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 “The system says to kids you are successful if you get NCEA level 2… My kids know their pepeha, that’s success. How do you tip it on its head so other measures of success underpin everything?”

“The core values of the system that discriminates against our kids have been normalised by leadership in the sectors.”

Are these areas important to you?

  • General support for the areas
  • Some concern about the difficulty of tackling racism and where to start. Some teachers felt that if they were to call out racism they would be frowned upon by school management. There are western ways of thinking all through systems e.g. definition of extended family in early learning facilities, some felt that non-Pacific colleagues are always questioning who counts as an extended family member.
  • Concern with the use of ‘ ‘Pasifika’- hides diversity and doesn’t reflect communities
  • Support focus on Pacific languages and bilingualism, particularly because there is a gap between bilingual early learning and schooling
  • There is support for more Pacific teachers (particularly from young people) and teachers and others also want to see themselves reflected in management and leadership (in schools and in society in general). Young people noted their Samoan language class was stopping because the teacher is moving to another school.
  • Acknowledge partnering with families requires a big shift in the system and schools need support and a framework to do this. Parents should be involved in the design of local curriculum but are not given opportunities
  • Some concern about positioning of realm countries as having special status and being prioritised over other groups
  • The Samoan language group of ECE teachers agreed that they are important but said racism is rife and hard to stamp out 

Is there something missing?

  • Missing hard actions and targets to achieve these
  • Add another action point about the responsibility of white/Pākeha/palagi teachers to participate in and value Pacific cultures.
  • Focus on teacher training and education, and workforce development
  • Building relationships
  • Need to reflect specific Pacific identities and not refer to Pacific
  • Tapasā
  • Ethnicity data to show the imbalance of options provided or promoted to our Pacific kids
  • Having a Pacific advocacy in schools, especially in secondary is important
  • Students would like to see a careers day at every year level so they have lots of opportunities to make a connection with what they want to do
  • The Samoan language group of ECE teachers wanted equal pay and better status for teachers and felt strongly that we cannot get more Pacific teachers if IELTS is still a barrier 

What would you change about these areas?

  • Include more actions and examples of how to achieve these changes
  • When talking about valuing cultures, be explicit about valuing the diversity of cultures
  • Change wording to deliver support rather than target support and another suggestion that target support has negative connotations, so frame it as ‘maximise opportunities’
  • Change wording to be “Broaden the education system’s definition of success” rather than “Change”
  • Valuing Pacific cultures is a positive solution to eliminate racism
  • Don’t use Pacific as a short cut – “I go back to Samoa, I don’t go back to the Pacific” – instead could say “ethnic cultures of the Pacific” but operationally recognise individual culture
  • The Samoan language group of ECE teachers emphasised the importance of language and culture, want programmes for parents to support them and want non-Pacific teachers and children to have a better understanding of Pacific cultures 

What other questions do you have?

  • Questions about how to achieve these changes, what is the Ministry doing to achieve this
  • How do we look after our wellbeing when calling out racism and discrimination?
  • Why are we not funding or resourcing Pacific bilingual education?
  • How do we make these changes and focus areas personal and meaningful for all people, how do people see themselves in these?
  • How do we bring about more Pacific teachers, i.e. IELTs requirements?
  • How do you shift the minds of people who deny racism exists?
  • How does the Pacific Education Plan align with the Ministry strategies?
  • The Samoan language ECE’s do not use English, so why would we have English requirements?

Most common indicators of success (in order)

  • Pacific learners and their families feel accepted and included
  • There is a strong relationship between Pacific families and places of education
  • Pacific learners can learn about their culture and heritage
  • Pacific learners and their families are free from racism and discrimination in education
  • There are no financial barriers to accessing education for Pacific learners and families
  • Pacific learners with disabilities achieve and make progress in education
  • Pacific learners’ faith and beliefs and culture are valued in education
  • Pacific learners’ names and pronouns are used correctly
  • Pacific learners can learn in their language through their education

Porirua Pan Pacific Fono Summary [PDF]