Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Whatatutu - 25/08/2014


Students, teachers, whānau and community have responded well to the kura’s change in direction from mainstream to Te Aho Matua kaupapa Māori education. Students receive good quality education that is contextual, relevant and appropriate. Teachers make good use of professional development to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

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

1 Background and Context

What is the background and context for this school’s review?

Tēnei te mihi ki a koutou te whānau o te Kura o Whatatutu e kaha ana ki te tautoko i ā koutou tamariki. E mihi tonu ana ki a koutou katoa. E mau ana ki ngā tikanga ō koutou mātua tīpuna i ngā iwi ō Ngaariki Kaputahi, Ngāti Wahia, Aitanga-ā-Māhaki i raro i to maunga tapu o Maungahaumia. Ko te tumanako, kia kaha tonu koutou ki te whai i ēnei āhuatanga hei ārahi i a koutou i roto i ēnei kaupapa. Kei runga i a tatou ko te aroha me te manaakitanga, maringi noa ngā kupu a Te Kooti.

Whakahautia Te Rongopai i runga i Te Ngawari me Te Aroha

Te Kura o Whatatutu is situated in the rural community of Whatatutu near Gisborne and caters for students from Years 1 to 8. All students identify as Māori. At the time of the ERO review the Kura was transitioning towards its new status as a Kura Kaupapa Māori. This has since been approved by the Ministry of Education and Te Runanganui o Nga Kura Kaupapa Māori (TRKKM).

Positive support from Kura Kaupapa Māori within Ngāti Porou and TRKKM as well as from kaumātua, whānau and the wider community is assisting the Kura to make a successful transition. Students are relaxed and settled. They are confident speakers of te reo Māori, culturally strong and actively involved in learning.

The principal is effectively managing a culture of positive collaboration and commitment by kaumātua, whānau and iwi. These connections have been critical to the new developments experienced within the kura environment. Context for student’s learning, language experiences, cultural identity and values are provided. The kura is well placed to support and provide total Māori language immersion and matauranga Māori.

2 Review and Development

How effectively is the school addressing its priorities for review and development?

Priorities identified for review and development

Development and implementation of te marau ā kura

  • Progression towards the introduction of ngā whanaketanga
  • The reliability and analysis and use to guide teaching and learning
  • Implementation of effective self-review systems
  • School leadership capability.


Curriculum: development and implementation of te marau ā kura

Good progress is being made in developing Te Kura Kaupapa-o-Whatatutu marau ā kura. This is being achieved through extensive consultation with kaumātua, whānau, wider community and TRKKM. Te Wairua Tapu and Te Aho Matua provide the foundation for the marau-a-kura. Through karakia, waiata, mōteatea, whakapapa and te hitori o ngā iwi the marau is beginning to emerge. Kaumātua are leading the way and the knowledge and experience of whānau orators, singers, writers and poets are being sought to assist with the development process.

Whatatutu is a kura manawa ora and kura taiao. The Mauri of the whenua reinforces the importance of life and living. The mara kai is a major focus of the life of the kura and community and the outdoor physical environment is an extension and key component of the learning programme. Well-tended vegetable gardens provide kai for whānau gatherings and the whenua reinforces students’ understandings about environmental sustainability. Gardens and fruit trees provide students with experiences and understanding about the ways the natural environment supports whānau wellbeing. The Mauri of the whenua reinforces the importance of life and living.

There is a strong emphasis on integrating the marau in terms of putaiao, tikanga-ā-iwi, ngā toi and hauora. It is strongly contextual and relevant to students and reinforces their identity, place and well being. Marau coverage is regularly monitored by teachers.

A partnership-relationship is developing with Whirikoka campus, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. This relationship is expected to provide more extensive opportunity for senior students to participate in programmes that promote appropriate future pathways.

A next step is for the kura and whānau is to work alongside TRKKM to incorporate Te Aho Matua within the framework of te marau-a-kura.

