Matihetihe School - 27/09/2018

School Context

Te Kura o Mātihetihe in the North Hokianga has provided education for the Mitimiti community for over 120 years. It caters for children from Years 1 to 8 and currently has a roll of 30 children. All children, whānau and most staff are Māori. They whakapapa to ngā iwi o Te Rarawa me Te Aupōuri, and most adults have generational and whānau connections to the kura.

Ngākau Kotahitanga – Together as one is the kura vision for its children, whānau and community. It encompasses the elements of Mana Āki (potential), Mana Wāroa (sustainability) and Mana Wāora that unite whānau, hapū and iwi from the past to the present. The board’s current strategic goals are to improve children’s learning through the use of digital devices, implement te reo Māori at level two immersion status, and enhance partnerships with its community.

Achievement targets are set for individual children based on learning needs in kōrero/oral language, pānui/reading, tuhituhi/writing and pangarau/mathematics. The kura aims to maximise learning and achievement opportunities for children through English and Te Ao Māori me ngā tikanga o Te Rarawa.

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

  • progress and achievement in kōrero/oral language, pānui/reading, tuhituhi/writing and pangarau/mathematics in relation to the levels of The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

  • wellbeing and progress with respect to the kura mātāpono/values

  • health and safety, and property matters that impact on children’s learning and wellbeing.

The 2015 ERO report noted that improvements were evident in all areas identified for review and development in the previous longitudinal ERO reviews. In 2015, continuity and improvement of both leadership and governance were promoting positive outcomes for children. Good practices identified in this 2015 ERO report have been maintained and many next steps have been addressed.

At the end of 2017 the principal took leave and an acting principal was appointed in February 2018. The principal has recently resigned her position and the board of trustees is in the planning stage of appointing another principal. While new to the school, kaiako and the acting principal whakapapa to the area and are fluent speakers of te reo Māori. Support staff have worked at the school for many years.

Since the 2015 report, the roll has increased as families continue to move back to their community. In 2018 the school moved to a level two te reo Māori immersion status. Significant professional learning has supported the teaching team and staff to implement increased te reo Māori teaching and learning, and to design a bilingual curriculum reflecting Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. Children in Years 7 and 8 travel to Te Kura Taumata o Panguru each week for technology learning.

The kura is part of the Hokianga Community of Learning|Kāhui Ako.

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 kura achieves equitable and excellent outcomes for all its students.

An outcome especially valued by the school is children’s learning of and through te reo Māori and Mātihetihetanga. These learning experiences, promoted consistently by fluent speakers throughout the kura, validate Māori language and cultural identity for children and whānau. This significant feature supports the success children have as Māori, and as learners and leaders in their kura and community.

Data collected by the principal and kaiako in 2018 show that most children are making accelerated progress in kōrero. Most children are progressing in pānui, tuhituhi and pangarau. Kaiako, whānau and children understand that building children’s capacity to speak te reo Māori is essential for other academic skills to improve. In 2018 all children attended and competed in the Whare Kōrero o Mātihetihe Manu Kōrero competition in 2018 for selective representation in wider Manu Kōrero competitions.

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

The large majority of children achieve at or above expected levels in English reading, writing and mathematics.

Comparative data collected at the start and middle of 2018 show that the majority of students are consistently achieving at expected levels across all literacy and numeracy strands in both Māori and English.

The kura identifies a small number of children whose learning requires acceleration. Most of these children also have additional learning needs. They are well supported by their kaiako and receive guidance from external specialists. Data analysed by the principal and kaiako show that these children make good progress towards expected levels of achievement. Where possible, whānau and staff work collaboratively to prepare learning plans with goals and objectives that support target students to make accelerated progress.

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?

The kura has high expectations for children and whānau to contribute to and experience success as Māori. This valued outcome includes children and staff living the mātāpono of whanaungatanga, rangitiratanga, kotahitanga and manaakitanga in their lives and learning, at the kura and in their community. Children’s learning experiences extend to important community events such as tangihanga at Mātihetihe Marae. The strong connection between the kura and marae helps to embed children’s sense of belonging and security in their place, and naturally promotes partnerships with whānau.

