Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Principals from Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Tautai o le Moana – Wayfinders of the Ocean is a professional development that focusses on an Inquiry into our educational leadership through a Pacific Lens. A Tautai is a sea captain that can sail in many surf conditions beyond the horizons and is confident to lose sight of land. Someone that can read the winds, the currents, the stars, bird migration and ocean driftwood to know of his/her whereabouts and where to sail. She or he can bring people together, use the strengths of those on board to meet their needs as well as achieve the agreed goals of the expedition. We have used this analogy and pacific understanding to create a programme that focusses on building and strengthening the pasifika capability of Principals who engage and decide to take this journey. This programme was developed in partnership between NZ Pasifika Principals Association (NZPPA), NZ Principals Federation (NZPF) and the Ministry of Education (MOE).

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Stopping at Wairewa Marae 

The programme usually starts with a residential where we bring together all the Tautai Principals and work with them to build a foundation for this journey and to help them prepare a plan for where they wish to voyage. In May we held our first 3 day residential in the Hokianga for principals from Wellington and Auckland. Because of the principals in Dunedin and Christchurch signing up after the main group of Tautai we then held a second residential in Akaroa which is outside of Christchurch. Tautai from Auckland and Wellington who missed the Hokianga residential also joined us.

Wednesday 15th June

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Stopping at Wairewa Marae

Our Auckland and Wellington Tautai flew into Christchurch and travelled over to Akaroa together. On the way we stopped at Wairewa Marae in Little River. Here we were able to admire the amazing 1900 sculpture which is a monument to Tangatahara a great fighting chief of Ngāi Tahu.

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Duvauchelles School

We then stopped in at Duvauchelles School to enjoy the amazing hospitality of the students and their staff. One of their teachers, Brayden Fa’avae, worked with their Principal to host us and for them to share some of the rich history about the school and the area. The food that was provided for us was catered by a local Fijian Family and it was amazing! Because we arrived after the students had left for the day they put together a welcome video for us to watch, which we in turn left one for them.

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Dinner on the first night

After arriving in Akaroa and checking into our accomodation we enjoyed a lovely meal together and we were joined by some of the Christchurch based principals. Then it was an early night in preparation for the arrival of the rest of the Tautai and Day 2 of the residential.

Thursday 16th June

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Akaroa Yacht Club 

hoto: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Akaroa Yacht Club 

Today the rest of our Tautai arrived from Christchurch, Ashburton and Dunedin and joined those that had already arrived at the Akaroa Yacht Club which would be our venue for the next 2 days. On their arrival each Tautai was presented with a traditional Ai Katu (Flower head peace) and Lavalava as a gift for them to use back at their own schools. The day started with a welcome from Geoff Siave (Christchurch based TolM Facilitator) and it was an appropriate and moving way to begin our fono.

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Building the Va
Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Building the Va
Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Building the Va

Session One: Karl Vasau (Auckland based TolM Facilitator) then led a session on “Building the Va” and all our Tautai had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the group which was a great way to begin to build the relationships and trust that is so important on a journey like this. The power of connection when someone shares their name is always something that is powerful and builds the group.

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Helen Varney 

Session Two: Helen Varney (TolM Director) then presented to the Tautai a session on “What is Tautai” which included information on the history, reasons for it being set up, goals and purpose and links to strategic Ministry and Government documents. So many Pasifika Principals and educators have contributed to the programme we run and so we acknowledge them all for their work and vision.

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – “Who are Pasifika”

Session Three: Karl then presented a session on “Who are Pasifika” where the Tautai had the opportunity to unpack exactly what this looks like in Aotearoa. Key questions that were covered were Who/ what are Pasifika? Where are they from? What are the links between Maori and Pacific? Who are the Pasifika children and staff in our schools? and Why are Pasifika important in Education and in NZ?

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Geoff Siave

Session Four: Geoff Siave then presented a session titled “The Real Thing” which focussed on building an understanding that all our Pasifika students, staff and families are unique and different and that its important to understand who they are and the context from which they come from. He also shared with the Tautai a number of amazing publications that would help them build this understanding and help shape a more responsive world view.

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Ula Lole Activity
Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Ula Lole Activity

Session Five: Karl and Sose Annandale (Wellington based TolM Facilitator) then led a team building activity that the Tautai really enjoyed. “Ula Lole – Lolly Necklaces” have become a very important and significant feature when families or communities are thanking or celebrating their people and for a number of schools this is an important way parents acknowledge their children’s achievement. This fun activity is something that all our Tautai could go back to their schools and lead with their staff.

Session Six: The final session of the day was led by Helen and Sose and it was titled “Tautai Journeys, Learnings and Possibilities from the past”. Hearing stories and examples of action and learning of earlier Tautai is something valuable and can help our current Tautai make connections and link their thinking about where they want to go. They were all handed out a copy of the “Wayfinder Way” which is a planning framework that would help them better understand how we encourage our Tautai to unpack their context. Key elements of the framework are:

Reading the signs

Examining & adjusting school structures and processes

Making adjustments

Surfacing tautai and teacher beliefs and changing tautai and teacher mindsets


Valuing and validating Pasifika Learner knowledge, languages, cultures and identities

Drawing on multiple knowledges

Developing reciprocal partnerships with Pasifika families


What are you expecting to grow/ develop/ introduce

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – Visit to the Museum

To finish the day we travelled into Akaroa and visited the Museum and took in more of the local history and amazing stories of how Akaroa came about being. The early French history was something that took us all by surprise and it is definitely a unique feature of Akaroa. Dinner again together was a fitting way to end our day where we continued to build and nurture the Va.

Friday 17th June

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – “Where to Next”

Session One: For the final day of our residential we started back at the Akaroa Yacht Club and Karl led a session on “Where to next?”. It was an opportunity for our Tautai to again unpack the “Wayfinder Way” but also to be introduced to the TolM “Leadership Framework”. The leadership framework has 5 main components that guides the Tautai and helps them build and relate them personally their own contexts:

Alofa/ Ofa – Love: Enacting love and privileging relationships

Tautua – Service: Through example and maintaining your personal identity and integrity as a leader

Vā Fealoa’i – Relationships: Acknowledging the space between us and keeping this space sacred and important

Atamai – Identity: Identity- intrinsic emotional intelligence

Mana Reo/ Mana Tikanga – Linguistic Cultural Revitalization: Understanding Whakapapa and privileging pacific knowledge

Tautai shared where they would like to take TolM in their own schools and some of their key learnings from the 3 days.

Photo: Tautai O Le Moana – Akaroa Residential – “Akaroa Harbour Cruse”

Session Two: Our final activity was to enjoy a boat trip out into the Akaroa harbour to further soak up the history of the area and to catch a glimpse of some of the amazing wild life that make Akaroa their home. We were very fortunate to see fur seals, Albatross and two hectors dolphins. Great way to finish up the residential and further strengthen and develop the relationships between the Tautai.

Overall some amazing time spent with inspirational Principals who are focussed on improving outcomes for their Pasifika students, staff and parents. Im so excited about this journey I am on and I look forward to walking alongside them with my fellow facilitators.