Collaboration: He Tangata

At the start of our second MDTA day, Dorothy explained how Manaiakalani had started. Beginning with a collaboration between a few like-minded educators, an initiative to provide support to those learners who truly needed it was born. With hard work and determination, Manaiakalani eventually gained the backing of corporate giants like Google and Spark, and blossomed into a real force focused on providing forward-thinking education for children who might otherwise has missed out.

This story struck a cord with me. At university, my lecturers would often discuss the government's priority learners, but when it came to actually lifting achievement, there were very few real solutions offered.

I remember a lecture in my third year where a few of my peers questioned this, noting that the situation sounded almost hopeless. Being an optimist (and perhaps a little naive) I was sure that someone would be attempting to do something about the situation; that we hadn't all accepted the failure of priority learners.

I know Manaiakalani is not a magic bullet, it cannot solve all of these issues. But there are people fighting to change things for our learners. When we looked at some of the feats that our Manaiakalani learners have took part in, from delivering podcasts that reached the top 20 in the chart, to the gains that they have made in their learning it is clear that this programme is supporting its learners.

This also affirmed the strength of collaboration, as Manaiakalani became possible with various groups and individuals working together for a shared goal. This is something I will be putting into practice at an individual level, by seeking aid and collaborating with others where possible in order to strengthen my practice.


  1. I appreciate reading your perspective and application of our story (and you are part of the 'our' now Danni!). I do hope there are a lot more Uni students like you were last year, prepared to question whether we should accept as status quo that priority learners have poor achievement outcomes.

    1. Thank you Dorothy. It was very inspiring to hear you tell the story and I am very glad to be part of it now!

  2. I love how Manaiakalani is living proof that taking risks and trying new things for our learners is important in our classrooms as well as wider communities in order to increase achievement. This is a reminder to us to always try new things in our teaching, to determine what is effective for our learners, rather than staying with what we know in our comfort zones!

    1. Exactly Georgia! I am so glad we have the opportunity to do this with the support of a mentor as well!


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