Brooke Ashton Cropped

Brooke Ashton

Iwi, Heritage Affiliations: Ngati Pākehā
BA, MTchLng - Sec
Accredited Facilitator
022 011 2561

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E mihi ana ki ngā tohu o nehe, o Kirikiriroa e noho nei au
Ko Brooke Ashton tōku ingoa

I am passionate about challenging and disrupting educational structures that disproportionately disadvantage rangatahi Māori. As tangata te tiriti I have a genuine care and responsibility for our rangatahi and their ability to experience an equitable education that promotes excellence and belonging. Throughout my experiences as a student, a social scientist, a teacher, a curriculum leader, and a Māmā, I have seen the transformative change that a deep commitment to Kaupapa Māori and Critical Theories can have on rangatahi.

My journey to Poutama Pounamu has been shaped by my recent classroom and leadership experiences. Like many educators, I have faced the disconnect between the duality of what the research and theory is telling us and the reality of some of the structures and discourses that influence what teaching and learning in Aotearoa looks like. I am passionate about bridging this gap through working collaboratively with rangatahi, teachers, leaders, whānau, hapū and iwi. I believe that together, weaving the knowledge, experience and aspirations of these groups, we are able to create educational experiences that empower and affirm our rangatahi, whilst challenging them to reach their full potential.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Despite often being referred to interchangeably, Te Tiriti o Waitangi and The Treaty of Waitangi are two distinct documents.T he implications of these documents co-existing has shaped not only the history of Aotearoa but our current reality. A reality that reflects that in our education system the promise of an equitable partnership, protection, and participation has never been fully realised for our Māori rangatahi.

I bring a knowledge and understanding of both of these documents, the discourses they embody, and the implications they have had at an individual, societal and national level. I am passionate about challenging the misinformation associated with the coexisting nature of these documents through exploring our pre-colonial history, engaging with the narratives of mana whenua, drawing on a range of sources to consider different perspectives and lived experiences, and unpack our own attitudes and beliefs in a way that is mana upholding.

I believe that when we challenge the narratives we know and believe surrounding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and deepen our understanding, we are able to create space to move forward and to change the reality for our Māori rangatahi. When we view Te Tiriti o Waitangi as an opportunity to embody a justice-based model, we are capable of truly living and thriving as a bi-cultural nation.

Kaupapa Māori

I understand Kaupapa Māori as a way of being and understanding that is deeply connected to Māori principles and philosophy. I also view it as an intentional set of actions that challenge the dominant eurocentric paradigm and provide an alternative worldview that redistributes power. Thus, providing an opportunity for Te Tiriti o Waitangi to be fully realised and lived. As pākehā, I am conscious of my position as manuhiri within this context and the responsibility this brings to my mahi as an educator, leader and facilitator.

Kaupapa Māori principles and actions are integral to indigeinousing our education systems and ensuring that not one generation more miss out on the benefits of a meaningful education - rangatira mō āpōpō. I strive to provide professional learning opportunities that are focussed around dialogic and interactive experiences that place our rangatahi at the centre. Together with participants I aim to co-construct ways of being and create pathways that allow our rangatahi to embody and experience mauri ora within our classrooms.

Critical Consciousness

Critical Consciousness is an opportunity to do things differently. It is an opportunity to challenge that status-quo and disrupt assumptions and discourses that have historically been unchallenged. Critical Consciousness is potential for us to drive transformative change in education.

As a facilitator, I aim to create opportunities that allow people to activate their agency and ask themselves and others the big, crucial questions. Together we explore who the status-quo is best serving and what we can do to better promote equity, excellence and belonging for all rangahi. Drawing on a strengths based approach, I facilitate discussions and pathways with participants that explore honest realisations about where we are at on our journey, where we would like to be, and what our next steps are to achieve this.

I understand that the journey towards conscientization for all can bring a range of emotions and experiences. For some it can be confronting and uncomfortable, whilst for others it can be exciting and transformative - or somewhere inbetween! As we each acknowledge and realise our contribution towards inequity with power, control and privilege it is integral to manaaki the mana of those that we are on this journey with. A key aspect of my practice is to create safe places for vulnerability and growth.

Whakawhāiti (inclusion)

All rangatahi thrive and experience success when they are provided with opportunities that are authentically and meaningfully connected to who they are. When our rangatahi feel valued and accepted they are able to experience tūrangawaewae and feel confident of their place in the world. I believe strongly in the use of a strengths based approach, where the innate potential of our rangatahi and whānau is realised.

I work alongside educators to develop authentic and reciprocal relationships with rangatahi and whānau that provides space to truly understand and acknowledge who they are, potential they hold, and how teaching and learning can be responsive to this. Throughout my practice I dismantle discourses that assume sameness, challenge deficit thinking and exclusionary practices, and celebrate diversity.