Sunday, 23 November 2014

Sharing the Oamaru Cluster's Pasifika Success Story at Canterbury University

Spread the mat....Keep casting the net into deeper waters... Do it from the heart, if it's not from the heart then don't do it....( Tufulasi Taleni's powerful messages to us all )

Tua Misiloi our Board Chairperson and I were privileged to be invited by  Leali'ie'e Tufulasi Taleni, Pasifika Education Facilitator on behalf of the Oamaru Pasifika Cluster to Canterbury University (UC) Christchurch on Friday 21st November. We were asked to present our St Joseph's school successes, highlights and challenges as well as our cluster's story of sustainability to the Pasifika Education Advisory Group and guests at the launch of a new Pasifika DVD education resource. Our experiences were based on the powerful and inspiring professional learning shared with us by Tufulasi Taleni and Janice Tofia during our participation in the Pasifika Success Talanoa Project.

Jenny and Tua during their presentation (Thanks Tufulasi for the photo)
Tua and I represented the 8 schools in the Oamaru Pasifika Cluster ( Oamaru North, Fenwick, Pembroke, Oamaru Intermediate, St Joseph's, St Kevin's College, Waitaki Girls and Waitaki Boys high schools ). Recent figures show that 21% of our schools have Pasifika learners. We are dedicated to supporting our learners to strive to succeed and shine in all that they do by valuing their identities, languages & cultures and creating culturally responsive school environments.
You can learn more about our Pasifika Cluster by going to this link and visiting our blog. Rowan Stringer is the curator of this excellent blog and we thank her for the time she puts into this on behalf of our cluster. Jan Plieger is the enthusiastic Secretary of our sustainability cluster and Tracey Bell is the Chairperson. Thanks to both Jan and Tracy for all of their hard work within our cluster. We meet termly for a fono and a different school hosts the fono as well as shares their learning and progress. The cluster has recently expanded to include participants from RTLB, RTLit, Waitaki Library, Fale Pasifika and the Kindergarten Association ( 4 kindergartens).

Message for us from Tufulasi Talenei
A big fa'afetai (thank you) to you both for your part in the talanoa yesterday – as I said yesterday that during your presentation, I felt quite emotional about hearing your story and the story of your cluster – a very special powerful piece to listen to, everyone felt the same – quite a bit of reflections going on around the room and strongly mentioned your message and how your schools/cluster picking up pieces of the puzzles and weave them together.  The mat is no longer disconnected – you will keep working on as a cluster and keep connecting the mat so that you are all able to sit on it together and around it!
Tufulasi addressing the guest during the launch

Jan – you must be proud of Jenny and Tua, they represented you and your Oamaru cluster well.  Your Oamaru cluster has been one of our success stories, congratulations and thank you for keep spreading your mat and for keep casting your net deeper, the catch is plenty and soon have enough to feed the whole village.  Nothing is impossible as we heard yesterday –  " E o'o lava ile sami sousou e mafai lava ona folauina - even the choppy sea can be navigated'.
 We listened to presentations from the Hornby, Levin, Dunedin, Invercargill & Christchurch East clusters. All of them have made a huge difference in achievement outcomes for their Pasifika learners. We were particularly moved by Rachel King's story from Levin. She spoke passionately about their work. Afterwards, one of the Pasifika elders described Rachel as being a Palagi (European) woman with a Pasifika mind. Rachel would be an excellent person to bring to our Oamaru Cluster and talk as a guest at one of our termly fono (meetings). We will try and organise this for 2015.

The second part of the day was the launch of the new Pasifika DVD Resource called 'Saili Matagi' (seeking the winds). The resource is based around one of the trips to a Samoan Village that Tufulasi regularly organises for teachers and principals to help them become immersed in the Pasifika culture. Gary Roberts, the principal of Hornby School featured in the DVD and was present for the launch along with other staff who were on the trip. The Deputy Principal from St James who also featured in the DVD brought some children along to perform at the launch. This excellent resource will soon be available for schools to purchase. It is a resource that every staff member must view in order to help them have a deeper understanding of their Pasifika learners. As soon as we get the contact details for this resource, we will share these with you.
St James' children performing at the launch
Looking forward to attending the Fiafia Celebration Awards this Friday at St Kevin's College and celebrating the progress and achievement of our Pasifika learners.


  1. Well done Jenny and Tua for representing us so well!!

  2. Thanks Leanne. We felt very proud.