2021 EC MENz Summit

The Summit began with a welcome to all and then a direct link to Scotland where Kenny Spence from men in Childcare spoke about their initiatives in not only recruiting but also training men to work with young children. He was joined by Jerry Parr and both talked about issues facing the recruitment of Men as Early Childhood Teachers and also of the World Forum working group.




The next session was led by Matt Te Maro focussing on Takaro Tinana in which he referenced literature by Frances Carlson on Big Body Play and Essential Touch.



Matt is a trained Early Childhood Teacher and is now working at a local school in the Northland area where he is working with young children. His focus in particular is to bring a bicultural approach to physicality and link it to key concepts and understandings that help keep physical children balanced in their development. One of the key aims in helping children to develop is to help them learn to self regulate and to do this they need to move regularly. He discussed the concept of Te Whare Tapa Whā in which if all is in balance the children will thrive – but if one or more dimension of development is out of balance it will impact on their total well being.

He stated that the need for physicality should be catered for in our daily education environments. Just as a childhood interest in the arts and literacy are built upon- so should their physical skills and we need teachers who are able to do this. He talked about how important it is to teach the correct skills in engaging physically with others and you do this by slowing down the movements and then allow them to practice. Matt believes that teaching children to engage physically with others helps them develop confidence in themself and their movements, develop empathy of others, and helps guide social behaviours in recognising that others can be different in their abilities and tolerance.

He believes that the burning of energy helps centre the child's wairua and it also connects children to papatuanuku and their whenua.

Matt showed us how he taught children to tackle( on their knees) as in rugby using the mat to give children soft landing and going through it slowly. By doing so children didn’t get hurt and had time to perfect the movements. He also talked about knee wrestling so children didn’t fly about and hurt others – this keeps it controlled and allows all to participate. He also talked about the noodle fights in which children can engage (with rules) each other without getting hurt.

A discussion was also held on barriers and most were due to adults fearing children were going to get hurt or that by promoting such physicality you were encouraging violence. In terms of fear Matt’s perspective is that by teaching skills you are reducing the risk and he believes that you cant get a child to assess risk if they haven't experienced risk. The more you train the child the fear will lessen and he stated “fear is just challenging our brain to the next step”. He also used the term “learning injuries” (which will also feature in the next presentation) which rightly suggests that endeavour will sometimes not go to plan but that experience will help reinforce correct technique and become part of learning.

After morning tea Robin Christie presented “Playful Aggression”

He stated the difference between real aggression and playful aggression is intent. Playful aggression is part of Fantasy Play /Social Play and it is through this play that children make sense of their real world. Playful aggression allows them to explore their sense of agency in complex moral concepts such as Fairness and Social Justice. Robin talked about how Superheroes have a strong moral compass and he shared many wise words from our array of Superheroes that indeed displayed this.

Playful Aggression is also about social connectedness and it helps children inoculate themselves as they explore their fears and emotions. It is through play that children can safely experience fear and anger which also helps emotional regulation as opposed to banning playful aggression which can create danger, frustration and drives the play underground or teaches children to lie to preserve their play choices/interests. Robin also demonstrated how to make Balloon launchers

To encourage playful aggression you can use competitiveness as an encourager – you can set goals to achieve, you can encourage a challenge between others or set individual(self) goals. Ideas also raised were to encourage children to shake hands before a competition or a challenge (such as targets for balls) and focusing on being a good winner and gracious loser, create group rules before engagements, Roleplay situations using storytelling, sock wrestling on the mat (child has to pull other child's sock off ), Zombie outbreaks, challenging colleagues to identify learning in such play so they unpack the value and encourage risk within the play.

Robin reiterated the need to stay connected to the children’s play so you can understand what is happening. Engage with the children using positive language and open-ended questions. Allow their ideas to carry over time and set rules to protect the participants. It is really important that we acknowledge there are high energy learners in our curriculum and that their needs also need to be met

Robin finished the session with a reminder that No research shows real aggression is linked to playful aggression and that real aggression in children’s play is strongly associated with aggression experienced in their real world.

The Final session of the day was a presentation by Dr Cara Swit from Canterbury University on Relational Aggression.

Her perspective is that as teachers we are very focused on physical aggression and often rate this as much more damaging than relational aggression. What we do know is that relational aggression has a significant impact on a child's well being but is less often focused on by teachers. She gave some examples of behaviours and asked us to rate the severity of them in terms of consequences for the child. We were then asked to compare our responses and certainly, there was much more importance placed on the physical hurt rather than the emotional.

