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Professor Alison Jones of the Faculty of Education and Social Work and Vikki Demant, a specialist kapa haka Kaiako in schools across Tāmaki Makaurau, have been teaching Te Akoranga Kairangi: an 8-week course which introduces participants to Māori language pronunciation and tikanga, and a history of Māori-Pākehā relations.

Initially available in 2019 only to academic staff who would be expected to lead the way in integrating learnings from the course in their schools and programmes, it was then expanded to include professional staff in 2020 and 2021. Two administrative staff from the School of Optometry & Vision Science were selected to participate in 2020 and a third is currently undertaking the course in 2021.

Naomi Twigden, one of the SOVS staff on the course, has found it to be an eye-opening experience. “I had no idea New Zealand had a Declaration of Independence before Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Alison has really brought the period to life”, she said. “Vikki and Alison are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic and have been so supportive of us. For the first time in my life, I have been able to develop a pepeha and the confidence to share it. I highly recommend the course to everyone who has the opportunity to take it.”