12 December 2022

TSA releases its Aotearoa New Zealand Cultural Learning Framework

TSA has proudly introduced its Cultural Learning Framework in Aotearoa, New Zealand, as part of our broader Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy launched this year. The framework demonstrates our commitment and understanding of the importance of Te Ao Māori, the Māori language and culture, and the Crown-Māori partnership.

The framework sets out the key areas of cultural competence important for our staff and establishes desired levels of proficiency in understanding things like the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, Te Reo Māori (being able to pronounce the Māori language correctly and introduce yourself), Te Ao Māori (Māori ways of life) and Tikanga Māori (Māori culture) and Māori Kawa (Māori protocols). We are delivering training through interactive workshops that enhance cultural awareness, responsiveness, and competency.

During our most recent interactive session, the Wellington office practised their pepeha (introducing yourself in te reo Māori), sang a waiata, Te Aroha, a song about love and peace, and learned a new karakia (prayer) to open hui (meetings). Karakia are prayers or incantations generally used to ensure a positive outcome by setting the scene and acknowledging participants’ united focus.

The office also learned about the difference between Tikanga and Kawa, and what to expect at a Mihi Whakatau/Pōwhiri – including Hariru/Hongi (shaking hands and pressing of noses), Koha (gifts/reciprocity), mihimihi or whaikorero (speeches), and the difference between Tapu (sacred) and Noa (normal). While these can vary from one iwi/hapū to another, the significance of a pōwhiri (formal welcome) is to transition manuhiri (visitors) from waewae tapu (sacred feet) to a state of noa (equal, free from tapu). The process enables you to move freely about the marae as an honoured guest who can participate fully with the local people of the marae.

Upon completion of the cultural competency framework, our people will have increased cultural awareness and be able to engage with Tangata Whenua in meaningful ways, supporting positive project outcomes.

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