Kura Kaupapa Māori


ERO gathered data for this report from its reviews in kura between 2008 and 2010.

The Framework for Review and Evaluation in Te Aho Matua Kura Kaupapa Māori,developed jointly by Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori (Te Rūnanga Nui) was used to review the six kura kaupapa Māori on the East Coast. The methodology consists of four key elements. Each element is important; each depends on the other; and they link cyclically as the review process progresses.

  • Internal review – where whānau highlight the academic, physical, emotional and spiritual outcomes for students, and the practices that contribute to these outcomes.
  • Kaupapa approach – that focuses the review on key priorities for the kura, identified through internal review.
  • Informed conclusions – where a robust process of information gathering, analysis and synthesis is used to reach provisional findings, to share and discuss with kura whānau, and to identify priorities.
  • Reporting – where findings are confirmed, key priorities decided, and the review report discussed and written.

The ERO team, kura whānau and Te Rūnanga Nui kaitiaki worked together in most of the kura reviews to conduct the evaluation. There is collective responsibility for all three groups to focus the review process on the implementation of Te Aho Matua, particularly on the quality of educational provision and the outcomes for students.

While each kura worked with ERO to identify a specific focus for the review, all included aspects of literacy and the school’s curriculum was examined and reported through the six wāhanga of Te Aho Matua.

  • Te Ira Tangata focuses on the nature of human kind, particularly the child.
  • Te Reo focuses on language and how kura kaupapa Māori can advance the language learning of children.
  • Ngā Iwi focuses on the people that influence the development of students.
  • Te Ao focuses on the world that surrounds students, about which there are fundamental truths that affect their lives.
  • Āhuatanga Ako lists the principles of teaching practice that are considered of vital importance in the education of students. [1]

One of the six kura kaupapa reviews undertaken by ERO between 2008 and 2010 focused on oral language programmes. In particular te reo o Ngāti Porou was the focus of one review and two kura had an evaluation focus that was not explicitly literacy or numeracy. The remaining two kura were the subject of supplementary reviews where terms of reference were derived from areas for improvement identified in their previous review 12 months earlier.

This report is unable to comment on the quality of numeracy programmes throughout kura kaupapa Māori as none of the kura reviews focused specifically on pangarau - mathematics. Notably in one supplementary review, ERO recommended that the whānau consider literacy and numeracy as areas of priority.

The kura kaupapa Māori included in this evaluation are:

  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Tapere-nui-a-Whatonga
  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kawakawa mai Tawhiti *
  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Mangatuna
  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Taonga Tūturu ki Tokomaru
  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Waipiro
  • Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiū o Ngāti Porou.

* Not included in ERO’s 1997 East Coast Report.


ERO’s findings from an analysis of the reviews of the six kura kaupapa Māori on the East Coast are reported in relation to:

  • Te Aho Matua framework
    • Te Ira Tangata
    • Te Reo
    • Ngā Iwi
    • Te Ao
    • Āhuatanga Ako.
  • Literacy
    • te reo o Ngāti Porou
    • professional learning and development.
  • Teaching and learning
    • student achievement
    • use of assessment data
    • curriculum design.
  • Capability and sustainability
    • governance and management
    • whānau involvement.

Te Ira Tangata

Well developed, articulate vision statements guided decisions and practice at all levels of the kura kaupapa Māori on the East Coast. Whānau worked with and alongside kura staff to develop the vision and graduate profiles. They were committed to supporting the implementation of the principles and goals. Graduate profiles reflect the aspirations of whānau for their children, were underpinned by the principles of Te Aho Matua and had strong philosophical values and beliefs embedded in them. These documents expressed clear expectations of whānau and students, and focused on positive outcomes for students as descendents of Ngāti Porou. Priority was given to developing strong Ngāti Porou identity and language, including specific qualities of relevant hapū, which were included in guiding documents.

Goal setting, monitoring and reporting occurred at various levels in each kura. Boards and kura leaders were developing appropriate systems to monitor ongoing operations and targets for student achievement. Teachers were beginning to use student data effectively to plan targeted learning programmes. Self review and evaluation practice was still developing and did not provide evidential information about the impact of activities and operations on student outcomes aligned to the school’s vision and graduate profile.

