You can still register for uLearn and gain access to over 80 recorded sessions

Check out the highlights video from this year’s conference. There was so much to choose from, it was a challenge to limit the highlights to these few!

You can still register for uLearn21 and gain access to over 80 recorded sessions. If you are having a summer break, perhaps you could explore the conference? All recordings are available until 31 January 2022.

Register now


  • Themes

    Themes Themes

    Aotearoa e tōnui nei | Thriving Aotearoa

    This year’s theme challenges us to learn ways of being and doing that nourish us, personally, professionally, culturally, and collectively. The systems we operate in don’t always support us to do this — uLearn21 is an opportunity to hit the reset button and zero in on how we activate our potential as those with a vested interest in education.

    Equity is an essential aspect of thriving in Aotearoa. It is about understanding power relations and having access to resources and opportunities. Addressing inequity requires deeply understanding its origins, recognising many voices, and questioning the false and unfounded assumptions which underpin bias, racism, discrimination, and that contribute to power imbalances. It is also about respecting and learning from different ways of perceiving, engaging and responding to the world.

    This is the kaupapa for uLearn21.

    Te tangata takitahi e tōnui nei | Thriving individuals

    It can be easy to get lost in the system and become disconnected from just how important you are in it. Before you can support others to thrive, it is vital to understand and value your own identity, and the potential you have to enact change.

    Key focuses:

    • Looking at the big picture of education and reconnecting us with our identities; as individuals and as educators
    • Igniting our passion, power, and potential
    • Examining how our world views and cultural competencies inform our view of equity in education
    • Unpacking life-changing wellbeing strategies informed by leaders from the field
    • Utilising digital technologies to supercharge our education practice.

    Ngā hapori e tōnui nei | Thriving communities

    Evidence shows us that when values such as manaakitanga, whanaungatanga, kaitiakitanga, and kotahitanga are present, whole communities thrive. When educational communities nurture these values, the power of what is possible is amplified.

    Key focuses:

    • Understanding and living values unique to Aotearoa
    • Actively seeking out and valuing diverse identities, strengths, stories, and skills
    • Examining and transforming inequitable power dynamics
    • Breaking down barriers across communities
    • Exercising courage and creativity in our communal actions and interactions.

    Ngā ahurea e tōnui nei | Thriving cultures

    Our cultures directly impact our learning environments and the people in and around them. By acting with intention, we can create environments in which people thrive through knowing they are seen, belong, and are valued.

    Key focuses:

    • Acknowledging, valuing and learning from diverse ways of being and doing
    • Considering the wider contexts and narratives that inform our thinking in education in Aotearoa
    • Exploring education, for and with our learners
    • Educating with equity, diversity, inclusivity, and creativity at the fore
    • Learning as part of communities.

    Te tōnuitanga o te āpōpō | Thriving futures

    We seek to ensure future generations will thrive, and to evolve all learning communities into more visionary, vibrant, and impactful environments. Solutions need to be built for today’s compatibility and tomorrow’s possibility.

    Key focuses:

    • Understanding how intergenerational thinking informs and improves our planning
    • Moving away from passive acceptance of what might happen - moving into active, confident participation in what could happen
    • Getting to grips with what has been, what is, and what lies ahead
    • Discovering essential tools that can guide future-focused thinking
    • Uniting to create powerful policies, systems, courses of action and social innovations that support future-focused thinking.


  • Keynote speakers

    Keynote speakers Keynote speakers

    Be inspired by leading keynote speakers from Aotearoa who deeply understand local contexts and challenges.

    Day 1

    Dr Rangi Matamua

    Director, Living by the Stars

    Dr Rangi Matamua is a pioneering Māori scholar who has revolutionised understandings of Māori astronomy, and in particular Matariki. His research has been ground-breaking in terms of its contribution to mātauranga Māori; he has enlightened both national and international populations on the mātauranga of astronomy. He is renowned for his role communicating his research in an accessible and engaging way, and reaching both academic and non-academic audiences.

