Arowhenua Maori School - 26/07/2019

School Context

At the time of this review Arowhenua Māori School had a roll of 52 ākonga (students) from Years 1 to 8, many of whom bus to the school. The school was established 124 years ago beside the Kati Huirapa marae.

The school's vision is ‘He anga onamata - he aronga anamata (Ancestrally driven - future focused)’. This vision is underpinned by the core values of manaakitaka, whanaukataka, kaitiakitaka and rakatirataka. The school’s intention is for ākonga to leave with a strong sense of identity as Māori, confidently and competently able to use this lens to guide their future learning, connections and success in the global world.

Since the 2015 ERO review the school has made good progress towards meeting the recommended areas for improvement. Over this time, there has been significant change in teaching staff and board of trustees, including the appointment of a new principal. Just over half of the current teaching staff are recently qualified.

In 2017 the school adopted Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, using Level 2 bilingual/Māori language instruction. The school’s key priorities focus on ongoing development of the new curriculum and school vision, including a strong emphasis on establishing fluency in te reo Māori across the school. To support this, teachers have undertaken professional learning of te reo matatini (te reo Māori literacy, in te-reo-a-waha and tuhituhi) and collaborative teacher practice.

Leaders and teachers regularly report to the board, schoolwide information about outcomes for ākonga in the following areas:

  • reo-a-waha, pānui, tuhituhi and pāngarau
  • wellbeing and satisfaction.

Evaluation Findings

1 Equity and excellence – achievement of valued outcomes for students

1.1 How well is the school achieving equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students?

The school reports that for 2017 and 2018 all ākonga achieved at expected levels for their ‘time in programme (language immersion Level 2)’ learning for reo-a-waha, pānui, tuhituhi and pāngarau.

Assessment information, for ‘time in school’ learning, shows variable levels of achievement across subjects and year levels. While some progress in achievement for ākonga is evident, the recent changes in the school’s curriculum and assessment practices make it difficult for the school and ERO to confidently make a judgement about school-wide achievement levels, especially over time. The use of assessment and achievement information is an area for ongoing development identified in this report.

1.2 How well is the school accelerating learning for those Māori and other students who need this?

The school established targets to accelerate learning for students needing this in Term 1 2019. At the time of this review, it was too early to evaluate progress being made for these students.

2 School conditions for equity and excellence – processes and practices

2.1 What school processes and practices are effective in enabling achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

Arowhenua Māori School provides ākonga with a richly localised bilingual curriculum.

The principal and teachers have established a positive, culturally responsive environment for learning that effectively promotes ākonga engagement in their learning. Central to this is the significant emphasis placed by teachers and ākonga on the use and learning of te reo and te ao Māori.

ERO observed a settled and respectful schoolwide culture that reflected the school values of whanaukataka, manaakitaka and tikaka Māori. A relevant and shared vision, values and valued outcomes (puau) for ākonga guides delivery of the school curriculum and wider development. Kaiako are strongly committed to the school vision and focus on the holistic achievement of their ākonga. They are provided with useful support for development of the new curriculum and creation of an orderly, supportive learning environment. The opinion of parents, ākonga and whānau are regularly sought and responded to. Useful systems and tools have been put in place to support the new teaching team and promote effective teaching practice across classrooms.

ERO observed kaiako to have a high level of expertise speaking te reo Māori. Kaiako frequently use te reo in and out of the classroom. Ākonga are supported to be confident in speaking te reo Māori. They are highly engaged and positive about their learning, in particular, the use of te reo and tikaka Māori across the school. Kaiako and tumuaki are supporting the development of te reo Māori among whānau. Te reo and tikaka Māori are integrated through all learning areas and school life. The work the school has done in this area since 2016 has resulted in the movement of the school from an English medium (Level 4) to a Level 2 Bilingual te reo Māori school.

Trustees, leaders and kaiako are making a concerted effort to place ākonga at the centre of the learning. Kaiako know their ākonga well. Caring, respectful relationships are evident between kaiako and akonga. Ākonga wellbeing is monitored and attended to. They have many opportunities to develop their leadership. Kaiako are increasingly supporting ākonga to manage and provide for choice in their learning, particularly in senior classes. Kaiako develop learning plans and seek closer communication with parents and whānau to provide more focused support for ākonga with high needs and/or needing to make accelerated progress in their learning.

2.2 What further developments are needed in school processes and practices for achievement of equity and excellence, and acceleration of learning?

The board, principal and ERO agree on the following areas of development.

The principal and teachers should continue development of the school curriculum and teaching practices, planned for through professional development in pāngarau, for high quality teaching and learning. This should include increasing access to resources to support effective teaching and learning. Teachers continue to develop moderation of assessment, as planned for Pānui, to support consistency across the school.

Leaders and teachers need to develop capacity in the analysis and use of ākonga outcome data, to inform decisions about effectiveness and improvement. This will strengthen the school’s capacity to use internal evaluation.

The board should seek stewardship training, to build its governance capability. This will support the school’s progress in moving forward.

3 Board Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the board and principal of the school completed the ERO board assurance statement and self-audit checklists. In these documents they attested that they had taken all reasonable steps to meet their legislative obligations related to the following:

  • board administration
  • curriculum
  • management of health, safety and welfare
  • personnel management
  • finance
  • asset management.

During the review, ERO checked the following items because they have a potentially high impact on student safety and wellbeing:

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration and certification
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand down, suspension, expulsion and exclusion of students
  • attendance
  • school policies in relation to meeting the requirements of the Vulnerable Children Act 2014.

4 ERO’s Overall Judgement

On the basis of the findings of this review, ERO’s overall evaluation judgement of Arowhenua Māori School’s performance in achieving valued outcomes for its students is: Developing.

ERO will maintain an ongoing relationship with the school to build capacity and evaluate progress.

ERO’s Framework: Overall School Performance is available on ERO’s website.

5 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

For sustained improvement and future learner success, the school can draw on existing strengths in:

  • establishment of a supportive environment for learning, that systematically responds to students’ needs and promotes their wellbeing
  • development of a meaningful curriculum, that is promoting high levels of engagement in teaching and learning throughout the school
  • student learning of te reo Māori, that promotes their sense of belonging and identity and supports their learning success.

Next steps

For sustained improvement and future learner success, priorities for further development are in:

  • development of teaching and learning, to address variability across the school and improve students’ engagement and involvement in their learning
  • assessment and data literacy, for internal evaluation that better identifies what is working well for students’ learning and where improvements are needed
  • governance capability, to ensure trustees have greater clarity about their roles and responsibilities for more closely monitoring and supporting student achievement and progress.

Dr Lesley Patterson

Director Review and Improvement Services Southern

26 July 2019

About the school


Temuka, South Canterbury

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 33, Boys 19

Ethnic composition

Māori 51

NZ European/Pākehā 1

Students with Ongoing Resourcing Funding (ORS)


Provision of Māori medium education


Number of Māori medium classes


Total number of students in Māori medium (MME)


Total number of students in Māori language in English medium (MLE)


Number of students in Level 1 MME


Number of students in Level 2 MME


Review team on site

May 2019

Date of this report

26 July 2019

Most recent ERO reports

October 2015

June 2012

June 2009