Tapasā overview

Malo Ni, Kia Orana, Talofa Lava, Malo e lelei, Fakaalofa lahi atu

Tapasā is a tool that can be used to increase the capability of all teachers of Pacific learners.

It was developed by the Ministry of Education through consultation with Pacific teachers, academics, experts, families and communities as part of the Pasifika Education Plan's intention to realise the full potential of Pacific learners. The Teaching Council led the implementation of Tapasā and created resources for teachers' professional learning, including webinars and videos.

Important amendment to Tapasā: reference to Pacific learners' learning style has been removed. Read more about the amendment and update your copy.

Tapasā is a Samoan term, that can be loosely translated as a navigation compass. It can also be referred to as a guide on a journey. It serves a dual purpose - as a guide for teachers to navigate their own journey of becoming more culturally competent and as a symbol of the learning pathway that Pacific learners can undertake. 

Three turu, or competencies, form the basis of the framework.

Turu 1: Identities, languages and cultures

Demonstrate awareness of the diverse and ethnic-specific identities, languages and cultures of Pacific learners.

Turu 2: Collaborative and respectful relationships and professional behaviours

Establishes and maintains collaborative and respectful relationships and professional behaviours that enhance learning and wellbeing for Pacific learners.

Turu 3: Effective pedagogies for Pacific learners

Implements pedagogical approaches that are effective for Pacific learners.

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Tapasā and the Standards for the Teaching Profession | Ngā Paerewa

The Tapasā framework helps teachers to contextualise quality teaching and learning by providing a Pacific lens to the Standards | Ngā Paerewa.

Teachers interpret and refine their own understandings of what each of the Standards | Ngā Paerewa look like in their setting. For many teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand, Tapasā is a key resource for thinking about practice and quality learning for Pacific learners.

In professional growth conversations, Tapasā can be used to discuss the Standards | Ngā Paerewa and teaching practice in relation to outcomes for Pacific learners.

It is expected that the turu of Tapasā is explored collegially through the case studies and guiding questions, to strengthen teachers’ understanding, skills and knowledge when teaching Pacific learners, from early childhood through to secondary schooling.

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Implementation of Tapasā

The Tapasā implementation plan was co-constructed with an Expert Teacher Group. This group:

  • Considered what might be needed to make a cohesive suite of professional learning resources to give life to Tapasā
  • Developed strategies for socialising the framework in a way that is engaging, meaningful and digestible
  • Provided Tapasā as a lens through which to view Our Code, Our Standards  in teaching practice and professional growth processes
  • Analysed and reviewed the implementation plan as it developed
  • Were champions on the ground and used their established networks to assist in socialising and embedding the framework across their settings.

Meet the Expert Teacher Group members

Lisa Seuseu - Centre manager, Punavai o le Atamai, ECE
Lisa is of Samoan heritage and Centre Manager at Punavai o le Atamai preschool, a Pasifika care and education setting in South Dunedin. She has worked in this community alongside faia'oga and fanau for the last 16 years. Recently, Lisa has also been employed at Te Rito Maioha as kaiako of third year akonga delivering the Teacher as Curriculum Inquirer paper. Lisa is currently studying further with a focus on Early Intervention, and is passionate about Pasifika Education and the implementation of Tapasā.

Taime Pareanga Samuel – Early Childhood Education 
An ECE teacher, Taime has served on various Boards and Panels advising on ECE, the Ministry of Pacific Islands Affairs Advisory Group and the Pacific Advisory Group for the Ministry of Education. Taime has been a Board Chair for Flaxmere College for over 20 years and has held positions of President and Secretary for the Cook Islands New Zealand Sports Church and Culture Federation.  In 2009 she was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal.

Roxy Burt -  Head Teacher, Arataki Kindergarten
Currently Head Teacher at Arataki Kindergarten, in Mount Maunganui, Roxy Burt has been involved in Early Childhood education since 1998, and completed her Bachelor of Education at University of Auckland in 2007. She was awarded the Margaret Blackwell Travel fellowship which took her on a journey back to her cultural roots in Vanuatu where she explored language learning, wellbeing and happiness in relation to Te Whaariki. She is passionate about ensuring that Pasifika children and families have access to learning spaces where identity, language and culture are at the heart of teaching and learning.

Sepora Mauigoa – Principal at Glendene School
Active principal at a primary school in Auckland, with 60% Pacific learners. Sepora completed her Master's in Educational Leadership in 2014 with a thesis entitled Improving Pasifika achievement: Pasifika teachers’ expectations, experiences and perceptions of primary school leadership.