Cara argues that stand downs for child behaviour have been increasing and that she believed it is much better to teach and support children with challenging behaviour than separate them. She believes we need to be doing more in early intervention as challenging behaviours significantly impact the quality of caregiver/child relationships. Parents with children with behaviour issues go on a journey – it is like a grieving process where they are often scared to say something as it might be seen as a reflection on them but often will say thank goodness when a teacher says they are struggling with the child as they have most often been too.

When working with these families whakawhanaungatanga is critical and we need to reflect on the child’s behaviour as well as the parents. Cara stated that she believes no child wakes up thinking they are going to ruin your day and that behaviour is influenced by a wide host of influences. She states behaviour is communication and it is our job as teachers to be the investigator of what is going on. Do we do this by examining their behaviours and what is the action telling us about the child? What is the payoff- in other words, what reward is the child receiving from their actions?

She believes every behaviour has a function and if we investigate the behaviour we need to ask what are they getting by doing this? She used the iceberg analogy – if we see a child lash out we see the behaviour but we don’t see what is happening below the waterline. Our immediate response is that we need to respond to the top of the iceberg – if we deal with what is under we don’t then need then to respond to the top as the behaviour will not occur.

She believes ECE is mostly reactive – responses are automatic, impulsive and often hostile behaviour is used in response to a perceived threat and being proactive can often equal heavy control in some places. She suggests we need to look at our belief systems to see if we need to change these as it is much easier to change the behaviour of children if we change ours. Cara likes the ‘Kind words’ rule where we model the words we want to hear and suggests team meetings to encourage some critical reflections to help promote consistent behaviours.

Using time to talk to children each time they have displayed a challenging behaviour and be as proactive as possible to prevent behaviours that are not wanted. We do this using empathy, problem-solving and coaching where we help children to use kind words to help de-escalate negative events. We can also help support children's learning by modelling appropriate behaviour and using at least 4 positive reinforcements to 1 Negative one.

There was much discussion at the end of the session over effective strategies to us and she ended again by encouraging us to google and read up on Functional Behaviour Assessment

She also recommended the book “Whole Brain Child” by Daniel Sebel as a good read.


Between the presentations, the Adam Buckingham Award was presented to ECE Equality Group from Victoria University who have been a very active and progressive networking Group that have supported men in their training and were very worthy winners of this trophy over 2020-21 year.

Our annual presentation of the Inukshuk presented to us by Ron Blatz from Canada in 2010 was presented to Mark White who for the second time was a worthy winner for investing his time and mahi in making this successful Summit hum…..Thanks again Mark for your time, advice and leg work for making this work in the most unusual times.

Ngā mihi nui

Russell Ballantyne

Report on the EC- Menz Summit held at Gems Shotover Country

16 to 18 March 2018

Friday 16 March
The conference began with kai, followed by the famous EC-MENz AGM. Again it was a most fabulous occasion with the report on events for 2017 being tabled along with the financials being presented.
An offer was received for the 2019 Summit to be hosted in Whanganui on the weekend of 17, 18, 19 May which was dutifully accepted. The meeting closed at 8.27 pm and the group adjourned to network and connect.

Saturday 17th March
The morning began with a session led by Karen Hayward (from Interlead) Titled “Getting Wired – Knowing your “Why” to up your motivation and Growing your resilience to thrive as a professional.
This was a fascinating session in which we were challenged to look at why we do what we do and how to keep the motivation to make a difference every day. The were to maximise the success of every learner is a big task and depends greatly on our shoulders as teachers. Karen highlighted recent stats that suggested more than 60% of New Zealand employees were not engaged in their work while another 15% were deemed to be totally disengaged. She then went on to discuss forms of motivation and how important Intrinsic Motivation is to drive our behaviour – with a strong connection to the “Tom Sawyer” effect where you turn work into play. Intrinsic behaviour also promotes greater physical and mental well being.

But to be Motivated Intrinsically teachers need Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose

Autonomy is the desire to direct our own lives and it is acting with choice and Karen related that teachers need autonomy over Task, Time, Technique and from the team. If teachers have autonomy this has a powerful affect on performance and attitude and leads to engagement. If engaged then more likely to seek Mastery.

