Culture, Diversity and Advocacy


This term is going unbelievably quickly and it’s hard to believe that we are already so close to that May holiday milestone. Although it feels like it was Christmas just last week, we, on the Culture, Diversity and Advocacy Committee, and I’m sure you, in your own schools, homes and ‘outside lives’, have managed to fit a lot in in a short space of time.

One of the loveliest things to happen so far this year is that we welcomed two new members to our committee. Shae McLean Brunetti (Head of English, Whakatane High School) and Shantal Smith (Head of Learning Support and SENCO at Lincoln High School). We received many extremely high quality applications for these voluntary positions on CDA, and I’d like to thank everyone who showed an interest in working with us. Shae and Shantal present a broad range of expertise in specific focus areas for CDA and we are thrilled to have them working alongside us.

Another highlight of the year so far has been meeting with Joni Angeli-Gordon from Mauri Aroha Ltd. Joni is an experienced English teacher, working in both mainstream and Kaupapa Māori environments at a secondary and tertiary level. As part of CDA’s mission statement is supporting equity and social justice in English classrooms, we felt that working with Joni would guide us towards being able to provide that support in an authentic and innovative way. I found the session we had in January with Joni to be inspiring, reaffirming and extremely exciting. As we develop this kaupapa more, we will share it with you all and seek your feedback.

A warm kia orana to our English teaching friends in the Cook Islands who have recently joined NZATE as honorary members. Welcome to our community and we look forward to getting to know you better.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to meet with Joni for our recent full council meeting due to Level 3 restrictions in Auckland, however there will be an opportunity to hear more about Joni and the work she is doing in an upcoming communication.

In addition to building our relationship with Shae, Shantal and Joni, we have been working on a number of ongoing projects and planning for the rest of this year. Teacher Talk will be hitting your screens again very soon and we are on the hunt for teachers from all over Aotearoa to chat to – if you know of someone who you think would be great for us to chat to, please drop me a line.

Steph Julian