Tautai O Le Moana – Hokianga Residential

Photo: Tautai at Waitangi Treaty Grounds – Cultural Performance

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), NZPF and the MOE.

Photo: Members of the NZPPA with Principal of Kohokohu School – Junior Sa

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. Due to covid we have had like many other things interruptions in our plans and so finally we were able to hold the Residential Fono for our 2021 and 2022 Tautai cohorts in the beautiful Hokianga and this ran from 9th – 11th May 2022. Principals from Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland participated in this 3 day residential and it was a perfect way to start their journey.

Monday 9th May

Photo: Tautai at Waitangi Treaty Grounds – Museum Tour

Photo: Tautai at Waitangi Treaty Grounds – Museum Tour

Photo: Tautai at Waitangi Treaty Grounds – Museum Tour

Day one saw all our participants fly into Kerikeri and from here our first activity was to travel together to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and immerse ourselves in the history of Aotearoa and to connect with key events and understandings of the place we all call home. We were given a private guided tour and it was a great opportunity for our Tautai to reflect on their own stories and links to local iwi in their communities and to build a stronger picture of what it means to be Maori.

Photo: Tautai at Waitangi Treaty Grounds – Building Relationships – Who are we?

While at the Treaty grounds we also took the opportunity to began to build relationships of trust, respect and aroha amongst the group. It’s important that on this journey with Tautai that participants understand that we are stronger together and that our combined knowledge, history and experiences will be something that will strengthen us all.

Photo: Tautai dinner at the Opononi Pub

Photo: Tautai sunset view from The Copthorne Hotel – Opononi

For some it was a very long day of travel to reach Kerikeri and so after the journey to our accomodation (Copthorne in Hokianga) it was nice to share a meal together and to further connect and build relationships.

Tuesday 10th May

Photo: Tautai morning reflection and devotion – The Copthorne Hotel 

Photo: Ala’imalo Falefatu Enari – MC

This day was planned as a day of sharing stories and building on prior knowledge of our Tautai and this was held at the Copthorne in Hokianga. The day started with the opportunity for our Tautai to focus themselves on the environment they were in and the importance taking the time to focus on themselves. Our MC Ala’imalo Falefatu Enari (Co-Principal PASS Academy Otahuhu) was a key factor in this and found ways constantly throughout the Fono to bring together the group and help us unpack and building our knowledge baskets. This day was designed for our Tautai to listen to Pasifika Principals sharing their stories and knowledge

Photo: Tautai Talanoa during Filivaifale Jason Swann’s presentation

Filivaifale Jason Swann, the former Principal of Otahuhu Primary School and now the current Te Tai Raki Northern Director of ERO. His current role covers the area from Pukekohe to Kaitaia, and encompasses a third of kura, early childhood and other learning environments in Aotearoa New Zealand. Jason was also the former President of NZPPA and was pivotal the the setting up and development of Tautai O Le Moana. The main points I took from his talk were:

  • The setting up of Tautai o le Moana was set up and supported based on the vision, mission and values of NZPPA

  • Principals and leaders need to be welcoming of the “uncomfortable silence”  

  • Encouraged Principals to Read Tapasa, The Action Plan for Pacific Education, ERO Pacific Strategy because these documents will help you

  • We will not follow a narrative that we are not comfortable with – ok to write the book as we go … if you start losing sight of the land you are starting to write the book 

  • Tautai – Sea Captain/ School Captain – coordinate the strengths of my team to ensure we were successful – create opportunities for all of us to be better 

  • Flip the script! – come from a strength based position – glass ceiling on potential

  • Pacific young people are already master navigators

  • Anyone can lose trust in an instant – gain trust over time

  • Be a visible leader, often praise, it’s ok to be vulnerable, we always have school and community champions, it’s ok to fail or make mistakes – a great learning opportunity, don’t be afraid to be the first, Listen to understand

  • Children are not the future, they are the now.

Photo: Tautai Talanoa during Taitu’uga Geoff Siave’s presentation

Taitu’uga Geoff Siave whose talk was titled “The Real Thing”. Geoff was up till very recently the Principal of Shirley Intermediate in Christchurch and has been a principal in NZ, Chatham’s and Samoa over a span of 30 years. He currently is a Facilitator for Tautai O Le Moana and is supporting the Principals in the South Island. Geoff shared his amazing story and journey and opened up to the group about his battle with identity and navigating this world in his unique way. Here are some of the main points I took from his very emotional and honest presentation:

  • It is important to incorporate the Tautai O Le Moana framework in all we do: Reading the Signs/ Making Adjustments/ Recalibrating/ Drawing on Multiple Knowledges/ Taking Action

  • Who are you? What makes you you?

  • “I am Samoan – but not a Samoan, To my aiga in Samoa, I am palagi, I am a NZder, but not a NZder to NZders, I am a bloody coconut, at worst a Pacific Islander, at best to my Samoan parents, I am their child (Melani Anae)

Photo: Tautai Talanoa during Fa’atili Iosua Esera’s presentation

Fa’atili Esera Iosua is currently the Principal of Sutton Park School and has been a principal in NZ since the 1980’s. The way he presents his knowledge, opinion, experience and understanding of things bilingual is something that our NZPPA and Tautai find thought provoking and inspirational. Faatili’s presentation was titled “Language, Culture, Identity” and here are his main points:

  • Is learning the core business of your school and is it accessible by all?

