Etu Ao, which means 'Morning Star', is a programme providing home based education and care for families in Porirua. Based on the Pacific tradition of extended family caring for children, Etu Ao offers a strong educational programme within the culture and comfort of a home environment.
Etu Ao educators work in partnership with qualified teachers to create positive learning environments and experiences for children.
Etu Ao is provided by Whānau Manaaki and funded by the Ministry of Education.
Etu Ao is for:
Families needing an in-home educator – One of our Visiting Teachers will contact you to find an educator who meets the needs and aspirations (relating to culture, language, religion, education and care) you have for your child.
Families with an existing informal carer – If you already have an informal care arrangement, you and your carer can benefit from our programme.
Carers, or people new to childcare, who would like to become Etu Ao Educators – If you want to train for an educator role, you can take part in our programme. Our programme is open to people with or without experience. We welcome parents who want to stay home with their child and become an educator for additional children (maximum of four, including their own children).
We work with more than 200 Pacific families to help them realise their dreams and aspirations. We start with where families are at and what their goals are, rather than telling families how they should live. We celebrate our Pacific heritage, and we get together to help families celebrate their heritage and bridge gaps within families to create better understanding between the generations.
We help people from the Pacific navigate the financial problems of modern urban life, including debt, home ownnership, car purchases etc. We look at stumbling blocks to progress and help people gain qualifications, driving licenses and achieve their dreams.
We support families to support their children for success in education and in life. We start with peoples’ strengths and build on those to create a successful life for the whole family. We support Pacific values of community, culture, language, spirituality, generosity and service. Our services are offered in the spirit of Pacific partnership.
We have a track record of success. We support every family to achieve their own success on their own terms. We are funded through Pasifika Futures, the government’s commissioning agency.
Supporting our community through giveaway days
One of the many ways He Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens supports its community is through regular giveaway days. A wide range of quality goods are given away including adults’ and children’s clothing, books, toys, furniture and kitchen equipment. The days are held at Nuanua Kindergarten in Cannons Creek in Porirua East.
Our community giveaway days support low income families from across the wider community – not only those who have children enrolled in one of our kindergartens. Whānau Manaaki staff pitch in to help run these popular Saturday events, which complement our many other services to families and the community.
Our Whānau ora team meets with the Prime Minister
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s May visit to Toru Fetu Kindergarten was a fantastic opportunity to hear from Whānau Manaaki’s Whanau Ora navigators about problems with predatory lenders taking advantage of families in financial difficulty.
The Prime Minister’s visit was timed to publicise new consumer laws limiting interest rates charged by short-term and ‘payday’ lenders and mobile truck shops, which drive round low income neighbourhoods offering overpriced goods with weekly repayments. The Prime Minister was accompanied by Consumer Affairs Minister and local MP, Kris Faafoi. Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens made submissions on the
new law when it was in its early stages, and some of our suggestions were included in changes to the original bill, including a cap on interest rates which in some cases were being set at more than
600 per cent per year.
Community navigator Moamoa Faleafaga says that while the reforms are good, there is room for more of a crackdown. His comments were reported in the media at the time. “The impact is huge in regard to the
Whānau Manaaki’s book launch
In 2020, Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens moved into the world of publishing with the creation of the book
There is a shortage of Pacific language books, particularly for the smaller Pacific communities in New Zealand, and this book helps to fill that gap. The book, which has been published in Māori, Samoan, Cook Island Māori, Tongan, Tokelauan, Niuean, and Tuvaluan, is designed so that teachers and families can easily read it to children.
It features four-year-old Atanise Marsters Lotomanu who attended Toru Fetu Kindergarten,
and her extended family. One of the editors, Caroline Mareko, says starting school can be an anxious time, and the book can help children and families to prepare for the big day. “We wanted to show the experience as a positive and happy one for both the children and their families,” said Caroline. “It’s also important for children to see their community and their experiences reflected in the books they read.”
Caroline Mareko honoured for her contribution
In July, Lealamanu’a Aiga Caroline Mareko, Whānau Manaaki’s manager of communities and participation, gathered with her family at Government House to receive her Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the Pacific community and education.
Here are some of the details from the citation:
Caroline Mareko is a Senior Manager for Whānau Manaaki Kindergartens, Chair of Aotea College Board of Trustees and Chairperson of the Wellington Region Pasifika Services Board. She is involved with Kapiti Mana Pasifika Services Network. She has held many voluntary committee and board positions. She was a member of the National Executive of the New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa and represented the Institute on the Council of Pacific Education Executive. She leads and organises events for pinikilicious, which promotes health and wellbeing for Pacific women. Ms Mareko was the Central South region Pacific Education Coordinator at the Ministry of Education, overseeing the Pasifika Education Plan.
We are very proud of Aiga and the work she continues to do for Whānau Manaaki and for the wider Pacific community.
Fa’amalo lava te taumafai. Malo lava le tauivi.
Whanau Manaaki Kindergartens has several Pacific language kindergartens and Pacific focused kindergartens as well as our Etu Ao homebased service in Porirua and Levin.
In Porirua, there’s Toru Fetu, our award winning kindergarten that nurtures the Cook Island, Niue and Tuvaluan languages. There’s Nuanua Kindergarten, also in Porirua, which celebrates Samoan and Tokelauan languages and cultures.
In Levin, Fanau Pasifika Kindergarten wlecomes all children to its service that honours Pacific culture and values.
In Whanganui, Gonville Kindergarten has strong links to the Pacific community.
All our 102 kindergartens embrace the Pacific learning strategy, Tapasa, which supports teachers and staff to honour Pacific culture and values.
Questions or queries?
Call or email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 021 222 5997 or 04 232 1658.
Staff in our organisation speak Samoan, Cook Islands Māori, Māori, Tokelauan and Niuean so you can email or ask that someone calls and speaks to you in one of these languages.