Therese V2

Dr Therese Ford

Ngāi Takoto
DipTchg, BEd, PGDipEd, MEdLeadership, PhD
Accredited Facilitator
+64 27 448 8949

I descend from Māori and Pākehā tupuna and am a passionate educator who is committed to developing a high-performing education system that reflects equity and quality outcomes for all learners. Accordingly, the promise of equality inherent in Te Tiriti o Waitangi is a moral imperative that underpins my work school governors, senior leaders and teachers.

The sense of personal and professional responsibility I feel to reduce disparities between Māori and non-Māori students informed my decision to become a professional learning and development facilitator who works across ECE, primary and secondary school settings. This professional learning and development focuses on supporting the people I work with to individually and collectively understand and address racism, strengthen equity, accelerate the learning of ākonga Māori and better honour the promises of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Many people in our communities do not realise that Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which was signed by Māori, and the Treaty of Waitangi are different documents, with the former reflecting Māori interpretations and the latter reflecting Crown interpretations of this constitutional agreement.

Despite the fundamental differences contained within each text, the Crown version of the Treaty has largely defined our national constitution since 1840.

I use a range of readings and resources in dialogic and interactive ways to support people to understand the precolonial history of tangata whenua and the intent of Te Tiriti o Waitangi, which sought to both maintain tino rangatiratanga and look after the mana of people who arrived in Aotearoa after Māori – tangata tiriti.

These collective learning experiences challenge entrenched thinking by building from mātauranga Māori and promoting mana ōrite relationships between mana whenua and schools so that teaching and leadership practices give active expression to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Kaupapa Māori

Kaupapa Māori is an important foundational understanding that needs to drive the indigenisation of our education system.

I provide PLD experiences that support school governors, leaders and teachers to develop theoretical understandings of and then subsequently implement practices (praxis) that facilitate Māori self-determination and revitalisation.

This PLD emphasises the important interrelationship between kaupapa Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi so that participants recognise the special status and expert knowledge of mana whenua and are therefore better positioned to collaboratively develop learning experiences that reflect kaupapa Māori and seek to benefit all learners.

Critical Consciousness

Critical consciousness derives from critical theory and supports people to critique power or more specifically where power is located and how it is playing out to generate and uphold oppressed and oppressor dynamics.

I support school governors, leaders and teachers, through a range of activities, to engage with evidence to understand the origins of inequities and the racism, sexism and ableism that we as educators, are challenged to respond.

I also support people I work with, to harness their critical consciousness and look beyond the origins of oppression to collaboratively seek out and enact solutions that emerge out of the world view of the oppressed group.

I also co-teach a Master's level paper that brings Kaupapa Māori and Critical theories together for participatory research purposes.

Whakawhāiti (inclusion)

Inclusion involves developing determined policies, decisions and practice so that groups of people who are marginalised by race, gender, sexuality, learning support needs and impairment can feel that they are accepted, respected and that they belong.

In my work I seek to ensure that I recognise and embrace the potential to learn about and from diversity by planning and facilitating learning opportunities that value, promote and respond to the perspectives and experiences of all people.

This involves enacting praxis that accepts and respects difference, as opposed to expecting sameness.

Chris Grinter, Principal, Rotorua Boys High School,
Jill Weldon, Principal, Te Puke Intermediate School.