A3K facilitated course delivers direct behavioural change.
Brian Lowe, manager at Youthline Otago, wanted to breathe new life into their yearly Treaty of Waitangi courses. “After reviewing feedback from the team that the course was too academic and disconnected from their day-to-day work, I couldn’t understand why we weren’t doing the course on the marae,” says Brian, “I’ve visited marae many times and knew it would give the course context and lift spiritual learning.”
He contacted Roera Komene and Michelle Taiaroa-McDonald at A3K and the plans were laid, however it became apparent that other agencies in Dunedin might benefit from the course. “We work really closely with Volunteering Otago, as many of our volunteers come through them, so we ended up ‘co-hosting’ the wānanga together,” says Brian, “We ended up with 50 participants from various local social services. And even though it wasn’t compulsory for Youthline volunteers that had done Treaty Training with us in the past, they all turned up.”
Although this wānanga was a departure from a typical A3K organisational-focused wānanga, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. One participant said it was the first time in 13 Treaty of Waitangi courses they actually took something from it and enjoyed it.
“Another aspect of the day that really stood out to participants was the immense feeling of support and encouragement from Roera and Michelle,” recalls Brian, “often we get feedback that these courses can be a little intimidating but even people that had only just learnt their mihi* a few days before felt supported enough to recite it in front of all those people. It was the first time I’d heard some of my own team recite theirs!”
“This is the first time I’ve noticed real behavioural change in my team after a Treaty of Waitangi course, little things like their willingness to include Maori greetings into their work is a real change for us. We hope to run the wānanga again next year and get even more out of it”, says Brian.
*A mihi is a form of introduction of oneself in te reo.