The Rauhuia: Terenga Huihuinga | Symposia Series continues to provide insightful knowledge and examples of how we all have the capacity to be a leader regardless of our title or position. You can find videos of the first four symposia in the series on our website. Our next symposium in the series, Mana o te whenua – Moana, is on Thursday, 24 August. 

In Aotearoa we are privileged to have a growing Pacific Island population that has a wealth of Pacific educators and akonga. Our schools and early learning centres are places where Pacific pedagogies and knowledge should be valued and embraced. Our presenters, Michelle Johansson and Melanie Cottingham will share their thoughts on how we can connect with other leaders and traverse the vast oceans between our unique contexts in education.    

Our upcoming online Rauhuia Terenga Huihuinga | Symposium on Thursday, 24 August at 4.00pm-5.30pm, explores Pacific Perspectives on leadership. We would love for you to join us. You can sign up for the event at the link below. 

About the Presenters 

Melanie Cottingham.  

Melanie’s passion for Pacific education stems from her education experience. She commenced primary school in Rarotonga, then Wellington. She boarded at a private girls’ college in the Wairarapa and would travel to Tuvalu for Christmas holidays. She attended university, completing her Bachelor of Management Degree, and would travel often to Niue for Christmas holidays.  

Melanie has leadership experience in the public and private sectors, and also tertiary and Primary (Kura  Auraki, Reo Rua and TESOL in Seoul) teaching experience. She is currently completing her Masters.  Melanie is the chairperson of the Pasifika in the Bay Trust in Tauranga Moana. The indigenous Pacific trust delivers programmes to support teachers and senior leadership in early childhood centres and schools to enact the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-2030 and Tapasā: Cultural competencies   framework for teachers of Pacific learners. 

Michelle Johansson 

Michelle is a Tongan mother, theatre-maker and educator. She serves as Kaitiaki at Ako Mātātupu: Teach First NZ, growing exceptional people to teach in low-decile schools. She is Kaiwhakahaere at Māia Centre for Social Justice and Education and the Creative Director of the Black Friars. South Auckland, decile-one born and bred, she is proud to work alongside amazing teachers, warriors, storytellers, and change-makers to re-story Pasifika in the largest Polynesian city in the world, to activate indigenous knowledges, to grow future leaders, and to hold courageous spaces for our young people to walk tall in all of their worlds. 

Here is a schedule of the remaining symposia for the year that including links where you can register for each event. 

Mana o te whenua – Awa: Thursday 26 October 

Exploring Māori perspectives on leadership. How we engage and learn in our unique contexts to grow our own community network of leaders. 

Mana o te whenua - Ahi Kā: Thursday 23 November 

How we keep the home fires burning for future generations of leaders. Exploring concepts of intergenerational knowledge, future-focused education, and clearing a path to the future.