Thursday, October 2, 2014


Recently I was working in Auckland with several childcare centres. Working away from home, Tauranga, always presents different challenges.  Finding my way around the city, tackling the motorway traffic and being in a place where I don’t see anybody I know.

The week started with an evening workshop and many of the teachers attending were coming straight from work after a long day. Catherine the owner of a St Heliers centre had offered to host the workshop.  When I arrived Catherine had organised food to feed us all - tasty quiches, salads and beautiful breads.  It was an absolute banquet.  Catherine’s kindness and generosity was amazing.

The following day I visited a centre in the morning and had arranged to meet with Judy at a centre in the heart of the city as soon as I had finished at the first centre.  When I arrived Judy had ensured that there was lunch waiting for me which included a lovely flat white coffee.

I came away from Auckland confident the that values of manaakitanga are alive and well in Auckland early childhood.  Manaakitanga is described as hospitality, kindness, generosity - the process of showing respect, generosity and care for others.
Tataiako Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners (New Zealand Teachers Council, 2011)  set the standard for centre leaders as:  they support staff to provide a respectful and caring environment.

These two leaders certainly lead by example when thinking about generosity and care of nga manuhiri to their centres. For me early childhood has always been about creating strong relationships with everyone within the sector, sharing information, resources and time - it is a heart commitment.  I meet many wonderful teachers and leaders while I was visiting but Catherine and Judy exemplified the heart felt commitment to manaakitanga.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Kindness at it's best!

What can you say? This little girl's expression
 tells a thousand words.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Friendship that endures

About a year ago I mentioned to my fellow ELP facilitators that I was considering doing a skydive.  Maybe the question was raised why or as my brother put it why would you want to jump out of a perfectly good plane.  Well actually I hate flying and better out of the plane than in it, I think.
The idea to  skydive had been sparked by a conversation that I had with the grocery delivery man.  He was in his late twenties - full of enthusiasm and willing to give life ago.   He had traveled,  worked at many different jobs, had wonderful life experiences and was passionate to keep finding new challenges in his career and sporting life.  His get up and go attitude spoke volumes to me - so the idea was birthed.  My question was what could I do that pushed me well out of my comfort zone.  With a fear of heights and planes skydiving certainly fitted the bill.
Back to the ELP facilitators and their thoughts - well - encouraging yes, that's the way it is within ELP we would always encourage one another to follow our dreams and aspirations, supportive yes but strangely enough no one wanted to join me.  After our meeting had finished I was driving back to Tauranga and I got a texted from Gill.  I cannot remember her exact words but it was something like, "I will". 
Well that had cemented the idea  - we were going to skydive.  It seems like a long time ago now that we first agreed, but finally the day arrived and we jumped.  Both of us incredibly fearful of heights and me particularly worried about planes but it was a matter of feeling the fear and doing it anyway.
When we met our skydiving partners (tandem dive) they asked if Gill and I were friends or was this a team building effort.  I replied well the skydive was my idea so I guess we will see if we are still friends after today's jump.  Gill and I both loved the experience so needless to say we are still friends and work colleagues.
It was the kindness of Gill in joining with me and facing our fears together that made the day so extraordinary.  I am not sure if I would have been brave enough to go it alone.  I think we both felt like we had conquered the world last Saturday, we had certainly conquered our fear.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

How to Enjoy Life

"The best portion
of a good life is the little nameless
unremembered acts of kindness and of love"
                                                                     -William Wordsworth
illustration by Cate Edwards

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

365 Thankyous

Ever wondered where the equivalent tradition of simple gratitude has gone? Sometimes in our busy day and age we forget how the act of thanking someone in return can actually mean the world to people. ‘365 Thank Yous’ tells the heart-warming true story of John Kralik, who in his early 50s believed he was failing in all aspects of life, love, health and work but turned it all around in one year all due to two words: “Thank You”.
Gratitude is the gift that keeps on giving, and Kralik was one who definitely discovered its true importance. He wrote one Thank you letter for every day of the year starting in 2008, and managed to gain friendships, heal a dying relationship, raise money and pay off debts, become closer to his family and change his entire perspective of life simply through his many notes, described as an ‘anthology of gratitude’ in the book.
His beautifully simple and caring notes are scattered through the book and readers get to have a close insight into how friendships can grow through small, kind actions. Even after the year of thank yous, Kralik has not stopped sending out his little messages of gratitude as he knows now how much they have changed his life forever.
This book is one well-worth reading and tells an incredible story which will give hope to those in need of a little happiness. As quoted from Kralik: “Until you learn to be grateful for the things you have, you will not receive the things you want. Human caring stands out as a unique and invaluable treasure”. Take a note from his book, and write a Thank you note to someone who has been kind to you; it is a simple act of kindness and you never know what happiness it will bring to you and others.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A Surgeon's Act of Kindness

I saw this on Facebook posted from the Born This Way Foundation 27/9/13.

Meet 9 year old Joshua. He recently had to join for surgery and was so nervous that he brought along his stuffed wolf. The wolf had a tear in it's leg, so Joshua asked if his doctor could do wolf surgery too. His parents said "No".

But when they walked into the recovery room to see their son they discovered the little wolf laying next to him; this time, with a surgical mask, a little cast and surgery quality sutures in his leg.

We think the entire surgical staff deserves some serious respect and love for this act of kindness.
I agree.