Mastery is defined as the urge to get better and better at something that matters. For Mastery to occur teachers need an inquiring mind, a willingness to experiment, to be open to finding fresh solutions and need to “be in the flow”- living in the moment, utterly in control and engaged. Karen also highlighted the need to find Goldilocks tasks which are defined as challenges not too hot and not too cold. She explained that if what staff must do exceeds their capabilities the result is anxiety and when the must do’s fall short of their capabilities they get bored. So this balance is very important in ensuring our teachers remain motivated and excited by their work – not over nor underwhelmed.

She defined Purpose as the yearning to do something that matters and doing it well. Being a professional with purpose is “doing the things you love to do, on the days you don’t feel like doing them” Julius Erving.

Karen said those who that have purpose set goals – which are learning based not performance based. They choose their words carefully and talk of we rather than they and at the end of each day ask “was I better today than Yesterday”.

The next part of Karen's session was built around resilience and the impact change has on us.

Resilience was defined as “The ability to absorb high levels of disruptive change while displaying minimal dysfunctional behaviour” Daryl Connor.

Resilient people are not immune to change and are still impacted by it. Being resilient appears to result in the change not damaging them as much as others and they are able to see more opportunities than dangers in the turbulence of their environment.

They bounce back rather than become victims of change, The are able to maintain their physical and emotional health, they continue to achieve and their quality and productivity remain high. They remain more optimistic and are much calmer in periods of instability. In other words, resilient people tend to be optimistic and are more likely to view change as an opportunity whereas inflexible people tend to be pessimistic and view change as a danger.

The problem with danger orientated people is that they see change as a threat and can often feel victimised. Often they lack a strong sense of vision and purpose for their lives and struggle to re-orientate themselves when disruption happens. They have an either/or view of life and don’t cope with ambiguity or the grey aspects of life. They feel insecure in themselves and their ability to manage change. They are often reactive and blame others for the problems caused by change and they can be immobilised and react with fear denial and complacency.

Whereas opportunity orientated people view challenge as a natural part of life and can come to view it as an opportunity or advantage, they expect confusion and use their strong life vision to guide them through this. They see disruptions and problems as being a part of life and minimise negative events and its impact on their lives. They don’t invest time in an effort trying to change what they cant and are creative in overcoming obstacles. These people are just as vulnerable as the danger orientated people but the difference is in how they react to the dangers/challenges as they meet them.

By looking at motivation and resilience, this helped set the benchmark for performance as a professional in a rapidly changing world. Karen has a really simple model of professionalism in which she had a line and put the motivation and resilient attributes above it and said we must always aim to keep above the line – this is what professionalism is. We are naturally wired to go below the line and seek safety but we must be strong to keep in focus and at the end of each day ask ourselves “was I better today than yesterday?”.

The next session was led by Morgan, one of the staff at Gems Shotover country, recapping her journey that has led to their very own Forest School weekly session that is presently offered by their centre. This was a journey that began on a farm down south by Colac Bay, a teaching degree and experience in a London School and a bad Ofsted (English equivalent of ERO) report.

As a result of the bad report, a new programme was designed including the need for transformation of the outdoor area. After uninspiring designs by the professional designers, she spent time designing and improving the outdoor learning environment firstly in her home school, in the North East of London, and then in a neighbouring school. Within ten months the report was turned around and they went from a school needing special measures to one with a judgment of outstanding.

This was a good lesson in the importance of a quality outdoor environment that allowed children to test themselves. Whilst in England she completed papers on forest schools and when it was time to return home, a call from her former employer with the plan for a forest session was enough to bring her back to the future.

Morgan discussed the challenges of setting up the forest school and shared the many ideas she has gathered including the importance of looking for positives and focussing on the benefits as opposed to always looking at the risks. That is not to say that risks shouldn’t be considered – of course they are important but sometimes she considers the emphasis is heavily weighted on the dangers rather than the advantages. If we turn that emphasis around then the focus being on the benefits makes it a much more important learning experience.

Morgan then shared her paper forms to explain what they do to prepare and to ensure that risk is effectively planned for.

After this session, it was then up the hill behind the centre. This is a most wonderful hill that is on one side of the flight path of the aeroplanes landing in Queenstown. The 4 year olds at Gems climb this as a rite of passage and some of us older ones took their time to take in the sights as we meandered to the top.(There was a suggestion that there could be a café half way but no….that was local folklore and very disappointing …. however referring back to the previous session it was a wonderful motivation to keep going and pure resilience managed the ensuing disappointment!!!!) This was a wonderful and memorable way to finish the day.

