Te Tāmata Huaroa

Waerea te whenua, tāmatahia te māra, marotiritiria ngā kākano, kia huaroa te tipu.

There is enthusiasm for te reo Māori and a desire to revitalise the language through education in many English Medium schools, but practical obstacles need to be overcome to allow this according to new report Te Tāmata Huaroa published by the Education Review Office (ERO).

The report was carried out to create a snapshot of te reo Māori teaching across English Medium schools and aims in part to reflect the role education has to play in the Government’s Maihi Karauna strategy for language revitalisation.

The majority of schools ERO spoke to have a positive view of te reo Māori teaching in their classrooms and want to increase their provision, with many going as far as including this in their strategic goals. Many respondents said they felt an ethical responsibility to the language and to its revitalisation.

The report found that despite this enthusiasm, there was little evidence of complex learning and explicit language teaching such as grammatical forms, speaking, reading and writing. Instead te reo Māori was included in simpler forms such as waiata or karakia.

Respondents indicated the key obstacles are a lack of te reo Māori knowledge across the teaching workforce, coupled with low levels of knowledge and expertise in general second language learning.

However, there is awareness of these obstacles, and many schools are taking steps to overcome them, such as skill specific recruiting and targeted PLD.

ERO Deputy Chief Executive Evaluation and Review Māori Lynda Pura-Watson feels strongly that this work will have real world meaning for New Zealand education.

“This is an exciting exploration of the landscape of te reo Māori teaching on a real practical level but also puts education firmly in the centre of wider revitalisation of the language and the long-term goals of the Government.”

She went on to say that ERO wants to use this report as a springboard.

“We can take the findings from this report and others in the pipe line and use them to start real conversations about further development and improvement.”

Following the publication of this report ERO plans to host sector and government leaders for a discussion surrounding the next steps for English Medium schools, based on the findings of this report. This will be an opportunity to fully explore the findings and for the sector to engage with ERO, the government and each other on the way forward.

This report was completed by ERO as part of an ongoing work programme focused on the provision of te reo Māori in English medium schools.

ERO spoke to teachers and school leaders in 102 primary and secondary schools across Aotearoa to inform this report.