    Dr Eruera Tarena

    Executive Director, Tokona te Raki: Māori Futures Collective
    Ngāi Tahu (Ngāi Tūāhuriri), Ngāti Porou, Te Whānau-a-Apanui

    Tokona te Raki: Māori Futures Collective, is an indigenous design and innovation lab based under the mana of Ngāi Tahu. Their purpose is to provide next-gen solutions powered by rangatahi Māori. They employ, train and support rangatahi through an apprenticeship in changing the world, equipping them with future-focused skills, and honing them through real-world projects.

    Day 2

    Jase Te Patu

    Director, M3 Mindfulness for Children
    Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Tūwharetoa

    Jase Te Patu is a popular TED talk speaker and an award-winning wellbeing advocate with over 30 years of experience in the health and wellness sector. Jase is the co-owner of Awhi Yoga and Wellbeing, Founder and creator of Te Reo yoga Cards and Founder of M3 Mindfulness for children. All of his mahi is centred in wellbeing - for our mokopuna, tamariki, rangatahi, kai ako and whānau - te katoa, everyone!

    Jase is excited to present at uLearn21, sharing the tools of Te Whare Tapa Whā to assist our educators with adjusting their oxygen mask first, before adjusting others.

    Dr Karlo Mila

    Programme Director, The Mana Moana Experience (Leadership NZ) and poet.

    Dr Karlo Mila (MNZM) is a writer, researcher, poet, seeker, mother and the creator of Mana Moana. Of Tongan, Samoan and Pākehā descent, her life’s work has been centred around the lived experiences of Pacific peoples. She currently runs a leadership program that takes a year-long deep dive into the shared language, epistemology and ancestral wisdom of the Moana, prototyping these in practical ways in professional and personal contexts.

    This is a journey of re-turn, re-cognition, re-membering and re-awakening. It is a call to intergenerational leadership and deeply reconnecting to all that we are inter-dependent upon.


  • Activators

    Activators Activators

    Dive deeper with activators

    Day 1

    Denise Quinlan and Lucy Hone

    Directors, New Zealand Institute of Wellbeing and Resilience

    Dr Denise Quinlan and Dr Lucy Hone, two of the leaders in the field of wellbeing and resilience promotion in educational contexts, are known for their practical and engaging translation of wellbeing science to practice. They have worked with a wide variety of learning institutions for over a decade and shared their wellbeing kaupapa in Communities of Practice across Aotearoa.

    Jacoba Matapo

    Associate Dean Pasifika and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland

    Jacoba leads and lectures across a range of courses in teacher education including, teaching and learning in Pasifika contexts, Pasifika education, philosophy and politics. Her research engages in Pacific onto-epistemology in conversation with post-human/new materialist analysis of Pasifika education research.

    Mārama Stewart

    Principal, Tāneatua School
    Ngāi Tūhoe

    Disrupting the status quo has led Mārama to achieve some pretty cool things over the last 12 years. As Tāneatua School Principal she disrupted behaviour management practices by teaching her students to fight properly and with control. Mārama is passionate about Māori Leadership, disruptive curriculum, and chatting with her peers.

    Josh Hough and Lex Davis

    CORE Education

    Lex (Te Rarawa) and Josh work hard to create empowering spaces and are deeply involved in their communities. Together, they use a partnership approach and futures thinking to work in ways which are Te Tiriti and identity honouring. Ko Tātou Tēnei is a piece of action research that brings voice to a group that is multiply-oppressed and marginalised; rangatahi takatāpui - our Māori LGBTQIA+ youth.

    Madeleine de Young

    Kaiwhakahau Hōtaka, Māoriland Charitable Trust
    Ngāti Kapu

    Madeleine oversees programming for the Māoriland Film Festival (MFF), the largest presenter of Indigenous screen content in the southern hemisphere. Year-round Madeleine supports the wider work of the trust as a centre of Māori film and creative excellence. At the centre of this is Te Uru - the Māoriland Rangatahi Strategy, which nurtures rangatahi to find their voice through film and develop the practical skills to tell their unique stories.

    Day 2

    Tufulasi Taleni

    Senior academic and Kaiārahi Pasifika, University of Canterbury

    Tufulasi champions Pasifika knowledge, learning content and context, fosters relationships with Pasifika families and community and promotes Pasifika education throughout the College of Education, Health and Human Development. A current PhD student, his doctoral studies focus on the impact of effective leadership in making a better start for Pasifika students in their learning, health and wellbeing.