Progression towards the introduction of ngā whanaketanga and the reliability, analysis and use to guide teaching and learning

Good progress has been made in introducing and implementing ngā whanaketanga in teaching and learning practices. Teachers have worked successfully alongside professional development providers to:

  • develop an assessment schedule and set clear expectations for the collection and use of achievement information
  • use of assessment information for grouping students in pāngarau, pānui pukapuka and tuhituhi
  • show the progress and achievement of student’s learning across pānui pukapuka, tuhituhi and pāngarau
  • ensure professional learning and development support is focused and appropriate to kura needs
  • develop strategies for assisting senior students to-work independently on agreed tasks and projects
  • assist with the reporting of ngā whanaketanga to the board and whānau
  • provide useful and appropriate information to assist and support priority learners.

Continuation of this professional development should continue to assist teachers to increase their understandings of ngā whanaketanga and strengthen assessment and evaluation practices and improve student achievement.

Development and implementation of effective self-review systems

Good progress has been made in developing board and teacher understanding of effective self-review practice. A systematic approach to self review is being developed and the plan is documented and reported on to the board.

Board training about self review has been intensive. This has resulted in better understandings by board members of expectations around self review. Improved reporting by teachers assists the board to make informed decisions about resourcing, student achievement targets and professional leadership development.

Attendance at School Trustees Association (STA) meetings has also improved board members awareness of governance responsibilities. TRKKM wananga has provided insight into Te Aho Matua and reinforced whānau and community obligations and responsibilities.

Currently, board meetings are held infrequently and this places a lot of responsibility on the principal. More frequent meetings should ensure equitable allocation and monitoring of delegations and responsibilities. It is important that the board is well organised and supportive of the principal as the school makes the transition to a Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Aho Matua.

Development of school leadership capability

A number of opportunities have been provided to develop the leadership potential and capability of the principal and teacher. In 2009, the principal attended a first time principal’s course alongside other Māori principals. It was at this time, that Toronoa a leadership group of Māori principals was created. Toronoa is an important network. They work collaboratively to support each other and to strengthen their knowledge and understanding of their professional leadership roles and responsibilities.

The course for aspiring principals has provided the teacher with insight and understanding of the role of a principal. Both the principal and teacher have continued to attend relevant workshops for advancing their knowledge of professional leadership, management and administration. These workshops have assisted both teachers to build student capability in the classroom and whānau participation in school activities.

An area for development and review is to complete the principal's performance agreement and appraisal process.

3 Sustainable performance and self review

How well placed is the school to sustain and continue to improve and review its performance?

Te Kura Kaupapa o Whatatutu is well placed to sustain and improve its performance. Teachers, whānau, iwi and hapū have worked collaboratively to:

  • progress and achieve the change of school status to a kura kaupapa Māori o Te Aho Matua
  • address the areas identified for development in the previous ERO review report
  • develop strong self-review and reporting systems for the board and staff
  • implement an assessment process that continues to be refined and improved
  • develop a strong and committed community network to assist with the development of te marau-ā-kura
  • involve kāumatua in key decision making processes of the kura
  • strengthen whānau and student commitment to the kaupapa, values and cultural context of the kura
  • work alongside other kura kaupapa Māori to improve their knowledge and understanding of Te Aho Matua in principle and practice.

These good practices should ensure the sustainability of the school’s unique and positive features.

Board assurance on legal requirements

Before the review, the board of trustees 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:

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

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

  • emotional safety of students (including prevention of bullying and sexual harassment)
  • physical safety of students
  • teacher registration
  • processes for appointing staff
  • stand-downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
  • attendance.


Students, teachers, whānau and community have responded well to the kura’s change in direction from mainstream to Te Aho Matua kaupapa Māori education. Students receive good quality education that is contextual, relevant and appropriate. Teachers make good use of professional development to improve the quality of teaching and learning.

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

Dale Bailey

National Manager Review Services

Northern Region

25 August 2014

About the School


Whatatutu, near Gisborne

Ministry of Education profile number


School type

Full Primary (Years 1 to 8)

School roll


Gender composition

Girls 17

Boys 15

Ethnic composition



Special Features

Kura Kaupapa Māori

Review team on site

June 2014

Date of this report

25 August 2014

Most recent ERO report(s)

Education Review

Supplementary Review

Supplementary Review

June 2012

April 2010

February 2009