Finding our WHY?

In mid 2017 we started on a journey at Waitara East School to find our WHY. This was based on an idea  by Simon Sinek and follows a simple model that operates on three levels: what we do, how we do it, and why we do it. We found that most of our community could tell us what we did as a school and how we did it, but very few could deeply articulate why we did what we did. So we started to work on developing our own WHY using Sinek’s Golden Circle Model. 

The Waitara East WHY

The Tamariki of Waitara East School! This is our WHY!

Through collaboration with staff, students, whānau and the community, we developed a student profile that everyone felt best described what we wanted our tamariki to be when they left our Kura. Our Student Profile is made up of 3 areas: Tū, Ora and Ako. Each area has attributes that we want our students to grow their understanding of during their time at Waitara East School. All of these things are underpinned by our Kura’s values Manaakitanga, Angitu, Ngākaunui and Aroha (MANA).

Our Belief Statement

After we had consulted with our community and established the Student Profile, we reviewed our Mission and Vision Statement, and again through collaboration and consultation our belief statement of Kei te Tū, Kei te Ora, Kei te Ako was developed. We felt this helps us express our WHY in a way that when read, you knew it related directly to Waitara East School. These headings are explained below:

Kei te Tū, Kei te Ora, Kei te Ako.

Our Guiding Principles


The Waitara East School curriculum is conceptual in nature, inquiry based, future focused and promotes self-efficacy that results in student initiated action. It is learner centred, draws on and adds to parent, whānau, and community knowledge while developing and exploring student identity, health, language and culture. Waitara East School believes and implements the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) philosophy.


Leaders, teachers and learners transform information into actionable practices by collecting, analysing, interpreting and communicating all types of data (qualitative and quantitative) to help determine next steps in the learning process. We combine our understanding of data with curricular knowledge and pedagogy to inform how we can support children to learn best.


Internal and external communication at Waitara East School is clear, inclusive, accurate and timely.

Leadership and Collaboration

Teachers and leaders at Waitara East School collaboratively involve themselves in planning, coordinating and evaluating the curriculum and teaching. Leaders, teachers, support staff and students together attend to the relationships, structures and processes that promote equality. We are committed to working collaboratively and engaging in professional conversations to continue the development of our own professional capability.

Whānau and Community Connections

We regularly, effectively and proactively identify, and draw on community resources and expertise to increase learning opportunities to enhance student achievement and well being. Parents and whānau are the primary, ongoing influence of the development, learning, well being and self-efficacy of their children. Te Atiawatanga beliefs, values and practices are strongly reflected and connected to the inherent identity, language and culture of our learners and whānau.