    Amber Taylor

    CEO, ARA Journeys
    Ngāti Mutunga, Te Āti Awa, Ngāti Whātua, Te Rarawa, Ngapuhi

    ARA Journeys is a mobile gaming company that blends the digital world with the natural environment and indigenous narratives. Inspired by and drawing on her Māori culture, ARA’s award-winning games use immersive technologies (AR, MR, XR) and artificial intelligence (AI) to promote connection, education, and exploration. Amber is passionate about growing indigenous representation in STEAM subjects.

    Dahlia Malaeulu


    A Samoan New Zealander with connections to the village of Vaivase tai and Sinamoga in Sāmoa, Dahlia is an author, publisher and creator of Mila's Books - stories that help our tamaiti to be seen, heard and valued as Pasifika. She is also a passionate educator and advocate for Pasifika education, who enjoys creating stories and rich Pasifika literacy resources that develop cultural confidence amongst tamaiti (children), fanau (families) and faiā'oga (educators).

    Māia Goldsmith

    Ngāi Tuhoe me Ngā Whakatohea

    As a young hine Māori who was suspended, stood-down and eventually expelled three times, Māia brings an experience of what it is like to be excluded from the education system and ‘fall through the cracks’. She will share her journey from being labelled an ‘at-risk’ youth to completing her second Bachelor’s degree this year.

    This session contains sensitive content, which may be disturbing or traumatising to some audiences. Attendee discretion is advised. If you or someone you know may need support please contact Sexual Abuse Education.

  • Edutainment

    Edutainment Edutainment

    This year we’ve introduced edutainment to the programme ‒ education and entertainment in one hit!

    We’re excited to have the iconic musician Laughton Kora performing and sharing a kōrero centred around our uLearn21 theme; Aotearoa e tōnui nei | Thriving Aotearoa.

    The amazing Jamie Berry is performing a live VJ set (a multi-sensory, multi-media experience) that explores the past, present and future of Aotearoa through her DNA and whakapapa.

    Suli Tuitaupe will bring an afternoon energiser with Island Dance Beats, a Pacific dance inspired group fitness session.

    Join us and enjoy the edutainment!

    Laughton Kora

    Laughton plays keyboard, guitar, bass, harmonica, drums, lead and back-up vocals & can do backflips and breathe fire!

    He has been playing music since the age of 6, appearing on stage as part of his father’s band until 17 years old. He won SmokeFree RockQuest with his band Aunty Beatrice, toured New Zealand and released a single. He moved to Queenstown and formed Soul Charge with KP (Sunshine Sound System) and PDiggs (Shapeshifter).

    In 2001 he headed to Wellington and formed KORA (2003-2012) with his brothers performing shows and festivals across Aotearoa and around the world.

    Since 2013 Laughton has forged ahead with his own solo career producing music, acting and directing, teaching and performing live music.

    Jamie Berry

    Jamie is a multidisciplinary artist who creates large scale multimedia artworks that explore Aotearoa histories while reflecting on identity and whakapapa. Originally from Tūranganui-a-kiwa and based in Pōneke, Jamie draws inspiration from both locations.

    Jamie’s work engages indigenous issues close to home making connections between past, present, and future. Jamie creates narratives through her DNA-based soundscape, moving image, and installation. Jamie is also a founding and active member of 7558 Collective. Jamie recently was a finalist in the Kiingi Tuheitia portrait awards now exhibiting at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington.


    Suli Tuitaupe

    “O lou soifua maloloina lelei! - Health is wealth!”

    Suli is passionate about health and wellbeing, and the promotion of physical activity. His passion stems from supporting, inspiring, and empowering individuals to take ownership of their health status and wellness.

    Working as a practice nurse in Aranui, Christchurch, Suli is also the clinical and health promotion team leader for Tangata Atumotu, a Pacific non-government organisation. Suli advocates for our most vulnerable, with the goal of improving health outcomes for families and communities.