Nineteen educators participated in the Mālama Honua New Zealand Study Tour coordinated by the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council (PAAC) and the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE). The 10-day spring-recess tour allowed participants to meet up with the Polynesian Voyaging Society crew during the New Zealand leg of the Worldwide Voyage of the Hōkule‘ā and Hikianalia, and to build networks and relationships with New Zealand educators around issues of global and local importance.
Participants shared teaching approaches based upon place, projects, and culture. While learning about New Zealand literacy strategies, one of the Maui participants coined the phrase “literacy of the land,” which can be viewed as a pedagogical approach that allows knowledge of place and whenua (land) to be the foundation for learning. Using this lens works well with the philosophy of mālama honua (caring for earth), which is the name of the Worldwide Voyage.
The Hawai‘i delegation was comprised of 16 public school teachers, an ‘Iolani School teacher, and two public school principals. The delegation had an idea to create student-to-student education exchanges via technology and travel, which is already bearing fruit: a Molokai Middle School teacher took five students to New Zealand on May 2, and a librarian participant from Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Ehuinuikaimalino will take 12 seniors to New Zealand during spring recess in 2016. Other outcomes from the tour: two teacher participants from Kailua Intermediate School hosted a Wa‘a Talks teacher forum at their campus on May 21, and the participant from ‘Iolani presented her New Zealand experience at New York University on May 16.
The study tour served as a powerful source of inspiration that is having positive impacts on the instructional practices of the teachers and their capacity to build networks and relationships with educators in Hawai‘i and beyond. It is part of a larger movement, catalyzed by the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, to promote international understanding, connect people across borders, and inspire students and educators to create positive change for themselves, their communities, and the world. A 30-minute documentary film of the Mālama Honua New Zealand Study Tour will be released this fall.
On behalf of the study tour participants, PAAC would like to thank the following businesses for their generous support of the study tour: The Atherton Foundation, The Equus Hotel, TLC PR, Bestours, Royal Hawaiian Shirtworks, Twin Islands Clothing, and Hawaiian Island Creations.
The Pacific & Asian Affairs Council is an independent, international education 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to promote a greater awareness and understanding of foreign affairs issues with special attention to Hawai‘i’s role in the Asia-Pacific region. PAAC has been working with HIDOE teachers and schools for more than 50 years via global student travel opportunities, high school clubs, after-school classes, academic competitions, and scholarships.
The Hawaii State Department of Education is among the largest U.S. school districts and the only statewide educational system in the country. It is comprised of 255 schools and 34 charter schools, and serves more than 180,000 students. King Kamehameha III established Hawaii’s public school system in 1840.