Sunday, December 6, 2009

Training Kiddies to be life long Learners.

Last November I did two posts on the School Blitz by my church, Mt Albert Baptist Church at our local primary school, Mt Albert Primary School.

In one post, I wrote, "I saw this Polynesian/Maori man and I talked with him. I asked if he was from the PTA, and he said yes, then he said, actually I am the principal. He was there the whole two days."

I walked away feeling rather sheepish. Some time this year, I read about him in the local paper. I felt more sheepish, my Chinese saying which I quoted before suit my feeling to a T. "Got eyes, but couldn't recognise Tarzan."

Mr, Auva had been the principal of Mt Albert Primary since 1991, and had been Education for three decades.

You see Enosa Auva’a represents 1.1 percent of New Zealand’s school leaders of Pacific Island descent. This fact he discovered in 2004 while researching his educational leadership and management thesis for his master’s degree.

He won a Fulbright-Cognition Education Research Trust scholarship to discover why there are so few school leaders and is in a bid to change it. He will continue his research into ethnic minority leadership fulltime at the University of Hawaii next year.

"The diversity of students in New Zealand schools is not reflected in leadership roles and having more people thinking about this can only be good for us," says the 51-year-old.

"I hope my research can identify ways to inspire more minority school leaders in New Zealand and I feel really privileged to be going – as a representative of my own people and of my own school."

Mr Auva’a was born in Vailoa Faleata, Samoa, in 1958 and although his father was a Methodist minister, both his parents came from school teaching backgrounds.

In 1970 the family emigrated to New Zealand where they lived in Mt Eden.

Mr. Auva is married to Felicity, who is an incredible person herself. She is a primary school teacher, musician and a Papakura district councillor.

In Hawaii Mr Auva’a will study the stories and experiences of minority school leaders in the United States to find out how aspiring minority teachers are encouraged towards senior management positions.

I am privileged to have met and spoken to Mr. Auva and Felicity this evening when they came to my church to share his vision in my church's involvement with the community. I told them that I teach ESOL to Polynesian kids in school, and he is such a good role model for them. The kids will be pleased that I am his friend.

Ka Pai and paki-paki. All the best in Hawaii, and convey our Aroha to our friends there.


Ensurai said...

Minority leadership in schools? Sounds like Sarawak...Most of the leaders are of Malay descent now because they have all the opportunities to further their education and their strength in the National Language. Furthermore throughout history of our country they also have the reins of administration.
So the system has been already established and hard for minorities to get on the mainstream? Other countries - no different I think.

It is also jobs for the old boys (hence the British saying...old school ties....may apply have to be ten times more brilliant to break into the scene.)

35 years of experience may give me the sharpness to know a bit. Smile.....But hopefully each new Prime Minister will try to make a difference.

wenn said...


Sara Diana said...

Interesting post. Times do change. Looking at Wales just 30 years ago and the changes are phenomenal.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Thank you Sarawakiana for your comment on minorities in leadership.

Around Easter, My Brother in law Kallang, A Kelabit from Borneo came to visit Auckland. Both my sister and Kallang were principals.

I requested my principal of Pt Chev School where I work if I could show them my school. The principal was very happy. Kallang was very impressed with my school. My school however is in a very good area, decile 7, and has only 20% minority students.

How I wish I had known Enosa Auva then, Kallang would have been more interested in his school. And again, meeting a brother from across the ocean in Borneo. They probably would share their tattoo stories like he shared with my Maori friend Ngarimu.