Te Reo

Improving the quality of te reo o Ngāti Porou was a priority identified in the strategic plans of most kura. Whānau were committed to recognising te reo o Ngāti Pōrou and its distinct dialectal features to ensure the growth and long-term sustainability of their language. Some kura had a clear directive in place, “kia reo rua tūturu ko te reo o ngā matua tipuna tuatahi”. Kaumātua played a significant role in teaching the language of Ngāti Porou. The kura made use of their knowledge and skills in te reo Māori me ōna tikanga. Teaching and learning programmes in all kura had a strong focus on building the oral language ability of students and whānau.

Ngā Iwi

High whānau engagement and participation were evident in all the kura. In the last three years, all kura had undertaken extensive consultation and collaboration with whānau to develop their local kura curriculum. With a vision for their future aspirations, whānau (inclusive of kura staff) worked collectively to achieve the goals of the graduate profile. They shared a strong sense of identity, belonging and connectedness through whakapapa that is integral to the curriculum. Students were encouraged to become confident learners, founded on sound knowledge of their whānau, hapū and iwi identity.

Te Ao

Understanding the contemporary and traditional views of te ao Māori, the wider world and the physical and natural worlds was effectively embedded into kura programmes. Included in the vision statements and curriculum plans of all kura was a commitment to equipping students with the skills necessary for living in both the Māori and the wider world. Students had many opportunities to interact with their peers from kura in the region. They attended local, regional and national events on the kura kaupapa calendar. Some kura had also planned and undertaken excursions outside New Zealand to expose students to a wider range of cultures and perspectives.

Students in kura kaupapa Māori were actively investigating and exploring the Māori and the wider world. Whānau immersed students in an environment that reflected the Māori world by using local contexts as authentic learning experiences. In a few kura, information communication technologies (ICT) was used as an effective learning tool and to connect students with the wider world. Students had many opportunities to learn about te ao Māori and the wider world.

Local marae were often used as the site for learning from and alongside kaumātua about tikanga Māori. Excursions into the local bush, rivers and beaches allowed students to use the natural environment for learning as well as developing an understanding of their historical, cultural and economic significance.

Students were well supported in understanding their place in the Māori and the wider world. Curriculum information from two of the three wharekura demonstrated a firm commitment by kura boards and whānau to support a wide range of areas for student success. (At the time of this evaluation the third wharekura had yet to be reviewed as a composite school). There were high expectations that students would achieve relevant qualifications. Further study and training at the tertiary level is promoted widely. Planning for career and future pathways for students was in place.

Āhuatanga Ako

Most kura demonstrated sound knowledge of curriculum planning and implementation to meet the individual interests of students. Kura consistently gathered information and used it to determine the learning needs of individuals and groups of students, establish benchmarks for learning and evaluate progress over time.

Professional development throughout the region was beginning to have s positive impact on the quality of teaching practice. Teachers used a range of strategies to teach literacy and numeracy. Programmes provided by teachers were responsive and relevant to the aspirations and interests of students. Teachers were becoming more reflective about their practice.

Professional collaboration has increased across the region. Teachers in kura met regularly to share knowledge and expertise with each other. Leaders and teachers had opportunities to meet regularly and to reflect critically on their individual practice in a supportive and professional environment. Working together has increased teachers’ professional knowledge and confidence in their practice.


Te reo o Ngāti Porou

While only two kura reviews focused specifically on oral language programmes, ERO reported a significant focus on the acquisition of te reo o Ngāti Porou as a feature of kura programmes across all seven kura. Strategic planning highlighted language learning as a priority for kura whānau whānui, to develop a strong critical mass of competent speakers of te reo o Ngāti Porou in order to build a sustainable future for their language. Local experts, including native speakers, were identified as pertinent resources to promote language development. Kura were the hub of language learning for the community, and a strong commitment was expressed throughout the region to maintaining te reo Māori-only language zones in kura.

