Parematarangi Fawcet (Nanny Pare) – rowing together for tamariki

Kuia kaumātua 1990
Life member 1993

With a whānau deeply rooted in the Waikato, Tainui and the Kingitanga, Parematarangi Fawcet was deeply involved in the bicultural journey for Te Tari Puna Ora o Aotearoa New Zealand Childcare Association (now Te Rito Maioha).

Pare’s involvement in early childhood began in the early 1980s during the early years of Kōhanga Reo, at Tauwhare near Hamilton. In 1987, Pare saw a role advertised at Koha Tamariki, a new centre setting up in Hamilton with aspirations to operate biculturally. Koha Tamariki was founded by Mary Alice Bramwell.

Pare applied for the position. Her role was to speak te reo Māori with the children and guide protocol and tikanga Māori. Pare was at first uncertain what to do. She recalled how when she saw a baby crying, ‘I just said, “Come to Nan”.’ She was thereafter ‘Nan’ or ‘Nanny Pare’ to all the children, and was a Kuia Kaumātua at Koha Tamariki for many years.

Nanny Pare became involved with the Association at the 1989 Hamilton conference, when she led the Tainui welcome to the visitors | manuhiri. A move towards biculturalism was underway and Nanny Pare was asked to become one of two Māori representatives on the Executive.

Nanny Pare suggested the idea of a Rūnanga | Māori Council to Association members in the Childcare Quarterly (Autumn, 1990), when she wrote about joining tauiwi and Māori ideology towards “oneness in rowing our canoe together. As a Kaumātua of the Koha Tamariki Centre I have learnt by experience that the future of our tamariki depends on our working together for the betterment of our nation; so come on board NZCA and ECE and row together to reach the shores of Aotearoa.”

In 1990, when the Association made a formal commitment to biculturalism, Nanny Pare, with Kahu Katene, became a member of the first Rūnanga representing Māori interests within the Association. 

Throughout  the 1990s and early 2000s, both Kahu and Pare were hands on, guiding tikanga Māori protocol and knowledge within the Association’s operations and practices, as well as within the training and qualifications offered to ECE teaching students. 

There is a photograph of Nanny Pare at the Association’s political Picnic at Parliament in 2005. The Association’s banner read Early Childhood Education lasts for ever. Nanny Pare passed away in 2008. 

This article is an abridged version from Te Rito Maioha’s book on its life members and their work. You can read Parematarangi's full story and those of other ECE champions:

Life Stories on the Frontline: Growing a childcare movement in Aotearoa
Ngā kohinga kōrero a te aumangea: Kia mana te ara kōhungahunga ki Aotearoa