Embracing cultural capability through professional development

Let’s journey together towards equity and inclusion in Aotearoa

Being culturally capable is now an essential part of our personal and professional development plans. Culturally confident educators, leaders, managers, individuals and organisations play a critical  role in creating equitable environments. 

At Tātai Aho Rau, we offer learning pathways that build the cultural capability for individuals, professionals, NGOs, schools and kura. Our learning approach is firmly grounded in te Tiriti o Waitangi and its principles, ensuring that individuals embark on a transformative journey toward equity while honouring New Zealand's rich history. 

So why is cultural capability important? What does it look like in a team environment? How do we give life to te Tiriti o Waitangi? And where do you start? Let’s unpack cultural capability in team learning and team cultures.

Cultural capability is important

Being culturally capable is the ability to interact effectively and respectfully with people from diverse cultural backgrounds. This goes beyond a mere awareness of cultural diversity and seeks to foster an environment of authenticity, appreciation, and acceptance. 

Enhancing cultural capability brings about a corresponding growth in awareness of inequities, and in the capabilities and skills required to challenge bias and racism.

Cultural capability is at the core of the future Aotearoa, New Zealand - it embraces our  nation's diverse cultural richness, honours te Tiriti o Waitangi principles, and seeks to understand and learn about the significant position of te ao Māori in shaping our identity as a nation. 

What does a culturally capable team look like? 

A culturally capable team embodies a diverse and inclusive environment that fosters respect, understanding, and appreciation for a range of cultural backgrounds and perspectives. 

In New Zealand, culturally capable organisations have an understanding of the history of Aotearoa, our language and culture, and seek to broaden their knowledge in an ongoing way. They empower teams to be culturally competent leaders and learners. 

Building a culturally capable team involves actively engaging in cultural competence training that starts with looking at our biases, challenging our assumptions about others, and understanding the privilege and power we already hold. Prioritising cultural capability creates a safe space where everyone can contribute their unique strengths and experiences to achieve collective success while building an atmosphere of collaboration and excellence so that inequity is increasingly challenged and addressed. 

Giving life to Te Tiriti o Waitangi

Te Tiriti yesterday 

Te Tiriti today 

Te Tiriti tomorrow 

A culturally capable team within Aotearoa New Zealand honours te Tiriti. "Te Tiriti o Waitangi is not something that can be put on a shelf and taken off once a year." In this podcast, Dr Hana O'Regan and Leah Te Whata offer practical and inspirational advice about enacting te Tiriti o Waitangi every day, – unpacking the importance of te Tiriti and why it is crucial to implement change, and not just ‘ticking a box’. 

Simple steps towards understanding and integrating Tiriti principles into your team culture include acknowledging the significant place of Māori as tangata whenua in Aotearoa by:

  • referring to the Articles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as a foundation for our planning and work,
  • ensuring decision-making processes result in equitable policy and action for Māori,
  • valuing te reo and tikanga Māori, and create the conditions in which they thrive,
  • recognise there is no one size fits all model for biculturalism,
  • produce high quality learning resources in English and te reo Māori.

Cultural capability and professional development

Tātai Aho Rau Core Education is committed to nurturing cultural capability through a range of professional learning pathways. This includes face-to-face facilitation, online learning, and webinars, which are bespoke learning opportunities for business, NGOs and educational settings.

Here are some ways you can partner with us to build cultural capability in your team: 

  • Free cultural capability learning : Listen to our podcasts unpacking topics such as cultural capability, leadership, te reo Māori learning, Aotearoa New Zealand histories and education. 
  • Workplace cultural capability : facilitate cultural learning within teams, and as workplace development
  • Coaching and Mentoring: our facilitators work closely with team members to implement meaningful and sustainable changes in your work and life.
  • Te reo Māori learning: Empower team members to learn the Māori language and integrate te reo Māori in to their every day conversation. 
  • Equity learning: At Tātai Aho Rau a focus on equity for learners sets us apart. Partner with us and turn the equity dial. 

Explore more content

Explore our wide range of education related podcasts and blogs, ranging from experts discussing Kaupapa Māori, Cultural capability and te reo Māori, Leadership, Pacific viewpoints, Digital and innovation, Inclusive learning and more.

Explore podcasts       Explore blogs