A barbecue dinner again at night and time for more connection.

Sunday morning began with a discussion on strategies on how to promote Early Childhood as a great career option for men and these will be utilised throughout the year.


Message from Russell Ballantyne, EC-MENz President

We had 44 men attend our EC-MENz summit – which was held at Karaka Learning Centre in May of this year. This is an annual event and the only time where males outnumber the females in any early childhood event.

Every time I come away from this event, I am even more convinced that our sector is losing something very valuable by not having more male teachers. I have seen so many talented, fun loving individuals sharing their teaching stories of endeavour and adventure. I have heard so many stories of the differing pathways taken and the life skills accumulated which cloak these men in the way they express and deliver the learning experiences they bring into our centres.

The men who come to our summits revel in the company of others. They enjoy the male connection and that is why we structure games and down time to ensure participants have an opportunity to talk and share stories. We do this because the men working in ece are isolated. We know from research that men tend to stay in the sector if they are supported by other men. That means that men are in undergraduate classes, male trainees are posted with male associates and there are men in the same centre. With this they feel less isolated and are more likely to discuss issues and occurrences with those that are less likely to judge them. Most men, feel they have to justify why they want to work in ece in an effort to get approval from the gatekeepers – our women. This is something that most women don’t have to worry about but is a barrier to participation for our men. Our men need the approval of our women as historically it’s their turf and they own it.

This is the reality of a sector in which gender exclusion has been so dominant that it has become the norm and to think differently to this takes a much greater level of understanding that has yet to happen. I have been told by some in positions of influence that “we are over gender issues now – that was so much the ‘90s”(in reference to the girls can do anything campaign). But in reality we are not – because things in ece are no different now than they were in the 90’s (still 2% male teachers). Let’s be honest, whilst women have made some gains there are still large disparities between male/female wages and participation rates in many industries. We can talk about Company Directors and many glass ceilings yet to be broken by females. Gender issues are still there and we need to do more to change this. But we need to look in our garden too.

Jan Peeters(2007) supports the construct that early childhood education historically is seen as womens work and that as such the workforce constantly “reproduces its own patterns in recruitment and training(pg 17”). So in short the status quo perpetuates the status quo and unless something drastic happens to challenge this, it will remain so. I have really engaged with Camerons(2006) call for more critical reflection in early childhood services on men’s roles and experiences. This will help define the issues and really focus in depth on what are the processes and messages that are preventing more men from considering early childhood as a legitimate career. In 1999 Cameron, Moss and Owen pointed out that the solution to seeing working with young children as women’s work was ensuring the visibility of men and women, both as categories and in their infinite variety. There is the fear that as long as we have so few men there will be the expectations that they will be expected to do “mens” roles – which will be very stereotypical and limited. To guard against this it is important to get more men in their infinite variety so that our children will see that men can fulfil a wide range of tasks and skills – something each of our annual summits illustrate beautifully. So if we can achieve a greater participation rate for male teachers in our sector it’s clearly a win/win for gender constraints – women are not bound to the nursery and men can move away from the tool bench…..magic!!!!

Cameron , C , Moss, P, &Owen, C (1999), Men In the Nursery: gender and Caring work, London, Paul Chapman
Cameron, C (2006 ) “Men in the Nursery Revisited: Issues of male workers and professionalism” in Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood, Vol 7, Number 1
Peters, J ( 2007) “Including Men In Early Childhood Education: Insights from the European Experience” in New Zealand
Research in Early Childhood Education Vol 10

About the author
Russell Ballantyne is President of EC MENz and has been teaching in ECE since 1983. He’s worked in a variety of roles, kindergarten teacher, head teacher, Senior teacher, General Manager and Visiting lecturer and is now a Centre Owner/Teacher at Early Childhood on Stafford in Dunedin. Russell has a strong passion about children experiencing gender diversity daily.

