Home-School Partnership: Philosophy

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The Kaupapa or underlying philosophy of the Home–School Partnership programme is based on cultural inclusion and partnership in schools. The programme aims to support, develop, and use the richness and diversity that the many cultures making up New Zealand society can add to our school communities.

The vision of the programme is that all families in the community, including Pasifika and Māori parents and families, will understand that they are the school community and that they will be included and involved in school activities and feel comfortable in their school.

The programme expresses its aims using two well-known whakatauki (or proverbs). Schools could consider both whakatauki while deciding whether to take part in the programme, and the lead teams could discuss them at the start of the first workshop. The team should consider what each whakatauki means to them and share proverbs from their own cultures that have similar meanings.

The central part of the first whakatauki captures the main philosophy of the programme.

He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata!

What is the most important thing in the world?
It is people, people, people!

The second whakatauki points out the importance of partnership – genuine sharing, hospitality, and reaching out to others. Every one of us has treasures to share, and what seems very simple can often be the best treasure of all. Every strand is needed to weave the community basket.

Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi.

With your food basket and my food basket, everyone will have enough.

The complete version of the first whakatauki can be applied to the importance of valuing our children.

Hūtia te rito o te harakeke. Kei hea te kōmako e kō?
Kī mai nei ki ahau. He aha te mea nui ki tēnei ao?
Māku e kī atu. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.

If you were to pluck out the centre of the flax bush, where would the bellbird sing?
If you were to ask me "What is the most important thing in the world?"
I would reply, "That it is people, people, people."

The flax bush is known in Māori as "te pā harakeke", meaning "the family of flax", using "pā" to call up the image of family and whānau. The outer layers of the flax are symbolic of the "outer" members of a family; the inner leaves are symbolic of the parents; and the heart of the flax bush ("rito") symbolises the child, being kept safe and nurtured by the whānau.

When harvesting flax, only the outer layers are harvested, to allow for regeneration of the plant. The whakatauki gives the reason for this – without the child, the family would be without song.