He’s pushed me to go harder and to do Māori, and to put te reo Māori into my everyday life - instead of just using it in class.

  • My parents - they always push me, my brother and my sister to do what we can do and to always do our best.

  • My parents, they didn’t get the chance to go to uni and all that stuff, so they want me to succeed as much as I can, and they support me every step of the way. I know that everyone is supporting me, I know everyone’s behind me. It’s a really good feeling to know I can succeed and people are always looking out for you. That’s pretty cool.

  • Coming from a kura kaupapa into the Bilingual school or the English school, you feel like you don’t know anything because you haven’t been taught in that way. You kind of put yourself down, and you’re insecure about your education. But being in the school that we are, and having the kind of people that really encourage us, we’ve begun to feel special again - and in our own Māori way as well. I really like that.

  • There was this one time where I got a Not Achieved and my mum said: “Go back to that teacher go and ask her for a re-assessment”. I was like, “Oh no Mum, nah.” And she was like, “If you don’t, I’ll go see that teacher.”

  • She is the type of person who really pushes you to achieve excellence.

  • The most influence I’ve had would be from my kapa haka (Māori cultural performance) tutors. They work hard every day of their lives and they lead great lives. They showed me that I can achieve anything I want to achieve.

  • The teachers made me realise that I should stay at school and not drop out. Giving me belief in myself means that I stayed and I succeeded.

  • When you’re doing kapa haka you have a lot of connections and relationships. It means I have friends and family around me, helping me along the way to university, helping with curriculum stuff.

  • We’re working closely with the community, with the local marae who are hosting NCEA information evenings.

  • To me, my biggest success in school is finding a family. Having a family within the school and finding my place within that.

  • It’s the massive support network that I have. There’s my family and then my whānau class at school.

  • They’re just always pushing me to do better and to strive for the best. They always have your back through everything.

  • My dad, he’s probably my biggest critic, but he’s like my biggest fan at the same time. He’s always there for me, always telling me what I can do, and he’s just always supporting me. Same as my mum. When it comes to school, she’s the one that’s making sure I do my homework and have everything done on time.

  • My number one supporter is my mum. She has been there since day one. She knows what I want to do, and how she can help me. My two older sisters, they’re there when I need advice and when I just need anything. Whaea at school, she’s helped me with everything. When I need anything, she’s always there. Our principal, she’s like my mentor. She’s somebody I can talk to and she’s really good friends with my mum.

  • If you’ve got great support around you, it’s all going to happen.

  • All of the boys that take Māori have been a huge support for me. When we went down to Porirua for Manu Kōrero, we took all of the senior Māori boys and a few of the junior Māori boys. They did a haka tautoko for me up on stage, and they were the people that calmed my nerves at my most nervous point, and really made me relaxed and calm.

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