LEARNING MODEL Based on the Octopus of Great Wisdom
True Potential Learning Model has been passed down by Dr Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere CBE of Aotearoa (New Zealand). It is called The Octopus of Great Wisdom – Te Wheke.
The Octopus model of Great Wisdom, has been adopted by Aotearoha Kawanatanga and has become a central part of the training and learning. The model is a holistic model of learning, teaching and well-being that is amenable to in depth examination and development. The Octopus of Great Wisdom model, presents the octopus as a symbol representing the family unit and community. Each of the eight tentacles of the octopus represents a dimension of selfhood, and the numerous suckers on each tentacle represent the many aspects within each dimension. The tentacles of the octopus are overlapping and intertwined to symbolise the interconnected and inseparable nature of the dimensions. The dimensions of the octopus, represented by the tentacles as: 1. The Spiritual Dimension 2. The Physical World 3. Breath, Treasures That Have Come Down 4. Divine Vested Authority 5. Kinship Ties, Extended Family across the universe 6. “The Hidden Mother” The female who is known and also hidden – the mind 7. Relating to the Emotions and Senses 8. Life Principle, Ethos, Psyche
The model proposes that sustenance is required for each tentacle/dimension if the organism is to attain total well-being. Total well-being is the seed of life. It is a concept which incorporates the foundations of life and existence and the total well-being and development of people. The model is applicable to individuals and to small and large groups. Pere’s model, along with other models of Maori selfhood, provides a framework within which dimensions may be explored and understood in a number of ways.
This model of learning and teaching has been transmitted from our ancient ancestors Nga Potiki and Nga Uri- A- Maui, who have always lived here in New Zealand as Peace- keepers, and intermarried with our other ancestors who came to New Zealand in the Great Fleet from the Pacific Islands approximately a thousand years ago. There is a mergence of the “8” tentacles of the Octopus, with its Head, its Stomach, and its Three Hearts, which is an awesome insight in itself. The eight dimensions are as follows:-
1) Wairua / Spiritual Dimension Wairua, the Divine Parents, the Great Spirit, the Creators of everything across the universe, are regarded as the presence and breath of everything. Wairua is an apt description of the spirit. The Spirit itself is on a physical journey. There are both the positive and negative streams for one to consider. Everything has wairua, for example, water can give or take life. It is a matter of keeping a balance.
Just as every culture has its own unique way of responding to spirituality so it is with each child. The physical realm is immersed and integrated with spiritual realm. A powerful belief in spirituality governs and influences the way one interacts with other people, and relates to her or his environment.
The natural place to worship/communion with Wairua is Papatuanuku – Mother Earth where one can relate to the hills, spaces of water, the heavens, everything that is a part of us. The communication is at any time, with any one, any where, and any place. The day begins, flows, and ends with the Love for our Divine Source.
2) Taha Tinana / The Physical World The mother nurtures, cherishes and blesses her child through the sacred waters of her womb. Approximately nine months after the sacred seed from the male unites with the sacred river of life from the female parent a precious child is born to water. Every one is sacred and requires a set of disciplines to ensure that the sacred nurturing continues.
Our country is a wonderful country with many treasures of its natural environment. Children can explore, experiment and test themselves in numerous ways. Different forms of recreation and physical exercises are encouraged to help develop agility, dexerity, rhythm, coordination, balance, harmony, poise, stamina and the sheer joy of being a child and alive. Children are encouraged to participate in challenging tasks, games and exercises as soon as possible. Maori hand games, stick games and posture dances are known across the world.
The Physical Body is the “Kai Pupuri / the Keeper” of the Spirit, which is eternal. It also houses the Divine Mother Energy, on my left side, the Divine Child Energy/ Inner Universe, in the Centre, and the Divine Father Energy, on my right side. The Divine is within. The body is sacred, a temple, particularly the Head and the Genital Region.
There is a resurgence of traditional foods, herbal medicines much to the delight of health conscious communities. The basic aim for each individual is to find an appropriate health package that can cater for his or her individual needs. Everyone is a universe, temple and needs to have dominion over herself or himself. The Physical Body is a “miracle in expression”, to the “enth” degree. One shall pay tribute to their Divine Parents, and Birth Parents for giving them life!
