What we need to do
We need to identify appropriate opportunities for te tamaiti to support their identity and belonging.
‘It’s important to know where you come from so that people know who you are.’
‘My family make me feel that I belong.’
‘Basically, if you have a good relationship with your whānau, that means you’ll have somewhere you belong, and if you feel like you belong then you’ll feel loved, and if you feel loved you’ll feel hopeful about the future.’
For tamariki Māori their identity and belonging is embedded in te reo Māori me ōna tikanga (the language, beliefs, values, practices, ancestral stories etc). Strengthening their sense of belonging and identity requires us to ensure that they have real opportunities to access knowledge and activities that promote te reo me ōna tikanga and their whānau connections. This knowledge and these activities help te tamaiti to understand roles and learn behaviours that help them to engage with, and practise tikanga.
Similarly, Pacific children have languages, customs, ceremonies and rituals that support and help them to understand and engage with their cultural identity and strengthen their sense of belonging.
‘I wanna do more kapa haka. I used to be in a bilingual school.’
‘I’m proud Māori, hard!’
‘Staff told me my iwi. I’ve always known I’m Māori but that’s it.’
‘I don’t know my whakapapa — I just know my ancestors are Māori. I don’t know anything else.’
Participation by tamariki in pro-social activities supports positive identity and a sense of belonging.
In deciding on appropriate opportunities consider:
- te reo Māori or other ethnic language classes
- kapa haka, polyfest, mau rākau, raranga harakeke
- iwi festivals
- rainbow community events
- whānau or family celebrations, such as christenings, birthdays, weddings and graduations
- whānau or family reunions
- regular visits to turangawaewae (their place to stand), marae and other significant places
- faith/hāhi based activities
- connecting with other tamariki in care.