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.