Enviroschools Regional Coordinators and the national Enviroschools/Toimata Foundation team gathered at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay, Wellington in October. Given the challenges of 2020 it was heart-warming to have an opportunity to meet face to face/ kanohi ki te kanohi.
Our group was welcomed onto the Home of Compassion grounds though a beautiful whakatau with mana whenua and came together as a whole through a whakawhanaunga session. We set the scene of the hui by acknowledging the nationwide network that celebrates our regional partners, the roles and people involved.
A puna mātauranga representing the significant work carried out in the Toimata Year of Space in 2019, and different kōrero and hui from the past year allowed participants to see and be reminded of progress made. These threads included the previous RC Hui held at Waitetuna in 2019, the visions and thoughts from the national Enviroschools Zoom Energiser hui (in April 2020 during Covid 19 lockdown), and the progress made with key aho/threads from the nationwide Future Focus project: Professional Development and Learning, ECE sector strategy and focuses, Communications developments and Secondary focus.
Those attending the hui heard about the current statistics gathered from regions to understand the current investment in our kaupapa. Each Regional Coordinator provided an update of Enviroschools mahi in their place.
Laying all these threads down enabled us to move forward together into more in-depth wānanga sessions – The Shape of Enviroschools, Māori Perspectives, and Organisational Model and Roles. The puna mātauranga was added to throughout the three days and to help guide our wānanga we created some icons that followed on from the Waitetuna hui garden analogy using apples, bees and tui to capture ideas, insights and inspiration. The group continued to explore options and aspirations for reshaping Enviroschools in response to our growing network, issues of capacity and demand, collaboration and a desire to strengthen partnerships with mana whenua.
Regional Coordinators got a peek at the possibilities around an online facilitator training programme and a coaching/mentoring offering. They also had an opportunity to find out more about the Enviroschools ECE strategy recently completed and an update from the Secondary working group.
Our website and social media channels have been key in telling our stories, and regions were invited to share more of their work through these mechanisms with the help of the national team. These have proved to be a great way of reporting to partners and communities.
One aspect of these annual gatherings is to connect or reconnect with those around the motu engaging with their Enviroschools facilitators and communities. It allows for informal note swapping, affirmations, and some great belly laughs. Good food and a peaceful setting add to the value of these hui.
In closing this hui participants expressed gratitude for having the time to hear different perspectives and space to delve deeply into aspects of our kaupapa, helping to shape a future.
“Great to talk about lots of areas where I have challenges, and giving space to talk about them. Already have ideas to take on board so feel excited and inspired. Liked the opportunity on the last day to have a space to talk about topics which emerged from the first two days.”
“Lovely to connect face to face. Great venue and kai. Rich discussions, great to work in small groups. Would have liked to have reached more tangible actions however look forward to April. Professional Devt framework and fabulous start and ECE offerings. Thank you everyone.”
“Loved the hui! Great to be in a space that is calm, welcoming and full of aroha. Enjoyed the sessions and the future looks exciting! It’s always good to use these hui reflect and reset. Aroha”
Banner image: Participants coming together through a whakawhanaunga session.