Kay-Lee Jones

Award for Sustained Excellence in Tertiary Teaching – Kaupapa Māori category

Pūkenga-Lecturer, School of Teacher Education, College of Education, Health and Human Development, University of Canterbury 

Ko Kay-Lee Jones te tihi o te mahi whakaako, e pūmau ana ia ki te “whakawhanaketanga o te ngākau Māori”. Hei tā te Heamana o te Poari o Te Pā o Rākaihautū, “he tino tauira ia, kaua ki tōna whānau anake, engari ki ngā tāngata katoa ka pā atu ana ki a ia.”

Ko ngā āhuatanga motuhake o Kay-Lee, ko tōna kaha ki te pupuri i ngā tikanga nui e rua. Ko ia tonu te whakatinanatanga o te manaakitanga. Nāna ka hiki ake, ka whakamana ake āna ‘kaiako o āpōpō’. E pūmau ana hoki ia ki te hōhonutanga o te whanaungatanga, hei tāna “mēnā ka tino aro koe ki te ngākau o te kaiako, kei te whakakaha koe i a ia ki te tū pakari i te ao Māori me te ao Pākehā.”

Hei tā tētahi akonga he mātau ia “ki te whakapakari i te whanaungatanga mā te kaupapa o te ako, arā, ko ngā whakawhitinga i waenganui i te akonga me te kaiako. E whāia ana tēnei i raro i te tikanga o te manaakitanga …”

E mārama ana ki a Kay-Lee te hiranga o āna mahi, arā, he whakaawe i ngā kaiako o āpōpō ki te whakamana i ngā tikanga, ki te hāpai hoki i aua tikanga i roto i ā rātou mahi whakaako, waihoki, ki te whakatō i ēnei āhuatanga ki roto i te ao o te hunga tamariki. Kei te whakataukī nei ngā kōrero e pā ana ki āna mahi whakaako, “poipoiā te kākano kia puāwai ai”.

“I made the choice to learn te reo Māori. I love it and will always be a learner. I love teaching the history of our land and seeing a spark in those I teach from connecting with language, culture and identity.”

Kay-Lee Jones is a teacher of teachers, committed to “helping grow a heart for te Ao Māori”. The Board Chair of Te Pā o Rākaihautū describes her as “a great role model not only for her whānau but all who meet her”.  

What sets Kay-Lee apart is the way she radiates two important qualities. She personifies manaakitanga as she uplifts and empowers her ‘kaiako ō āpōpō’, and deeply embodies whanaungatanga, stating that “you can empower teachers holistically to be strong in a Māori and a Pākehā world by really getting to know them”.  

One ākonga describes how she “builds a strong sense of whanaungatanga through her enactment of the learner/teacher duality of ako. This is undertaken in a way that seeks to akiaki the mana of the individual learner…”.

Kay-Lee understands the importance of her work, inspiring her future teachers to also value culturally-relevant spaces, to normalise this in their teaching practices and to embellish this in their children’s futures. This is espoused in the whakataukī that closely relates to her teaching, “poipoiā te kākano kia puāwai ai – nurture the seed and it will blossom”. 

E te māreikura, ngā mihi aroha ki a koe.

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Kay-Lee Jones – Recipient of a 2020 Tertiary Teaching Excellence Award