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New EIT | Te Pūkenga Early Childhood lecturer hopes to inspire more teachers

July 13, 2023

Max Christie has just started in his role as an Early Childhood Education lecturer at EIT | Te Pūkenga.

Max Christie has been a rarity in Early Childhood Education as one of a few male teachers, and now he has joined EIT | Te Pūkenga as a lecturer training those embarking on a career working with young children.

Max, 25, who hails from Wellington, has just started at EIT | Te Pūkenga and is looking forward to Semester 2.

“I came from Wellington, where I was managing an early childhood centre there called Childspace Northland, and that was where I was based in my teaching for a while. I pretty much came straight from high school into early childhood training, and then into my master’s followed by managing a centre. Now I’m excited to be a lecturer.”

Max says he comes from a family that owned and ran Childspace centres in Wellington and felt compelled to help break down stereotypes of men not being early childhood teachers.

“I naturally went into the early childhood space, but it wasn’t something that was advertised to me or anything throughout my schooling. I think the reason that there’s not as many men involved is just down to some old societal norms around childcare and education for very young children being for just females.”

“Part of my mission in the field is to break those stereotypes and show that men can be nurturing and great teachers for very young children, and just to legitimize the role that we play in educating children, basically.”

“Children need both male and female role models, and they need to see men and women working together cooperatively and respectfully in order to grow up to be teachers themselves, or just to see men and women as equal.”

As for lecturing, Max says it has always been a goal of his to move into an academic role.

“The opportunity did present itself here at EIT, and I really like the curriculum and the way in which the lecturers here go about educating students. I find it’s very practical, very hands-on, but also has the balance of being academically very strong, and I just like the way that the courses here can prepare students for a very varied role that early childhood is.”

“I really like the different courses that EIT provides, and I do believe that we are giving a really solid, well-rounded education to all new teachers that graduate.”

It helps that Max’s partner, Poppy, who is an early childhood teacher, is originally from Hawke’s Bay.

“That’s why we moved up here, basically, we went traveling for a year and came back. After leaving our jobs in Wellington, we travelled overseas, and since coming back we decided to move up to Hawke’s Bay.”

Gwenda Kevern, Head of the School of Education and Social Sciences, says: “EIT|Te Pūkenga is delighted to have attracted someone with Max’s academic qualifications and experience to this lecturing position.  Max will add further strength to our Bachelor of Teaching Early Childhood Education and to our students and graduates and ultimately to the early childhood community.”