Ruta has been involved in early childhood professional development work for nearly 15 years. She taught and held an assistant and centre manager’s role in two mainstream services at Lincoln University for 15 years. Ruta joined CORE Education in 2010. This position involved working with teachers and senior team leaders in varied settings, facilitating and challenging teachers' pedagogical thinking and beliefs, enabling them to make transformative change in their practice. Ruta worked with governance and management, both in Pasifika and mainstream services, supporting board members in developing shared understandings that are required to comply with the regulatory standards and criteria set out in the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008. In 2018, Ruta worked at Lincoln Childcare Preschool as a centre manager and has now returned to working for CORE Education since March 2019. Prior to this Ruta was working as an early childhood adviser at the University of Canterbury for 6 years.
Ruta led the Ministry of Education: Pasifika Leadership Programme and the Southern Pasifika Project. She was co-researcher in the TLRI research in Christchurch focusing on how young children express and develop working theories about identity, language and culture. Ruta played a vital role in the Pasifika Advisory Group sharing discourse and dialogue which requires significant change to Pasifika students' success.
Ruta's years of involvement in education have been an ongoing journey, and her cultural understandings are evident in relationships and facilitation practice within CORE, the early childhood sector and beyond. The increase of multi-facet cultures in the education sector enables her to be respectful and open to differences, to embrace and celebrate cultural diversity.
Ruta is very passionate about early years education and the diverse cultures in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her interests and passions include working with Pasifika communities and other cultures, leadership in early childhood, learning environments, infants and toddlers, transitions, literacy and assessment.
- Skills in facilitating relationships, discussion and professional learning for governance and management groups, and curriculum implementation for teachers from diverse early childhood services.
- Knowledge of strategic and annual planning, ECE management, internal evaluation, staff appraisal, assessment, health and safety and curriculum.
- Facilitating professional development - Literacy, Infants and Toddlers and Pasifika Leadership in Canterbury region.
- Facilitating Literacy professional development in the Canterbury, West Coast, Timaru, Oamaru and Invercargill regions.
- Mentoring Curriculum Champions working with pedagogical leaders in the updated Te Whāriki 2017.
- Knowledge and understanding in facilitating of curriculum connectedness between Te Whāriki and the NZC.
- Understanding of key documents to raise Pasifika and Māori successes in Early Childhood Education; Ka Hikitia, Pasifika Education Plan, Te Whāriki 2017, Tātaiako and Tapasā.
- Knowledge of and particular interest in working theories about identity, language and culture.
- Leading facilitator for the Southern Pasifika Project - Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO 2).
- Leading facilitator for the Pasifika Leadership Programme - Strengthening Early Learning Opportunities (SELO 3).
- Modern learning environments.
- Designing and facilitating professional development around culturally responsive teaching for teachers involved in SELO programmes.
- Facilitating workshops and meetings in two languages to meet the needs of Pasifika early childhood teachers, families and whānau.
- Translation of Ministry of Education resources, early childhood and schools information into the Samoan language.
- Strong relationships with the Pasifika community in Christchurch increasing participation and Pasifika success.
- Facilitator for Ministry of Education Scoping analysis for the Pasifika community in Christchurch post earthquakes.
- Supporting Pasifika families and Early Childhood teachers in relation to meeting the needs of Pasifika families
- Supporting professionals in Special Education working with Pasifika families and fanau.
- Assessment for learning, planning and evaluation.
- Transition practices - into, within and beyond both in mainstream and Pasifika settings.
Professional body membership
2017 - present: Member of Board Advisory, Hornby Pasifika Early Childhood service.
2011 - present: Member of the Early Childhood Future Networks in Christchurch.
2016 - present: Member of the Advisory Board for the Barnardos, Hornby Pasifika Early Childhood Service.
2015 - present: Pasifika Early Childhood Advisory, Canterbury Clinical Network.
2012 - present: Pasifika Advisory Board for the Renewal of Christchurch.
2010 - present: National Board Member of Sa’asia Organisation, Sosaiete Aoga Amata i Aotearoa.
2011-15: Board Member of the New Zealand College of Education.
- McKenzie, R.& Davis, K (2016) 'Rainbows, sameness, and other working theories about identity, language and culture'. An article published in the Early Childhood Folio vol.20 no.1.
- McKenzie, R (2014) 'Transitioning Children from A’oga Amata to Palagi schools'. An article published in the first SAASIA book called O Pelega o Fanau: Treasuring Children.
Conferences, presentations and workshops
- McKenzie, R & Davis, K (2017) Children’s working theories about identity, language and culture. Presented at the NAZARE conference, Palmerston North.
- McKenzie, R & Davis, K (2017) Children’s working theories about identity, language and culture. Presented at Kidsfirst Kindergarten, Canterbury.
- McKenzie, R & Davis, K (2016) Children’s working theories about identity, language and culture. Presented at Te Rito Maioha Conference.
- McKenzie, R & Davis, K. (2016) Coconuts and Cultural Competence. Presented at The Gathering, Christchurch.
- McKenzie, R (2016) Pasifika Education Plan in Action. Presented at Hutt City Kindergartens, Wellington.
- McKenzie, R (2015) The four baskets of Cultural Leadership. Presented at CORE Education, Auckland.
- McKenzie, R (2014) Social Competence from a Pasifika perspective. Presented at Toddlerific TRCC course, Living Springs.
- McKenzie, R (2014) Transitions for Pasifika families/fanau from A’oga Amata to Primary schools. Christchurch Symposium.
- McKenzie, R (2014) Cultural responsive teaching. Presented at Christchurch Festival of Education in Christchurch - ECE Matters.
- McKenzie, R (2013) Self Review: What does this look like for Pasifika Aoga Amata? Presented at SAASIA Conference, Wellington.
- McKenzie, R (2012) Identity, language and culture. The Gathering Conference, Canterbury University.
- McKenzie, R (2012) Identity, language and culture. Whakarauikatia mai Aotearoa - Inaugural ECE Online Conference.
- McKenzie, R (2012) Assessment for learning. Presented at the New Zealand College 3rd year students, Christchurch.
- McKenzie, R (2012) Values and Beliefs of Aoga Amata in Aotearoa. Presented at the SAASIA conference, Auckland.
- McKenzie, R Wright. J (2011) Continuity of identity, language and culture at the time of transition from A’oga Amata to mainstream primary school. Presented at Samoa Conference 2, Samoa.
- McKenzie, R (2011) Assessment for learning. What does this look like for Samoan children? Presented at Porirua, Wellington.
- McKenzie, R (2010) Transition to school from a Pasifika perspective. Presented at Kidsfirst Kindergarten Association, Wellington.
- McKenzie, R (2010) Leadership in Early Childhood Education. Presented for Samoan early childhood teachers, Napier.
- McKenzie, R (2010) Assessment for Learning. Presented at the New Zealand College of Education for 3rd year students.
- McKenzie, R & Singleton, H (2009) Knowing your students is precious. Presented at the transition to school conference, Palmerston North.