Within an increasingly globalised university context it is not always easy to introduce or sustain special character or local and indigenous knowledge. In Aotearoa New Zealand, however, we are legally and morally bound by our founding Treaty to ensure that our indigenous culture is fully integrated into all systems and organisations.
So when we – as academic developers - were challenged by our University with the task of importing an external framework (UK Professional Standards Framework) and the creation of a professional development programme to surround it, it was important to us to honour and embed the Treaty and in doing so celebrate our indigenous values. In particular we sought to embed the Māori value, manaaki, which offers both an everyday translation of hospitality, people caring for people and being kind, as well as a way of valuing and measuring that is fundamentally different to that of many modern European cultures. With manaaki there is a measurement that relates specifically to the demonstration of an ‘ethic of care’ related to the wellbeing of yourself, others, and the land (NZQA, 2013). Specifically, with manaaki, the measurement relates to the uplifting (or not) of mana (prestige, authority, control, status, charisma, spiritual power or influence), and within our University setting we wanted manaaki as a measurement to sustain, nourish and uplift both host (our team, our people, our University and our land) and visitor (the UKPSF, the HEA and our participating colleagues) (Buissink et al, in press).
While the HEA recognition programme has been offered in the United Kingdom since 2004, it has more recently been introduced internationally including into a number of institutions in Australasia. In terms of the professional development programme that can be created locally to surround the framework, the recognition programme has been “enacted in diverse ways by diverse institutions” (Beckmann, 2015). However, when we first embarked on this journey, no other institution had also integrated the existing UKPSF with indigenous worldviews, values or special character (Buissink et al. in press). It was important that anything we developed upheld the mana (prestige, authority, control, status) of the HEA, without compromising the mana of Māori, so we were very grateful when they agreed to us weaving Māori knowledge and perspective into an otherwise unchanged UKPSF. The team worked at creating a programme underpinned by an interwoven framework that was a fusion of HEA, our own institution – the Auckland University of Technology (AUT), and Māori, and together we developed the first version of the Ako Aronui programme.
In terms of the Ako Aronui Framework we can illustrate how it maintains the integrity of the original UKPSF whilst also representing the values of our local community. If we look at the UKPSF Value 2 for example with the original text retained in green, followed by our recontextualised statement (example and explanation taken from Buissink et al, in press).
Underpinning concepts of engagement, empowerment, enlightenment, and self-determination with manaakitanga recognise the role of the applicant throughout the new framework. To whakapiri (engage learners) the staff member (as a participant and applicant) should reflect practices of how they manaaki - welcome their learners and create a safe space for learners to engage. Staff then needed to consider how they mana-aki the learners, that is to provide learning opportunities that draw on the learner's potential and acknowledges their achievements experiencing a sense of whakamana (empowerment). Whakamārama are those moments when the learner is realising their potential, their tino rangatiratanga.
From two cohorts of applicants 2015–16, AUT now holds almost thirty Fellowships across three categories. Early indicators from AUT Fellows confirm the value and practical application of having reflected on their academic practice, and sharing that learning with colleagues – and so Ako Aronui grows. Further, as AUT develops a new strategic plan, we have no doubt that the enthusiasm for, and engagement with, the Ako Aronui programme influences and shapes the next institutional directions for learning and teaching. Many universities that we have met with are watching our progress with particular interest and we have further details (including the philosophy of the programme, manaaki in education and how we run the programme) in a forthcoming paper in the Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) journal (Buissink, Diamond, Hallas, Swann and Sciascia, in press). We are very proud of the ongoing development and success of the programme, particularly the challenging move away from importing a same-ness that may have denied the rights or opportunities of some to shine. We have found that the focus on practicing manaaki has resulted in not only meeting the University’s usual metric measures of success, but we are building a community of academics that genuinely care and want to continue to support their colleagues in their journeys. As we concluded in our paper, Manaaki has sustained, nourished and uplifted both host and visitor, and as a team we encourage others to embrace international opportunities such as the HEA/UKPSF, in a way that lets their own special culture, flavour or character to have true voice and heart.
Beckmann, E. A. (2015, October). Leadership through Fellowship: professional recognition as a pathway to improving scholarship of teaching and learning in Australian universities. Presented at the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (ISSOTL), Melbourne.
Buissink, N., Diamond, P., Hallas, J., Swann, J., and Sciascia, A. (in press). Challenging a measured university from an indigenous perspective: Placing manaaki at the heart of our professional development programme, HERD Journal Special Issue: Academic life in the measured university: pleasures, paradoxes and politics (2017, Issue 3).
New Zealand Qualification Authority. (2013, April). Manaaki marae – Marae hospitality qualification review. Needs Analysis. Retrieved May 22, 2016, from http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/assets/qualifications-and-standards/qualifications/ManaakiMarae/May-2014-Prov-to-List/Manaaki-Marae-Needs-Analysis.pdf