Defining whanaungatanga

At the beginning of our workshops in March we started with an activity that asked participants to talk about a piece of natural material they had brought with them then invited them to weave these together into a collective piece of work. By doing this, we wanted to create a sense of everyone being connected in the workshop for the day, by forming a group, and then hopefully continue that collegiality afterwards.

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Some people mentioned they’d like to unpack the meaning of Whanaungatanga more fully.

The key concepts on the Everything is Connected – Whanaungatanga poster help to establish some understanding of this, in particular the aspects about connecting with others – building/ fostering and maintaining relationships with people. If you would like help unpacking any of these concepts, please ask your facilitator.

The Enviroschool Kit background text in MiME on page 50 explores this along with whakapapa. The Maori dictionary online is also a good source. Maori Dictionary – Whanaungatanga

Tahu Paki explains, whanaungatanga is a big concept and cannot be fully explained with a simple definition, however, he explores the big ideas through the use of whakatauki (proverbs) on the CORE Education blog.

We encourage people to talk to their local iwi and other community members about how they interpret it. Our own world view and values will contribute to how we develop an understanding of this and we encourage you to explore how others see it. If you internet search Whanaungatanga you get some lovely images. Each is different.

Use the Enviroschools activities that explore who your community is and how you can build relationships and work together. Look at page 64 of the Enviroschools Kit and pages 52 to 60 of your Enviroschools Handbook (including a Partnerships Action Learning Cycle) for ideas of how to get started and talk to your facilitator about exploring other possibilities.

Read about how St. Theresa’s Catholic School in Plimmerton, enrich and enhance their core school values with Manaakitanga and Whanaungatanga: St. Theresa’s School Values.

And, please share your explorations with us so we can add them to our blog – remember we are one big community, working toward a sustainable world through people teaching and learning together!


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