Phonderley Siohane – Deputy Principal, New Windsor School
Phonderley has over 30 years of teaching experience – the past 20 years as deputy principal at three schools. She is currently Associate/Deputy Principal at New Windsor Primary School in Auckland. Her many roles within Pasifika leadership include being an active member in her village, Hakupu Atua in Niue. Phonderley is currently a member of the NZEI Te Riu Roa National Executive.  She is also a member of the NZEI Pasifika Leadership Caucus. Phonderley contributed to an early draft of the Tapasā document.

Helen Varney – Principal, Target Road School
Current president of the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association, and member of the New Zealand Pasifika Principals Executive, Helen won a Principals sabbatical report award in 2017 and completed a report that focused on how to grow schools' capacity in culturally responsive teaching practices and pedagogies to support acceleration of learning for priority and target learners. 

Malia Tuala – Cluster Manager, Resource Teacher Learning and Behaviour (RTLB)
The only Pasifika cluster manager in the RTLB service, Malia set up the Pasifika RTLB community of practice to connect many of the clusters in Auckland together. One of the goals of this community is to look at Tapasā and support RTLB colleagues to be competent with Pacific learners. Malia is a member of the NZ Pasifika Principals Association and the board chair of Ranui School in West Auckland.

Dr Martyn Reynolds – Specialist Classroom Teacher, Wellington College
Recipient of a TeachNZ award to pursue his PhD, awarded last year. Dr Reynolds’ thesis investigated the conflicts between Pacific theory and methodologies and Western educational contexts, with a view to improving policy, practice and outcomes.

Lui Lorenc-Lafou - Teacher of History and Religious Studies - Bishop Viard College
Lui is of Samoan and Tokelauan heritage and currently teaches at Bishop Viard College in Porirua. He grew up in New Zealand, Samoa and Tokelau and has since taught in each of these countries. Lui has been teaching at Bishop Viard College since 2011 teaching History and Religious Studies and is the Whanau Leader for Years 9 and 10. He is part of the STARS programme run by the Graeme Dingle Foundation at BVC and has been a member of the Northern Regional Polyfest committee for the Porirua colleges since 2012. He has been involved in the development and implementation of the Tokelau curriculum (2005-2008), the Pacific People's Consultancy Group at Massey University (2009-2011), the Pasifika Strategy Working Group, Faculty of Education VUW (2011) and the Kids Voting Advisory Group, Electoral Commission (2011).

Myra Fidow – Senior Dean, Marian College
Myra is of Niuean descent and brings 18 years of teaching experience in secondary schools in Auckland and Christchurch, teaching Te reo Māori, Mathematics and Religious Education. She is currently teaching at Marian College in Christchurch as the Years 12 and 13 Dean providing pastoral and academic support to senior students, including Pasifika students and their fanau. She also has two teenage daughters who are of Niuean and Samoan descent and are active Pasifika students at Marian. Myra is a past recipient of a Teachers Study Award to commence a Master of Education Degree and is completing a research thesis on the impact of NCEA assessments on second language learners of Te reo Māori. 

Dagmar Dyck, Arts and Technology Teacher, Sylvia Park School
Dagmar is an Auckland-based teaching artist.  Her arts practice spans more than 20 years and she has exhibited her work extensively in New Zealand and around the globe. Since completing her Graduate Diploma in Teaching in 2009 Dagmar has merged her skills and is passionate about empowering her students through the platform of the arts at Sylvia Park School.  Recently she has led a 3-year Teacher Led Innovation Fund project, Teaching Past the Frangipani, that raises issues around relevant Pasifika arts resourcing and presence within the framework of the national curriculum. Dagmar is the recipient of a Teacher Study Award Sabbatical and will complete her Master's degree in Education in 2019 at the University of Auckland. Dagmar’s maternal lineage hails from the Wolfgramm and Hemaloto kainga and the village of ‘Utungake, Vava’u, Tonga. Her paternal lineage includes Dutch, Polish and German ancestry and links to her father’s birthplace in Gdansk, Poland.  

Dr Cherie Chu – Pacific Education Lecturer, Victoria University of Wellington (VUW)
Cherie has a particular research interest in mentoring and leadership in Pasifika contexts. She has been involved in delivering leadership training for VUW Pasifika students, including New Zealand Agency for International Development scholarship students. She has extensive networks with Pasifika students and staff in tertiary education, and she convenes a leadership network and leadership cluster group for Pasifika students. Cherie presents at national, regional and international forums on leadership development for emerging Pasifika leaders.

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