3) Ha Taonga Tukuiho / Breath, Treasures That Have Come Down. Ha is the breath of life form, Wairua (spirit) and the treasure can mean possessions, property, or anything that is highly prized, or highly prized practices and beliefs of our forebearers, our ancestors.
One shall treasure the strands of their cultural cloak. Our songs, music, dances, stories, history, art forms, rituals of welcome and celebration, reinforce our identity, and absolute uniqueness. We celebrate and see each day as perfect, through song and laughter, and just being who we are.
Some of these cultural practices bring in a kinship parenting system which includes an open display of strong affection and caring for children. Grandfathers, fathers, particularly spend as much time with their young offspring as the mother and grandmothers.
One important belief is that Wairua has given a unique heritage to each and every culture across the world. No culture is more or less important than another – to suggest that there is, is to criticise the Godhead. The culture a child is born into is likened to an ancient path that is well sign posted for the child to walk along. What real right has anyone got to change the sign post? If a child is expected to determine his or her own future, or course of direction, then the assumption is made that the child will need to know as much as possible about his or her own ‘roots’ in the past. The way that one transmit their culture helps make cultural diversity enriching and exciting. We see ourselves as ONE with Papatuanuku our Earth Mother, and Rangi our Sky Father of the Far Flung Heavens.
Mana as a concept is beyond translation from the Maori language. Its meaning is multi-form and includes psychic influence, control, prestige, power, vested and acquired authority and influence, being influential or binding over others, and that quality of the individual that others know she or he has!
The most important mana however is mana atua -divine right from the Creator. Every one has mana atua – no more, no less. This form of mana recognises the absolute uniqueness of the individual. Everything across the universe has mana atua, in that everything was created by the Creator. A leaf, a blade of grass, a spider, a bird, a fish all have the same divine right as a human. The challenge is to feel for what this really means.
Some Mauri Leaders with various forms of mana are very humble and are known to do the most mundane chores around the home and the community generally. These leaders know who and what they are and what their role is in terms of their own heritage. These leaders do not feel threatened by a materialistic, industrial culture. These leaders do not feel threatened by any other culture or system – they know what their destiny is.
Every tribe has mana and is always respected and recognised by other tribes regardless of past differences. Every culture has mana and the traditional welcome of the Mauri upholds this very important basic belief. The sacred mountains, rivers and lands are brought into speeches and songs as symbols to help enhance such occasions. The “Hongi” (pressing of noses) in greeting, is a tradition that reminds us, that we are interrelated to all living things that exist!
5) Whanaungatanga / Kinship Ties, Extended Family across the universe Kinship ties is based on ancestral, historical, traditional and spiritual ties. It forms that strong bond that influences the way one lives and reacts to his/her kinship groups and people generally, the world, the universe. It is the area where one’s unconditional love based on the same divine presence and breath of life is tested to the fullest extent. It is an area that can pose challenges or an individual who has to live in and out of differenct idealogies, for example the Maori People and Queen Victoria’s representative signed a Treaty in 1840 called Te tiriti o Waitangi. The English partner stood for the Crown, a symbol that stood for the divine right of Kings, while the Maori partner stood for the divine right of everything across the universe.
We believe in the ONENESS and not separation.We were taught to respect and be ONE with all living things, including “that every living thing that seeks sustenance from our Earth Mother is Family from the Central Sun”. Everything across the universe is inter-related and is perfect until it is compared to something else, or is influenced by negative forces. The family that does something together that enables each member to feel that he/she has a niche and is important is the one that engenders pride, unity and a real sense of belonging.
6) Hinengaro/ “The Hidden Mother” The female who is known and also hidden – the mind The female is the conscious whole of the mind including the hidden, closed consciousness. TheHidden Mother refers to the mental, intuitive and ‘feeling’, seat of the emotions. Thinking, knowing, percieving, remembering, recognising, feeling, abstracting, generalising, sensing, responding, and reacting are all processes of the Hidden Mother – the mind. The open intuitive mind, the personficiation that listens and feels for what has to be communicated pursues things such as the arts, study, activities important to one’s existence.
