Bicultural Social Services Assignment at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa


POV: You are lost in this society that is moving too fast and it becomes hard to grasp ahold of. However, as you become exposed to the help available around you, you start to confide, surrendering yourself into embracing and navigating Mauri Ora.

This is the story our Open Classroom Manager Lili created with her Semester A Ropu conveyed over the weekend as part of their Bi-cultural Social Services assignments at Te Wånanga o Aotearoa. A story that is thought-provoking and aligns with the impact and relationships we are continuously creating with our Open Classroom cohorts.

Lili explains this opportunity as “… being proud to share the story of open classroom and how our rangatahi come to us and how they leave. It’s about Manakitanga and Āhurutanga to create an environment in which our kids will grow. Upskilling was important for us to familiarize ourselves with the frameworks that social services use on our rangatahi and how can we better our open classroom.” Having the event being held at Ihumātao, added the kaupapa – a story of coming together and supporting one another, on mana whenua that is living that story.

Although the spotlight was on the kaupapa, it was also being shared by the performers/actors and the custom clothing. Playing the guy seeking help and the workers in Trow high-vis jackets representing the support from us at Trow was conveyed by others who were in Lili’s Bi-cultural services class – lots of alofas to you all! We then saw Lili rise at the end as the concept of Mauri Ora – which was a beautiful ending to this captivating narrative. Both the Male and Female lead (Lili) used recycled materials in our yard as a motif to create pieces of clothing that weave elements of a Pasifika essence.

They were created with:

  • Electric blankets – For the Dress
  • CDs – For the Headpiece
  •  Piping – for the Wings
  •  Old Tapa – For the wings and also used to cover the male lead to represent our support
  • Netting – As part of a prop – representing heavy pressure and expectations
  • Oars – Taiaha

You can see every intricate detail in these images, and how they have used these materials to conceptualize Pasifika and Māori kākahu, giving it a second life as an extension of its already existing lineage – which is our vision as a whole at Trow Group – From our Commerical division to our Community Division. We are so proud of how everyone and especially the classmates came together to tell the story of Open Classroom. The work we do for our rangatahi was significant and we are so grateful for how everyone participated and fully came into character for the outcome of doing the story justice. Special mention to their Kaiako Tala (Leu spili) & Dan Kelly for providing the platform to share the story and for providing the tools to navigate that journey through a Maori and Pasifika Lens.

An even bigger congratulations to Lili and Ashley who are now certified in bi-cultural social services!