  • We sometimes gain learning at the expense of who we are

  • Learning or mastering first language helps with english

  • They are not illiterate just because they cant speak english 

  • The use of another language to bridge the gap

  • Its a privilege to learn in 2 languages 

  • Do you see the children in your school as part of your family

  • Do children need permission to be themselves …

  • Leadership – Servant Leadership – you can’t do everything by yourself 

  • A waka needs all on board to be performing in order for it to reach its destination

Photo: Tautai Talanoa during Sepora Mauigoa’s presentation

Sepora Mauigoa is the current Principal of Glendene School and currently works 0.2 as a facilitator for Tautai O Le Moana. Her presentation titled “Upu” was an amazing sharing of what lessons and knowledge she took from her upbringing and things that her family hold dear. She made some amazing comparisons with what she learnt from her upbringing and culture and how these can apply to her leadership of her school. Here are her main points from her presentation:

  • Upu means word in Samoan

  • What do you call your child at home? is a question schools should ask alongside the name parents put down on their enrolment forms.

  • The chance to vote didn’t come easily

  • (Hau’ofa, 2008) “The ocean connects us all rather than separates us”

  • F Words – Faamaoni – Finish it … Fealofani – get along and fun … Faamalosi – be strong …. Faamagalo – Forgiveness clear you up to move on … Faagalo – put aside and carry on …. Faaloalo – respect …. Faatino – putting your words into actions

  • Ekalisia – Church … Aiga – Family …. Nuu – Village …. Aganuu – Traditions

  • Faatino Alofa – Showing love in actions

  • Tautua – Service

Photo: Tautai Talanoa during Sose Annandale’s presentation

For the final session of the Day Sose Annandale, former Principal of Russell School and current Tautai Facilitator based in Wellington, facilitated group Talanoa where Tautai from 2020 and 2021 shared elements of their journey thus far to inspire and motivate the 2022 cohort. Inspirational and courageous.

Photo: Tautai Manea – Footprints of Kupe Trip

In the evening our whole group enjoyed a trip to Manea – Tapuwae a Nuku – Footprints of Kupe. It is a 75-minute multi-sensory journey of guided storytelling – through art, taonga (cultural treasures), film, performance, digital interaction and the splendour of Hokianga’s natural surroundings. We were also spoilt with a yummy Hangi meal to help us further connect with the experience. The tour is divided up into 3 parts: 

  • Whakapapa / Connect … Engage in stories about our ancestors and the ancient realms of Kupe, told through carvings and the surrounding land. Deepen your understanding of Māori customs and our dynamic connections to the natural and spiritual world.
  • Ruku / Immerse … On your arrival at the Manea whare taonga (house of treasures), our people welcome you with the timeless cultural ceremony of pōwhiri. You now enter the Manea theatre, where a 20-minute 4D-digital extravaganza and live performance immerses you in a full sensory recreation of the rich and vibrant world of the intrepid adventures of Kupe. You appreciate in a new way the extraordinary feats of our ancestors’ ocean voyaging.
  • Toro / Interact … From the theatre, your guide will lead you outside to absorb the full significance of the Hokianga harbour and our story. This was not only where Kupe made his home, but also his final departure point from this land. You can now continue your journey of discovery at your leisure in the Footprints of Kupe Interactive Gallery, where digital stations reveal more details of our ancestor’s story.

Photo: Tautai Manea – Footprints of Kupe Trip

Photo: Tautai Manea – Footprints of Kupe Trip

Photo: Tautai Manea – Footprints of Kupe Trip

Photo: Tautai Manea – Footprints of Kupe Trip – Hangi Time

Wednesday 11th May

Photo: Tautai Final day Talanoa – Where to Next?

All good things come to an end and for us this 3 day journey was filled with laughter, stories, learning and alofa. Before we left The Copthorne Hotel we spent some time up-packing the past 3 days and preparing to look into the future and the possibilities of where this could go next. Tautai had the opportunity to share with each other some of their key learnings and also about possible actions moving forward.

Photo: Tautai Rawena – Boat Ferry to Kohukohu

Photo: Tautai Rawena – Boat Ferry to Kohukohu

Photo: Tautai Rawena – Boat Ferry to Kohukohu

We loaded up the vans and headed to Rawene to enjoy this landmark of the north and to prepare to catch the car ferry over to Kohukohu. Recently Kohukohu School appointed a new Principal and Junior Sa is an Aucklander of Samoan descent. It was important for our Tautai to see that connections and support comes in many different forms and that for us as members of NZPPA it was important to show our pride, support and alofa for junior in his new role.

Photo: Tautai Kohukohu School 

Photo: Tautai Kohukohu School 

Photo: Tautai Kohukohu School 

Photo: Tautai Kohukohu School 

Photo: Tautai Kohukohu School 

Photo: Tautai Kohukohu School 

His beautiful school welcomed us with a Whakatau and we really felt the aroha for our group. We spent some time interacting with the students and staff and then shared a beautiful meal together before departing for Kerikeri Airport. 

Photo: Tautai Participants enjoying the sun

Photo: Tautai Participants enjoying the sun

One of our guiding documents and processes is our “Wayfinder Way or Framework” and this underpins how we take action towards achieving our set goals with our Tautai. 

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 Kohukohu Township – Hokianga

Photo: Tautai – View from The Copthorne Hotel – Hokianga