The closed conscious mind and personification stands for rational understandings. Maori education includes intuitive intelligence linked to the Creators – the Divine Parents who are the beginning and ending of all things.The skills of martial arts are based on close observations of nature. Those who are trained in the martial arts are expected to stand tall like the trees in the forest, to move with lithe spirit of birds, to have the stamina and prowess of land and sea creatures. To watch a Maori who is well versed in the traditional martial arts is to observe poetry in motion.
The importance of developing is close observation skills and further understandings. When one uses their whole brain, one can move into the super consciousness, and confidently make up a tune and lyrics for a song at the same time. The Right Brain links into, and crosses over to the Mother Energy on the left hand side, and the Left Brain links into, and crosses over to the Father Energy on the right hand side.
True Potential Learning has no boundaries and absolutely fearless so that no one can tamper with the mind. The mind must be free to move in an infinite direction.
7) Ranga Whatumanawa / Relating to the Emotions and Senses. An important part of a child’s development relates to his or her emotions. So much can be gained and learned from observing and reacting appropriately to children’s emotional responses. Every child has innate creativity and the source of energy that stems from emotions can do much to develop this important part of a child.
Expressing emotion can help release tension, or express feelings from the heart. The energy that “one gives out, is what one gets back!” Babies, and children who have not been programmed by the State or Religion, can “read” us, and let us know exactly what they think and feel about us.
There is a time and a place for every emotion that a human being can have. Every emotion has both a negative and positive side to it. For example; Positive could be unconditional love and Negative could be possessive love. Again Positive would be hate of cruelty to children and Negative could be hate of children.
In the Mauri culture it is not unusual to see both men and women cry for sadness or sometimes joy. Tears are regarded as coming from the sacred pool of healing. No one is seen to be too emotional in these contexts – the emphasis is on the joy of being both human and divine.
8) Mauri / Life Principle, Ethos, Psyche It is a challenge to find the English equivalent to this concept. Each individual has a Mauri that remains throughout his or her existence. At conception, the “mauri ora” comes in as absolutely unique to the individual, and has been held by other people in the past. All living things, lakes, rivers, the sea, the bush and buildings have a Mauri that should be appreciated and respected. It helps one to relate and care for everyone and everything across the universe. Mauri is an indepth term and is one that can pertain to an individuals psyche alongside other people, or it can also pertain to a talisman, the physical symbol of the hidden principle that protects vitality, fruitfulness, etcetera.
How carefully do we feel for and consider the Mauri of each child in our care? Have we done everything we can to build up that Mauri, or do we damage it in a small way each day? It is the right of the child to get the best from the family or commuity she or he lives in. If a child feels that she or he is respected and accepted, then her or his mauri waxes. Do we consider the Mauri of other living things? Do we feel the Mauri of the bush, the Mauri of the sea, the Mauri of the stars, the Mauri of the sun? How much do we respect, appreciate and care about these sorts of issues? What about the Mauri of Papatuanuku Earth Mother? Papatuanuku gives and we continue to take. An important tradition of the Maori is to plant another tree or trees should one be chopped down and used. Some of the first Europeans who came to Aotearoa scoffed at the Maori and their Gods. What they did not fully appreciate was the fact that everything in the universe is regarded as having the same divine right. All the influences that one feels are personified as much as possible so that one can see herself and himself as being inter-related with everything across the universe.
When a person dies physically, the “Mauri ora” changes status, and becomes an “soul energy”, that can be grounded on this plane. When any loved ones die physically, we make sure to send both the “wairua” and “soul energy” of the individual, HOME, to our Divine Source. The “Mauri” is a Life Force that comes from the Central Sun the Divine Spark, and therefore needs to return home, alongside the “wairua”.
SUBJECTS The True Potential Learning comprises introductions and orientations in a multitude of vital subject matters whilst also allowing time for reflections, practice, cooperation and socialization – practices that are fundamental for a fulfilling life. Students are free to structure their own curricula to ensure continued enthusiasm in the learning environment. Subjects include but are in no way limited to: Ecology Science & technology Language Mathematics Ethics Permaculture & ecological farming Eco-philosophy New-economics Healing & wellness Arts & crafts Meditation Natural design Indigenous wisdom music