The Rookie: Wearing My Heart on My Sleeve

Ko Tarawera te maunga

Ko Rotokākahi te moana

Ko Te Wairoa te awa

Ko Te Wairoa te whenua tūturu

Ko Hinemihi-o-te-ao-tawhito te whare

Ko Ngāti Tarāwhai te hapū

Ko Aporo Te Wharekaniwha te tangata

Ko Te Arawa te waka

Ko Te Arawa te iwi

Ko Jade Flavell ahau – tihei mauri ora!

Sitting amongst other academic agents of change for the past four days has been a priviledge, a comfort and a major wake up call. Each of us were questioning our true purpose and not just us newbies, even those that have been in the game for a good amount of time.. this standing question was the equalizer and so I really had to ask: “What the heck am I doing this for?”

At the offset, listening to others and their conflicts between the misuse of terms, labels and methodologies I realised just how ‘rookie’ I was to this playing field. No one has told me the rules, the parameters within which I can play nor what my position in the team is – gosh, am I on a team? I thought it was a one-man-sport? Is there a uniform and who’s the captain? What’s the game plan? Got a drill? When’s training? Who are the MVP’s and how do I become one, too? Is there a mascot? Is there a ‘code’? Man – I gotta learn all this as well as  do my thesis. I’m so behind!

Thinking on my feet, treading carefully in this fiery conversation my only answer to this searing question – was a question:

“If I don’t, then who will?”

Who will be the voice to say the things that need to be said, to ask the questions that need to be asked, to challenge the ‘norms’ that must be challenged? If not me, then who?

I’ve worried too long about how others might react to my answer to “What are you writing about?” because a straight forward answer is not easy for me to come by:

“I’m writing about Eurythmy – an art of movement in Waldorf Education. I am curious to see what  policy, guidance and literature exists to help inform the practice of eurythmy teachers in Aotearoa because many incorporate te reo Māori in their work. I question what part of the eurythmy training helps to build an understanding of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga and how do eurythmy teachers in Aotearoa work to localise the school curriculum to reflect local histories and our nature stories in a healthy and safe way for Māori?” Yeah. Well, in another blog, I’ll go into more detail about my current research topic/s of interest, Te reo Maori and Eurythmy.

But for now, I’ll leave you with a poem to go with the image, that suddenly came to me after lunch one day here at Vaughan Park. Thank you to all the sisters for welcoming me, the Rookie, onto your team and into your circle.


Bleeding Hearts

What the heck am I doing this for?

To sock it to the chick

who told me I was thick

to the bitter core?

Or to slam them in the face

at the finish line of the race

exhausted and sore?


What the heck am I doing this for?

Well I don’t need your words

in fact, it’s quite absurd

your accolades abhor

Why do they keep re-cycling

The illusion of us thriving

When our whanau are poor?


What the heck am I doing this for?

For the letters or the paper?

To be known as a shaper?

Maybe someone’s keeping score?

Four times the value if in Māori

Then half pie if in palagi?

No mana anymore?


What the heck am I doing this for?

Perhaps it’s all a thrill

To develop surgeon-like skill

Bleeding hearts on the floor

Be it mountain, be it hill

If I don’t then, who will?

In this academic war


Jade Flavell | Te Arawa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Porou I Huarahi Māori, Te Puna Wānanga, UoA

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s