Mikaira Pau is a passionate E Tū Whānau advocate who incorporates our kaupapa in all aspects of his daily life.
Mikaira’s turangawaewae is in the far north but these days he lives in Mangere, South Auckland where his children attend the local kindergarten, primary school and college.
“Parents and teachers ask me about E Tū Whānau. When they realise it encourages and supports their own positive values within a Māori kaupapa, they’re in, boots and all,” he says.
Kindergarten promotes whakatauki
Last year his daughter’s pre-school, McNaughton Kindergarten, reproduced the E Tū Whānau whakatauki, ‘Leave big footprints for your children to follow’ and ‘Your ancestors sit on your shoulders to keep your feet on the ground’, in its newsletters.
“The response was great because, as our head teacher pointed out, the messages fit right in with their curriculum. They encourage a sense of security in the tamariki, a sense that they have their tipuna and a whole culture behind them.”
Mikaira was also asked to share the E Tū Whānau kaupapa with pupils at Marcellin College during Te Wiki o Te Reo.
College creates haka
He worked with senior students to write their own haka about the importance of whānau, and with groups of younger tamariki, encouraging them to use everyday greetings in formal and informal situations – all the while emphasising the importance of values like kōrero awhi, whanaungatana and whakapapa.
Building connections at primary school
At Papatoetoe West School, Mikaira was asked to MC and help develop the programme for the Whānau Day they held last October. This year he and Deputy Principal Mary Rahiti, will build on the connections made and kōrero shared at that hui by supporting parents to recognise and use their natural leadership abilities within their community.
“The community I live in is full of wonderful whānau with huge potential with so much to offer and share,” says Mikaira.
“In the end, it’s all about unleashing our potential so that we can make a positive difference in our families and our communities.”