Professional learning and development

Kura used internal and external professional learning and development opportunities well. Most have well established relationships with neighbouring kura and professional support for each other was a significant characteristic of these. Language experts from kura whānau gave teachers specific support and helped to monitor the quality of te reo o Ngāti Porou. External facilitators and programmes were used to varying degrees across the region. Where their expertise was sought, teachers benefited from both individual feedback and whole kura programmes of professional learning and development. Some kura reported that teachers’ knowledge and practice for the teaching of aspects of literacy and numeracy had improved.

Teaching and learning

Student achievement

Measuring students’ success and achievement in kura was focused appropriately on the extent to which students were confident in their culture, identity and language as well as their success in literacy and numeracy, and other areas of the curriculum (Te Marautanga o Aotearoa). Using the Evaluation Indicators for Reviews in Te Aho Matua Kura Kaupapa Māori, ERO found strong indications that students in kura kaupapa Māori on the East Coast were developing a deep understanding of who they are, where they were from and to whom they were connected. Language acquisition and competence was also strong, but had yet to be systematically evaluated.

Kura participation in regional and national events such as Ngā Manu Kōrero, Kapa Haka competitions and Waka Ama were opportunities for whānau and students to celebrate success and excellence. A few kura programmes included excursions overseas to help students to become cognisant global citizens. Both wharekura reviewed in 2010 demonstrated outstanding results in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) te reo Māori and/or te reo Rangatira.

One kura is now focused on raising the number of merit and excellence passes that students achieve across the range of NCEA subjects that they offer. Exit information gathered anecdotally suggests the number of students continuing on to tertiary education increased.

Use of achievement information

While the use of student achievement data for kura-wide targets for literacy and numeracy was unclear, evidence suggested that most kura were beginning to use data appropriately to plan classroom programmes and identify strategies that met the individual needs of students. Achievement data was also used to inform teachers’ professional learning and development programmes. In one high performing kura, ERO noted that assessment information is the key influence in changing teacher practice and learning outcomes for students. [2]

Capability and sustainability

Governance and management

In 2002, ERO reported that 14 were carrying out their administrative requirements effectively, and sound self review practices were evident in 12 schools. Reviews of the seven kura on the East Coast 2008/10 found that most had effective governance and management. In one kura where ERO had identified areas for improvement the board had plans in place to deal with these. Personnel management was no longer reported as an area of concern for any of the kura.

Whānau involvement

Whānau involvement and commitment to high quality education was high. Kura had consulted widely with whānau to develop their respective curricula. Kaumātua and kuia were highly respected and treasured repositories of local knowledge and wisdom. Kura created a range of opportunities for students to learn from and alongside their kaumatua.

They bring a sense of tradition, authenticity and validity to the hopes, aspirations and dreams for students to be future cultural and linguistic brokers of te reo Māori and tikanga of Ngāti Porou. There is a sense of urgency for the kura to capture and cement the teachings and learnings of the kuia. The wairua, the hā, the mana and mauri of their reo, of their kōrero and stories, is a living treasure to be highly valued and protected by the kura. [3]

Future direction for kura kaupapa Māori

Use of assessment data to inform planning has improved since 1997. The use of common assessment tools in literacy and numeracy and positive collegial relationships in kura have increased. Kura work with staff from other kura to:

  • share their analysed literacy and numeracy data to identify trends and patterns and develop strategies to address common areas of need
  • moderate judgements about student work in literacy and numeracy
  • meet regularly to discuss plans for literacy and numeracy teaching programmes.

Individual kura have worked hard to develop a local curriculum that reflects the aspirations of whānau and the interests of students. Most have formulated useful graduate profiles that provide vision and direction for the kura. Systematic and comprehensive evidence-based self review that evaluates how well the kura is working towards and/or achieving the aims of their graduate profile is a characteristic in a successful school. For East Coast kura it would help to:

  • embed the principles that underpin their goals at all levels of operation
  • promote robust discussion about indicators for success as defined by the graduate profile
  • identify areas for future development in the kura
  • further promote the use of student achievement information as a tool for strategic planning and development.