Summit report details compiled by Cyrus Taraporvala, EC-MENz Committee Member

The summit this year was held at Karaka Learning Centre in the Auckland region. The next one, will be in Queenstown in March 2018. Russell Ballantyne, the President of EC-MENz, opened the summit with a short address and presented the Adam Buckingham Award to Sarah Alexander of ChildForum as a recognition of her continuing support towards the need for more men in early childhood education. It was also brought to our attention that Sarah had highlighted the fact that around 2% of teaching staff were men and that she wanted the Government to introduce policy to attract more men into the profession. The response from the Ministry was that, "It has been confirmed by the Human Rights Commission that we cannot discriminate through affirmative action or by providing scholarships on the basis of gender, because men are not a disadvantaged group" (Source: Laura Dooney 2016, Stuff Education article). Apparently, it was discovered later that the Ministry had not confirmed this matter with the Human Rights Commission at all!

A forum was held to discuss strategies at the work place to help tamariki settle down, tidy up, and manage behaviour. Participants offered a number of suggestions that included singing, negotiation, modelling appropriate behaviour and offering a sense of responsibility. Other suggestions included the importance of predictable routine, yoga sessions, storytelling, and, especially for children on the autistic spectrum, puppets as a prop. The conclusion was that most importantly there must be an element of humour and playfulness.

Before the next session Robin Christie of Childspace enlightened us on how to make a tree with six sheets of newspaper. This was an interesting session as all of us attempted to create these paper trees. I’m sure it will be great making these alongside children in the work place. Robin’s energy and laughter made this short workshop fun, which highlighted the conclusion of the previous forum to suggest that there must be humour and playfulness in activities with tamariki.

The next session was held by two international speakers who were visiting Auckland to attend the World Forum. Ron Blatz from Winnipeg, Canada, and Jerry Parr from Houston, Texas. Ron presented Russell with a woven pendant made by a native American Indian. This pendant had a bear claw, which symbolised courage, strength, and leadership. He opened the address by stating that gender balance was good for children in early childhood settings. His observation was that male staff are involved in playfulness and like to have fun, whereas female staff are more involved with relationships with children. Ron also said that at his early learning centre in Winnipeg he employed young and older staff, both male and female, to offer that balance for children. Based on his observations over the years, Ron suggested that male role models for boys are very important.

Ron also discussed the content of a book titled ‘Essential Touch’ by Francis Carlson. She stated that children who experienced touch in their early years were less aggressive when they got older than those who had not experienced touch. Apparently Francis stated that in her studies she noticed that when males were present there was a higher level of touch through rough and tumble play, play fighting, and so on. Ron mentioned that at his centre they had a written policy that mentions the benefits of men touching children and that some children respond to men and some to women. There must be that diversity offered to children during this developmental stage.

Jerry Parr complimented EC-MENz on their effort to promote and support men in early childhood in New Zealand. Jerry spoke about his experience with children during their early years at Harvard and his work with Head Start, a program of the US government that provides early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and their families. He mentioned that the programme is funded and received tremendous assistance during the Obama presidency, as he was an advocate for early childhood education.

A discussion was held around strategies to get more men into the workforce and Ron suggested targeted advertising that worked, something on the lines of, “Looking for a few good men to work in childcare. Research shows us that gender balance is important in ECE”. There was also evidence to suggest that two men in the workplace offered support to each other and he suggested that women should be invited to discussions as they are the gatekeepers for employment in the sector.

David Wright, from Karaka Learning Centre, was the next speaker and talked about how presentation and delivery to children was so important. He also emphasised the fun aspect and suggested that children will be attentive if you can make them laugh. He thought that teaching through story, puppets, sounds, and action was important in the context of delivery towards children’s learning.

The day ended with a final discussion forum on how to promote ECE in schools, how to encourage younger men into the profession, and mentor programmes. In conclusion, I really enjoyed this summit as it was quite laid back and relaxed. The sessions weren’t too hurried and intense, as they were filled with laughter and fun. From a personal perspective, the day offered me support as I met other male teachers in similar working environments. I didn’t feel alone and isolated, a feeling that can creep in sometimes when working alongside all female staff in the workplace. Gender balance is so important to role model for children and the question remains, how do we get more male teachers in ECE?


The 10th Annual EC-MENz Summit was held on 8th & 9th April 2016 at BTI (Bethlehem Tertiary Institute), Bay of Plenty

Celebrating the many roles of men in ECE

2016 Summit Report




The following presentations at the Summit can be viewed as PDF


Common Ground: A place for men in the early years. A presentation by Craig d’Arcy.

"It's all sorted now isn't it?" Enactment of gender equity in the NZ teacher-led early education sector. A presentation by Maggie Lyall, Te Whiringa: School of Leadership and Policy, Faculty of Education.

