As a school in Aotearoa (New Zealand), we have a bi-cultural commitment. It is expected that as professionals, we “understand and recognise the unique status of tangata whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand.”
Our school Tikanga is aligned with Māori Tikanga therefore:
- We ask children not to sit on tables – this is because food may be eaten at the table
- We don’t put hats or bags on tables – again, this is because food can be eaten at the tables
- Food is not wasted as part of our inquiry approach- ideally food would be out of date and able to re-purposed/composted at the end of its use. We are mindful of the environmental aspect of using food as part of our curriculum.
- Although this is a busy school, during lunchtimes, we encourage children to be aware of not stepping over lunchboxes or other children whilst they are eating – food is precious and should be treated carefully, it’s not hygienic to walk over food. Heads are also considered to be tapu, sacred, in the Māori culture, as in many other cultures.
In all of our classrooms, we work with students from a range of different cultures and backgrounds. It is important to get to know all of our students and their cultural beliefs, traditions and values so that we can acknowledge them in a culturally responsive way.