THE CELEBRANT SCHOOL - Te Wānanga Korowai Aroha is a boutique training business with a big heart and even bigger vision. Well-designed ceremonies are transformative and take people outside the mundane, to experience and appreciate a wider view of life, themselves, and those around them. Our job is to ensure there are specialist ceremony professionals, right throughout New Zealand, capable of creating ceremonial experiences that capture this magnificence when people are marking the most important events in their lives. These events include, of course, weddings and funerals, but extend beyond these familiar ceremonies to others designed for children, teens, elders, communities and organisations. Some ceremonies have been lost through the pressures and challenges of the post-modern 21st century world. Others are just emerging and require sensitive and skilled craftsmanship to develop and thrive. Ceremony and ritual have assisted individuals and communities to move more easily through change and transition for millennia, and today, the need is as great as ever! Gifted our Māori name, Te Wānanga Korowai Aroha, in recognition of our commitment to the bicultural foundation of Aotearoa, we welcome students who are open to serving people from all cultural, spiritual and social backgrounds, and who are willing to make a commitment to high standards of professional service and ethics. Pre-Covid, we taught in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, as the only provider of both a Diploma, and the acclaimed Certificate in Celebrant Studies. When the Certificate was launched in 1996, it was the first qualification for civil celebrants in the world. We are proud that our whakapapa includes another demonstration of our small country as an international leader. As a super-secular country, we have the responsibility to maintain our tradition of serving all who call New Zealand home, and we take this very seriously! Like many organisations, we have been compelled to pivot over the past eighteen months. We have successfully transitioned all our courses into an online medium. This was no mean feat for a small business with no in-house IT support, but our endeavours have received exceptional student endorsement. Simultaneously, we have encouraged and equipped experienced celebrants to step up to the havoc wrought by Covid-19 and ensure that major life milestones such as marriages and funerals, could be marked appropriately. We reached out to support celebrants to make creative use of technology and other strategies to bring families together, to aid healing, unity and connection at this challenging time.
Have you ever attended a wedding ceremony that seemed dull, predictable and didn't contribute much to the celebration? Or have you been to a funeral where you were left wondering if that really was the person you knew who had just been buried? If the answer is yes, that is indeed a tragedy, but it means you have some understanding of what drives The Celebrant School - Te Wānanga Korowai Aroha to do what we do. Societies have used ceremony and ritual for millennia to mark significant events and rites of passage, but access to well-qualified ceremony professionals/celebrants, has been compromised by changes on both governmental and societal levels. For the past 25 years, a core group of dedicated professionals have worked tirelessly to protect and develop the domain of contemporary celebrancy. They have lobbied, developed celebrant-specific training, established standards of practice, and contributed to the building of a collegial profession. Our team at The Celebrant School continues this proud tradition, advancing on all these fronts. As an organisation, it is our aim to ensure that as you, or someone in your sphere, approaches a life milestone (think not just of weddings and funerals, but also birth, developmental milestones, adolescence, eldership, career changes, transitions, relocations, organisational achievements) you can be confident in the knowledge and skill of the celebrant you commission. A professional celebrant pays close attention to your social, cultural and spiritual background and preferences, and will craft a ceremony accordingly. No two ceremonies should be the same, because their substance is drawn from whoever it is designed for. This demands sensitivity, emotional intelligence, creativity, appreciation of diversity, exceptional listening, insightful writing, and ends with well-calculated public delivery. The experience of a well-crafted ceremony should be affirming and celebratory, as well as offering the potential for renewal, reconnection, commitment and even healing. Ceremony honours what we hold sacred, however you interpret that word, and it demands much from those who wear the mantle of a qualified celebrant. If our goals resonate with you, and you believe, as we do, that our work can benefit you individually, and New Zealand society more broadly, then please vote for The Celebrant School - Te Wānanga Korowai Aroha for The People's Choice Award.