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Te Aoterangi speaks about being a mentor

Te Aoterangi Moore prides himself on knowing his students and seeking ways to extend the skills they bring to kura.  As he often says: “Me mōhio ki ō tauira. Me aroha atu ki ō tauira. Me mōhio hoki koe ki ngā pūkenga ka mauria mai e rātou ki te kura.” This, he believes, is the key to success for his students.  A proud descendent of Ngāi Tūhoe, Te Aoterangi has worked hard to carve his career, one opportunity at a time.  Starting as a kaiāwhina, Te Aoterangi is now a mentor to kaiako who are beginning their career at Te Kura o Matapihi, i Tauranga Moana.


Story photographed by Tyler Dixon 



Te Aoterangi 2



You’ve moved quite rapidly through your career – from kaiāwhina, to PCT and now mentor. What made you take on the role of mentor in your kura?


When I gained full certification, the tumuaki asked if I would like to be the syndicate leader. At the time we had some PCTs start with us, so it just happened naturally. As team leader you take on mentoring and that’s how the role began. 



Te Aoterangi 3



Was it an ambition of yours, or a career goal, to be a mentor?


I knew my tumuaki had seen something in me, something that she thought would benefit others. I actually think that was why I accepted the role. I thought: “oh well, I’ll give this a go.” It’s been a big challenge and a bit of a roller-coaster ride. Now I’m seeing the rewards, with my PCT being in her last term before becoming a fully certificated teacher. I’ve learnt so much from all the professional development hui I’ve attended, learning how to be a mentor and what it means to be an effective mentor. If I hadn’t attended these hui, the challenges would have been quite overwhelming.



Te Aoterangi 4



What are some of the challenges you faced as a mentor?


I think one of the challenges, starting off anyway, is actually understanding what an effective mentor is and understanding the role. To learn and understand what was required of me was a big challenge.  It was important for me to understand the educative way of mentoring, instead of just being a ‘buddy’ and giving bits of feedback or doing observations where nothing was goal orientated. That was a challenge at the start but I was fortunate because senior management brought in support systems for the mentors that helped me gain a better understanding of the ‘educative’ role.


What have been some of the highlights of becoming a mentor?


Hmm ... I think seeing the kaiako grow professionally and seeing how mentoring can strengthen their teaching practice and their confidence.  I remember the difference between day one, when everything was brand new, and now, seeing the confidence, is such a reward. I’d like to think that it’s due to my support, but I couldn’t have done it without the school support system that is in place.  He rite ki te kōrero, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ – it takes the whole kura working together to support their PCTs, for them to grow and develop as a quality teacher.


We have one more new kaiako coming through, but the rest are fully certificated now.  We also get trainees from Waikato University – two days a week, so it’s busy!  But that in itself is a highlight! 



Te Aoterangi 5



As a Māori, what personal or traditional knowledge do you bring to your role?


For me, personally, manaaki tangata is so important. That is something that I have been taught. It’s what I do. I enjoy helping others – that is what I thought the role was at the start, just helping. 


Āe, manaaki is one of the five concepts in Tātaiako. How do you demonstrate your understanding of ‘manaaki’ in a school context with a PCT?


An example is the time I give. I give a lot of time, probably more than I should. I tend to go beyond what I need to do as a mentor, but I enjoy it, I find it rewarding.  At the end of the day it’s for our tamariki. If I can support someone else to reach their full potential and be successful, that’s reward enough for my time.  And that will show in their classroom. 



Te Aoterangi 6



What is next in your career?  Where will Te Aoterangi be in the next 3-5 years?


I’d like to take my mentoring skills into the Whare Wānanga and work with the kaiako who are training. Being in a mentoring role has given me ‘eyes’. I can see the gaps and what they need to know before they graduate and lead their own classrooms. As a student I trained in the mainstream programme and didn’t know anything about the Marautanga or rauemi when I entered an immersion setting. It’s the same for other graduates coming into immersion, they haven’t worked with these documents or rauemi. So, it’s about transferring the skills and knowledge they learn through the mainstream programme to their rumaki classroom. That’s knowledge I want to share, and am able to support kaiako with, before they graduate.

I want to catch them early to ensure they are prepared.


What advice or tips would you give a new teacher to our profession or other mentors?


  • You’re not meant to know everything at the start. You have two years, or even longer, to learn and develop your craft, so break it down and get small chunks right as you go. There’s no need to do too much at once.
  • Have a clear vision and goals of what you want to achieve in your career.  Without these, you’ll lose sight of the things that you believe in and value most. 
  • For our mentors, you need to fully understand your role before jumping into it. It’s about giving 100% to ensure success for you and the kaiako.
  • Be clear in your communication with your kaiako.  They may not always understand what you ask of them, so it’s important to develop a number of ways to communicate – a blend of face-to-face and online works well. Effective communication is important in establishing a good working relationship.
  • Leave tasks for them to do in their programme and encourage them to inquire into their practice or delivery, evidencing everything as they go and reflecting on what worked well and what can be improved.
  • Know your role, seek the support from colleagues and do your best!


If you enjoyed Te Aoterangi's kōrero, you can also listen to his kōrero via EdTalks.



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