Our Vision

“E kore au e ngaro, he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea.”

I shall never be lost, I am a seed sown from Rangiātea.

This whakataukī recognises the enduring connections of Māori and NZ Pacific peoples to their Pacific islands of origin.  At Va‘atele, we are focussed on sustaining and revitalising Māori and Pacific languages, cultures, identities.  We support centres and schools to decolonise and enact transformational system change that enables linguistically diverse tamariki/rangatahi to be successful as who they are.  We enact system change in partnership with facilitators, centre and school leaders, kaiako/teachers, teacher aides/learning assistants, whānau and community.

Our Values

Afa/Sennit –


“He waka kōtuia kāhore e tukutukua ngā mimira”. (Māori)

A canoe that is interlaced will not become separated at the bow.  In unity there is strength.

‘Afa’ in Samoan and ‘kafa’ in Tongan, refers to the fibres of the coconut husk. Afa was used to bind the parts of the canoe to ensure it could withstand ocean voyaging. ‘Gafa’ in Samoan refers to genealogy.

The metaphor of the ‘afa’/ ‘kafa’ relates to the bringing together of different threads with manaakitanga, to make something stronger.

At Va‘atele, we believe that everyone has valuable knowledge to contribute. We work collaboratively with one another and with the sector to strengthen practice.

Hoe Urungi/Steering Paddle –


“Ia fili i le tai se agava‘a.” (Samoan)

Choose on the high seas who is to steer the canoe.

Insightful leadership is developed through challenging times.

The ‘hoe urungi’ is the steering paddle on the waka hourua/vaʻatele that keeps the vaʻa on course.

At Va‘atele we work to provide guidance to the sector in ‘wayfinding’ innovative and targeted solutions to grow bilingual/multilingual opportunities for tamariki/rangatahi.

Taonga/Treasure –


“He kura pae nā Māhina, e kore e whakahokia atu ki a koe.” (Māori)

The red ornament found by Māhina, will not be returned to you.

Don’t be too hasty to cast aside your cultural treasures.

As the Te Arawa canoe approached Whangaparoa, Tauninihi threw his precious head adornment into the sea having looked to land and mistaking the red of the pōhutukawa and rātā trees as the highly prized feathers of Hawaiki. Māhina scooped it up and refused to return it once Tauninihi realised his error. This whakataukī warns us not to be too hasty to cast aside our cultural treasures.

At Va‘atele, we privilege what tamariki/rangatahi and whānau bring. We recognise that we need to build on our own indigenous knowledge systems and ways of being to be successful in the modern world.

Inima/Bailer –


“Tu na inima, ka luvu na waqa.” (Fijian)

The bailer was there but the canoe sank.

The solution to a problem was at hand but nobody thought of it.  We need to think innovatively about what is in our hands.

At Va‘atele, we focus on working in partnership with the sector to innovate on our ancient knowledge systems for the modern world.  We believe that Māori and Pacific peoples hold solutions for their own wellbeing and future educational outcomes.