Education, Health & Wellbeing, Te Reo Māori

Teachering, Tetrapaks and Tuku Mihi

It’s been a big ol’ year, folks. Anyone else feeling it? It has been a long while since my fingers have graced the wordpress stage, and I’ve missed it. While there have been many passing thoughts and ideas flowing through, I haven’t found the time or the enthusiasm to grasp hold of one and bring it to fruition.

Word of warning, the ducks have nothing to do with this blog; I just spied them on my run yesterday morning and needed a cute featured image xo

The other weekend, I had a extraordinarily ordinary time at my neighbourhood’s annual community fair. By this, I mean that it was beautifully everyday, real people doing cool stuff, kai and kids and crocheters. In spite of the downpour from Ranginui the morning of, we would not be rained off.

It’s oddly compelling, the kinds of everyday chit-chat and connection you can make at these events. Browsing stalls, talking to strangers about not much – usually neither my forte nor my interest – can just feel kind of, lovely?

The many characters:

  • a dopey clown in neon yellow, sending some kids into fits of giggles and others into quiet panic;
  • Come On Eileen, who sold me knits I wanted but didn’t need and is taking my flatmate to the next quilter’s group hui
  • our local MP asking me if I was eighteen (really? sure, i’ll take it)

P.S. no one was more excited than me when I saw a stall selling money pouches upcycled from plant milk tetrapaks. What is this sorcery? And for $1? A dream come true.

Upcycled rice milk tetrapak purse: folded in half to make a pouch, secured with plaited black elastic

If you’re not already connected, I highly recommend you look around your dwelling and see what kinds of community events are cropping up.


The latter half of mahi last week was a whirlwind of professional learning development, with only three days of teaching. Feels weird man, but I love the change of pace when it’s kaiako in a sharing ideas about education and social issues. I feel especially lucky to be part of any kaiako reo Māori-specific hui. It’s always a welcoming place with strong manaaki, passionate people, and the normalising of te reo and ahurea Māori.

Tuku Mihi

For those that don’t know, ‘tuku mihi’ is a common tikanga/practice used in a variety of settings. At its most basic, it acknowledges and uplifts a person through words of affirmation, courage, empathy or praise. It may take place after someone has delivered a talk, performed a karakia, waiata, suffered a loss, organised an event, cooked a meal… the list goes on.

tuku means ‘to release, send, set free, let go, give up’, among other things, and

mihi means ‘greeting, praise, welcome’ or the action of doing these things (n. / v.)

Tuku mihi can be varying degrees of formal or informal, and they don’t have to be fancy. Towards the end of my degree, during our final kōrero assessment, my kaiako encouraged us all to stand to tuku mihi for our peers. She expected all of us to do so at some point in the class, with 2-3 people after each speech, and it was unofficially a part of our mark. While I wanted to, and felt like I should, I psyched myself out and didn’t end up doing so. I had hoped she wouldn’t notice, but she absolutely did. It wasn’t a big deal, but I knew I should have.

Yesterday, at our kura’s PLD, I felt particularly compelled to tuku mihi to the Māori guest speaker we’d had that morning after her kōrero. She was utterly incredible. I wanted to show respect to her and honour tikanga Māori; it felt like the right thing to do. It was nothing fancy, and I didn’t quite say everything I would have liked to, but she was appreciative. As much as I struggle with this tikanga at times – speaking off the cuff is not many people’s fave thing – it is cool reflecting on that progress I have made mentally with it. Probably, being a kaiako helps, as I am far more used to talking in front of a class and adapting as I go. Most importantly, the knowledge that it’s not about you, it’s about them plays a huge part in getting over that mental block.

I’m also kind of a fan girl – I’ve been meaning to read her book. When I got back to my seat later that day she’d left me a signed copy of it?! Very much looking forward to sinking my niho in…

Hei konā e te whānau, let’s hope it’s not another 8 months, nē?


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