Quality education is the right of every child and young person in New Zealand and is underpinned by learning environments that place the learner and learner outcomes at the centre of all activity.

Successful learning organisations are those that are on a continuous, deliberate and future focussed journey of improvement, using evidence to shape their direction and decision making.

Kōhanga reo are unique and critical to nurturing and revitalising te reo Māori in Aotearoa. This uniqueness means there are few models, if any, that are suitable for use as an evidence base to benchmark against. The effective practice examples in this study provide insight into what great kōhanga reo do and the distinct value of high quality Māori immersion education.

We aim to support every kōhanga reo to be a great place to learn and grow. We work in approximately 160 kōhanga reo annually, exploring what’s working well and identifying areas where further improvement is needed. This presents ERO with a privileged opportunity to contribute to the strengthening of all kōhanga reo and ultimately to the creation of a strong foundation for te reo Māori and Māori educational outcomes.

Through this evaluation we aim to support Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust and its professional development programme, quality assurance and framework for various selfreflection and internal reviews.

Hauhaketia ngā taonga tuku iho kia puāwai ai – Unearth our ancestral treasures so that we may prosper, affirms the view that children are more likely to experience success as learners in an environment where identity, language and culture are valued and validated.

We saw evidence that proves children are likely to be successful when the learning environment reflects te reo Māori, tikanga Māori, te ao Māori and mātauranga Māori. It also underlines the importance of learning environments that enrich children’s emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing. Having a strong vision, clear purpose and goals which encapsulate whānau aspirations is critical, as is deliberately planning for their successful programme delivery. Constantly monitoring to check how kōhanga reo are progressing to inform future decisions ensures actions and outcomes are aligned with aspirations. Quality kōhanga reo have high expectations for every learner. Each actor in kōhanga reo (from whānau, kaumātua, kaiako and kaiāwhina) is clear about their practice and acknowledge their roles as complementary to those that they are working alongside. Such environments work to create a strong foundation for tamariki.

I want to acknowledge the successes of the kōhanga reo movement since its establishment 35 years ago, particularly how it has truly shaped the New Zealand education landscape. Thank you to the kōhanga reo who allowed us into their worlds to undertake this work.

I would also like to thank Lynda Pura-Watson for her leadership and the Te Uepū ā-Motu team for developing this valuable piece of evaluation.

As educators from across Aotearoa, I urge you to use this evaluation to help reflect on your own journey. Each journey will be different yet at the end of the day we share one common aspiration – the success of all tamariki.

Ngā mihi

Nicholas Pole
Chief Review Officer
Education Review Office