Hitting the Heart

“Lift the lid of low expectation”

 “You are bright enough, you are gifted enough, and you are talented enough”


The keynote shared by Marcus Akuhata Brown was one I will never forget.

Marcus said it …

His message pierced my heart (and the hearts of EVERYONE in that room on that day). He is a master story-teller, a master orator. If the warp was humour and the weft was the emotion, Marcus had cleverly and sincerely woven these fibres together in the crafting of his korero in a symbolic and memorable way.

So … here is what I took from this compelling korero.

Marcus shared this: Small creatures such as fleas are incredibly powerful. Although they are small, they can jump far and high. This sort of reminded me of one of my favourite whakatauki “Ahakoa he iti he pounamu”.

BUT … if we put fleas in a jar with the lid on when they try to jump they will hit their head on the underside of the lid. When the lid is lifted, the flea will only jump as high as the lid. It has become conditioned to their environment. A powerful message which ran through his keynote …

Woven through his korero was the importance of having people who believe in you. Marcus had ONE person who believed in him … Derek Lardelli.

That one person changed his life.

“Principles have to fit our skin, our whenua”

I took from this the importance of people who allow you to succeed as yourself.

There are many ways Maori can identify with being Maori (John Leonard, 2013). Whatever ways our students identify with being Maori, placing value and importance on kaupapa Maori is a way to address educational relationships which are in contrast to those based on the dominant culture (Bishop,R. 2002). I have written more about it here.

We can do something about the disengagement of our tauira.

We can lift the lid of low expectation.

The absoluteness of relationships was clear.

The need for connections was emotional.

These three mana enhancing actions will help our kids see through a pathway of disengagement and low self efficacy.

 Lift the lids of low expectation.

 “You are bright enough, you are gifted enough, and you are talented enough”

The message was clear and emotional.

Lift the lid of low expectation.

Check out this video which also hits the heart about what is fundamentally wrong with our education systems. We start with ‘outcomes’ rather than the learners.

Connected Learning: Interest, Peer Culture, Opportunities from Connected Learning Alliance on Vimeo.


Ministry of Education. (2008). Ka Hikitia: Managing for success: The Māori education strategy 2008–2012.


2 thoughts on “Hitting the Heart

    1. Kerri says:

      Kia ora Jo-Ann. Thanks for taking the time to read and leave a comment. It truly was a keynote I will NEVER forget and I would urge anyone who has the opportunity to listen to Marcus… to do it:) Better still … get him into your kura:)


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