Stepping out of isolation. Supporting males in Early Childhood Education through the MENtor programme. A presentation by Martyn Mills-Bayne, Lecturer at University of South Australia, Coordinator of the MENtor program for males in ECE.

The Bay of Plenty Polytechnic Early Childhood Education Centre’s Virtues based programme. Is this supporting children’s transition into school learning? A presentation by Helena Winter and Bron Griffiths.


7th Summit Report

 7th ECMENZ Summit 

This years 2013 ecmenz summit was hosted by Albert Samuel and his family and community at the Cook Island Centre, Flaxmere in Hastings. The Summit began officially on Saturday morning with a very warm Cook Island welcome by our hosts.

Adam Buckingham, ECMENZ president, delivered his opening address for the two day gathering celebrating the successes i.e. face book, the creation of an ECmenz brochure, two newsletters, the strategic plan, Sarah s Farquar nation wide research and the increase in mens participation in NZ ECE. However he also reminded us of the decrease of men attending of regional networks, the decrease in ECMenz  member ship and the need to build a united pathway to achieve our goals.

The AGM for the organisation of ECMENZ was held at the beginning of this years summit with the election of officers, committee members. There were no changes to existing structure of the ECMENZ committee. Peter Visser then presented the ECMenz Strategic Plan with the new Vision and Mission statements. The existing six goals as presented on the website have now been reduced to three clear goals. The objectives under each of the goals were also looked at in more detail. Peter will finalise these with out comes.

This year’s key note speaker, the founder of ECMENZ, Sarah Farquar, began her address with a brief history of her early involvement with the issue of the lack of men in ECE. She told us of how an interview with Kim Hill on National Radio lead to a snow ball effect of public interest in this issue. She then organised the first national meeting of men working  in ECE Christchurch giving it the unique title of a mens summit. She presented the latest national statistics celebrating the fact that we have now gone over the 2% threshold with 49 more men working in ECE . Sarahs nation wide e-survey showed that centres and staff do want more men and are willing to look at ways to achieve this. Throughout her address she put forward the idea that the concern we needed to present to the government and New Zealand people was the lack of gender diversity of those working in ECE and that a more diverse work force in ECE was linked to increased learning for children.

The second part of her address focused on the knowledge she gained from her invitation to be a presenter at a Men in ECE conference in Berlin. Some of the ideas she gained from this conference were:

  • Recognising that there are people who are interested in advocating for more men in ECE
  • The need to be able to persist through obstacles
  • Needing the cooperation of women
  • Providers needed to be involved  and invited
  • The need to be political to make change
  • The Government needs a target figure to achieve
  • Having more publicity campaigns
  • Looking at the obstacles for men participating in ECE and putting forward a range of masculinities.
  • Looking at boys in education
  • Targeting groups of ECE centres  and having pilot programmes for men
  • Look at the research project created in Germany
  • Having a coordination service that is able to field calls about training for men from services and providing PDL
  • Publicity campaigns e.g.  t-shirts of with philosopher musician artist etc.

The afternoon featured an origami and floristry workshops and visits to some centres in the region- Te Whare Aroha o Nga Mokopuna, Iron Gate Kindergarten and  Red wood Kindergarten and Day care centre.

That evening saw us back at the Cook Island Centre for a huge feast with entertainment provided. This includeded a local Cook Island group of children and young people performing traditional song and dance, the Wanganui pasifica group performing the early childhood men performing a variety of rehearsed and spontaneous songs. A wonderful fun filled evening had by all.

On Sunday morning Garth Armstrong  from the Wellington Kindergarten Association spoke to us about the Y Men project. Initially eightyoung Maori and Pasifica men from Wainuiomata were given a ten week work experience in the local kindergartens. Many of those involved in the organisation of this project had local passion and whanaunga tanga in mind. They began the project knowing that this was not going to fail that at the very least these guys were going to leave with an enhanced experience of the world. Garth emphasised the importance of wrap around support given to the men on the programme. The men were picked from their homes in the morning, they attended training as part of the programme that included cultural performance, and understanding children. He was able to show us many photos of the men working with the children and talked about some of the wonderful benefits that came out of this project for all. As a result fourmen are doing their training with Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa. The Wellington Kindergarten Association have begun a 2013 project supported by the Todd foundation.

Many thanks to Albert Samuel, his mother Taime Samuel and the Flaxmere Cook Island Community for helping organise and host the 2013 ECmenz summit.