What brings a Kawerau sports leadership kaiako, the game of basketball and tikanga Māori together? The World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education (WIPCE) of course.
Kaiako Jordaan Tuitama attended WIPCE in Toronto Canada last month and has returned home with even more passion for his mahi.
WIPCE is held every three years and attracts indigenous education experts and representatives from around the world to share successes and strategies for indigenous education.
Jordaan says he's returned home with more passion for what he does and the desire to empower people.
"Spending time with other indigenous cultures, up close and personal has changed my life," he says.
"I now know where I am going, where I can contribute and how I can influence change within my community."
He says sharing stories with other indigenous people was empowering.
"Collectively we've been oppressed by a similar if not the same oppressor so our stories are intertwined and by sharing our ideas and approaches we are bettering our current state as indigenous people."
The 30-year-old's presentation at WIPCE was about revitalising culture through basketball and he found he wasn't the only one thinking along those lines.
"I met a high school teacher from Ontario who coaches basketball in his community and we’re looking at how we can collaborate, share ideas and connect our students. I also met a lady who delivers a netball programme in Western Australia and shared my ideas with her on indigenous approaches to sports," he says.
Jordaan's rangahau, dubbed 'Basketballtanga - An indigenous approach to basketball and youth development', looks at teaching fundamental basketball skills using Atua Māori to reclaim identity.
His coaching frames terms such as defence as Tāne, by relating the separation of Rangi and Papa to the keeping the offence away from the hoop. He also correlates Offence to Tangaroa, passing as Tawhirimātea, and shooting as Tūmatauenga.
As the son of former Tall Black Adrian Tuitama, Jordaan knows how transferrable sport skills can be and how these concepts can be used as tools for change.
"My dad would say good coaches win championships but great coaches win relationships. As a kaiako I find links between coaching, physical activity and health and well-being initiatives and I take these as opportunities for tauira to gain experiential insights and learnings," he says.
"We've coached primary school basketball and are part of the Kawerau Urban Food Forest project and this semester we'll look to run weekly hoops nights as our community event to promote our programme. This is where we connect with rangatahi and utilise my rangahau."
Jordaan says attending WIPCE with other experienced kaimahi not only informed his practice as an educator, but ignited his passion.
"WIPCE was a good opportunity to share what we have in the Kawerau community and expose our story," he says.
"Our participation validates our need in rural communities where whānau do not have the educational opportunities that bigger towns and cities offer. For communities such as mine, the experience gained speaks volumes."