The mātāpono feature significantly in children’s daily learning programmes, promoting kura-wide learning opportunities and tuakana/teina responsibilities and experiences. High expectations and positive affirmations from kaiako and staff support children to recognise their own achievements and successes in all aspects of their learning. As a result of these good practices, children have a strong sense of confidence and pride in themselves as Māori, and as leaders and learners.

Children are very settled in their learning environments and engage well in their learning. They encourage each other and work collaboratively. Kaiako nurture and respect children and support them holistically. They know and understand their children well, planning and adapting learning programmes to meet their strengths and needs. Highly skilled in Māori teaching and learning practices, kaiako enhance children’s mana and promote their enjoyment of learning.

The acting principal provides strong professional leadership for the kura, promoting a collaborative, strengths-based and solution-focused approach. Guided by the aspirations of whānau, and in partnership with the board and staff, the principal is creating a positive and strategic direction for the kura.

Evaluation is conducted and used effectively, identifying strengths and next steps for the kura, especially around its bilingual status. Written reports to the board are comprehensive and evaluative, and provide very good information about outcomes for children. Meaningful working relationships with other local kura are also enhancing learning opportunities for staff and children.

Professional learning and external support are valued by the principal and kaiako and are contributing to enhanced practices. Professional learning is well aligned to the board’s strategic goals. Capable teacher aides receive targeted professional training to improve outcomes for children, especially those with specific learning needs.

The teacher appraisal system is currently being developed to meet Education Council requirements. The planned inquiry-based appraisal system would help to deepen kaiako professional growth and contribute to ongoing improvement.

The board of trustees is well led and has a good mix of experienced and newer members. Trustees have varied skills and useful knowledge that supports their governance roles and responsibilities. They seek guidance and appropriate training from external governance specialists. Trustees are collaborative in their approach and provide very good support to the principal and staff. They are future focused, make thoughtful decisions based on evidence, and have good systems for promoting improvement and accountability.

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

The acting principal and teaching team are in the process of reviewing and redesigning the kura curriculum so that it better reflects Mātihetihetanga and is driven by Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. Professional learning is already underway to support this process. Leaders and teachers recognise the importance of designing and documenting a localised curriculum that:

  • is based on local knowledge, skills and talents
  • is responsive to children’s interests, strengths and learning needs
  • deepens opportunities for children’s critical thinking and problem solving
  • integrates all areas of Te Marautanga o Aotearoa from a kaupapa Māori perspective
  • further promotes children’s and whānau agency.

The teaching team would also benefit from professional support to develop a shared understanding of accelerated learning progress and achievement, and of how to use a variety of evidence to make overall teacher judgements about children’s achievement levels.

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 Going forward

Key strengths of the school

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

  • collaborative, whānau-focused approaches that enhance children’s wellbeing and learning
  • a community commitment to promoting success as, for and by Māori that enhances children’s skills and pride in their cultural identity and language
  • kaiako who are skilled in Māori teaching and learning practices and have high expectations for children’s learning
  • effective, strategic and future-focused leadership and governance that promotes strong partnerships with whānau and ongoing improvements for children.

Next steps

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

  • reviewing, designing and documenting a responsive and localised curriculum using Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, that responds to the strengths, talents and aspirations of children and whānau

  • strengthening the understanding that kaiako have about accelerated learning and making overall judgements about children’s achievement levels

  • creating a meaningful teacher appraisal system that promotes professional growth and meets accountabilities

  • providing a complete policy framework to guide the kura and establishing a policy review cycle so that policies are reviewed against practice.

ERO’s next external evaluation process and timing

ERO is likely to carry out the next external evaluation in three years.

Violet Tu’uga Stevenson

Director Review and Improvement Services

Te Tai Raki - Northern Region

27 September 2018

About the school



Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Boys 18 Girls 15

Ethnic composition



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

August 2018

Date of this report

27 September 2018

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review
Education Review
Education Review

July 2015
June 2014
August 2011