Hurae White – Distributed leadership and manaakitanga

A case study for Learning from the Middle.


The leadership structure that we have here at Nawton School is very much distributed leadership. We have leaders within our syndicates, so: immersion, reo rua and the mainstream. So we have five leaders that are represented there and that brings a really important dynamic to the leadership table here at Nawton School.

So we work very collaboratively and we value that input and work on the premise of the strengths of the team as a collective rather than individually. I very much believe in ‘Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi’ so the strength is not in the individual, it’s in the collective.

So it’s about, for me, building the capacity and providing the opportunities for my colleagues and my team to actually take on responsibilities and take a lead but with the appropriate supports.

An example of that, this year, is the core focus for the immersion programme has been pāngarau. The relationship with Te Poutama Tau and Ngā Whanaketanga provided an opportunity for one of my colleagues [to actually] for me to tap her on the shoulder, because she has expertise in pāngarau, and say "e hoa, koinei te wā", just to invite her to take a lead role and that’s been wonderful. Wonderful for her and wonderful for the team.

It’s also provided an opportunity for her to actually develop her leadership style and in relation with the pāngarau advisor, Leeana Herewini, she’s really been able to, she’s in her element.

And she didn’t go it alone. She tapped another two on the shoulder and said, "You know, would you like to support?" and that’s been fantastic for the team the growth in teacher knowledge has just been amazing. And it’s reflected in the data.

I think one of the strengths that we have here is as a whānau at Nawton school is the way we interact with each other. The senior leadership team we’re very open and supportive of each other and we’ve just got that really good whanaungatanga and it really does provide a really positive vibe here at the kura that I think has a positive influence on how we operate as a team.

Manaakitanga for us here at Nawton School is one of our core values and beliefs that together, through adversity, we are there for each other to support and having that connectedness to each other really does support the environment as a leadership team but also as a staff, as a collective we all take care of each other and make sure everyone has that support.

Using this case study

  • One of the roles of senior and middle leaders is to encourage other teachers to take leadership. Hurae White demonstrates this. Select someone in your group who models good practice in their own classroom. How will you provide them with guidance and support – āwhinatanga – to help them improve the classroom teaching of others?

Related links

Te Poutama Tau – NZmaths website

Ngā Whanaketanga – Education Counts website

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