Te Punanga O Te Reo Kuki Airani - 09/06/2017

1 Evaluation of Te Punanga o Te Reo Kuki Airani

How well placed is Te Punanga o Te Reo Kuki Airani to promote positive learning outcomes for children?

Not well placed

Requires further development

Well placed

Very well placed

ERO's findings that support this overall judgement are summarised below.


Te Punanga o Te Reo Kuki Airani opened in 1983 as the first Cook Islands Māori language nest in New Zealand. Its promotion of Cook Islands Māori language, culture and identity is significant for Wellington's Cook Islands Māori community. Te Punanga provides education and care for 28 children, including 12 up to the age of two years.

The centre is located in a residential area of central Wellington and operates in a converted bungalow. Children and their families are from diverse cultural backgrounds that include New Zealand Māori, New Zealand Pākeha, Italian, Chinese and Russian. Most of the children are either Cook Islands Māori or Samoan.

The centre is owned and governed by an incorporated society. A management committee provides governance support and is made up of staff and parent representatives. A new chairperson was appointed to the committee at the end of 2016. She has a long association with Te Punanga and brings broad early childhood education and leadership expertise to this governance role. She also has significant understanding of and support for the centre's philosophy and vision.

Teachers at the centre are of Cook Islands descent and one is Tahitian. The centre continues to be supported by Mamas, elder Cook Islands women who provide guidance for younger teachers. The Mamas provide leadership around peu tupuna, the ancestry and heritage which are the essence of Cook Islands language, culture and identity. One of these tuakana is the long-serving and experienced supervisor. She is joined by experienced and newer teachers. The centre manager, another long-serving staff member, provides management and administrative support for staff.

The 2013 ERO report identified that progress had been made to address health and safety issues, and improve self review, the teachers' appraisal system and teaching practices. Areas for further development identified in the 2013 ERO report also included teaching practices, self review, appraisal and strategic planning. Good progress has been made in these areas.

The Review Findings

Children are friendly and welcoming to each other and adults. They know their teachers well and are confident to interact with them. Babies and toddlers are especially connected to the Mamas who, along with other teachers, promote their wellbeing and security in the centre environment. Teachers know children and their families well. They are dedicated to upholding the vision and values of Te Punanga and provide generous support for parents and children.

Teachers are warm and sensitive in their interactions with children. They promote akonoanga, affectionate and nurturing relationships, especially with infants and toddlers. Teachers value the varied skills and talents that each bring to the teaching team. They engage children in good conversations about their ideas and play. Tuakana/teina relationships are enhanced by opportunities for mixed-age play.

Teachers use the concept of Te Vaka to plan programmes based on monthly events or themes and make interesting connections to Cook Islands Māori culture. They plan to extend children's interests through activities and experiences. Regular excursions out of the centre connect children to the local community and promote parent engagement and participation. Teachers provide specific support for older children who are ready to transition to school. Managers agree that transition-to-school programmes could better reflect good quality early childhood practices.

Children enjoy group times and opportunities to sing, dance and speak in Cook Islands Māori and New Zealand Māori. Children and other teachers benefit from the Mamas' fluency in Cook Islands Māori and hearing the language in their daily interactions. Displays in Cook Islands Māori adorn the environment.

Managers recognise the importance of children having increased opportunities to speak Cook Islands Māori, including engaging with the language beyond commands and simple sentences. It would be useful to document and celebrate in children's portfolios the progress they make in their language acquisition. To enhance the significant place of Cook Islands Māori culture in children's learning, teachers could provide daily opportunities for children to engage in traditional activities. Managers are also keen to promote more natural and culturally appropriate resources throughout the centre.

The centre is well led and governed. Leaders ensure that teachers have good opportunities for ongoing professional learning that includes innovative action research and effective teaching practices within a Cook Islands Māori context. This approach, alongside the appraisal system, continues to support teachers to work collaboratively and be improvement focused. Leaders implement a useful and culturally responsive Te Pareu approach to promote children's wellbeing and as a self-review tool for change and improvement. They have a useful policy framework and are keen to review policies more meaningfully against their practice.

The centre's strategic planning connects well to the centre's vision and philosophy. This useful approach supports leaders to measure progress towards meeting strategic goals during the year.

Key Next Steps

Centre leaders agree that key next steps for the centre include teachers continuing to:

  • enhance children's learning of Cook Islands Māori language and culture and assessing the skills and knowledge children gain over time

  • promote natural and culturally responsive activities and resources in the learning programme

  • provide transition-to-school programmes that are based on good quality early childhood educational theory and practice

  • encourage teachers to complete research about early childhood education theory and practice from a Cook Island Māori perspective.

Management Assurance on Legal Requirements

Before the review, the staff and management of Te Punanga o Te Reo Kuki Airani completed an ERO Centre Assurance Statement and Self-Audit Checklist. In these documents they attested that they have taken all reasonable steps to meet their legal obligations related to:

  • curriculum
  • premises and facilities
  • health and safety practices
  • governance, management and administration.

During the review, ERO looked at the service’s systems for managing the following areas that have a potentially high impact on children's wellbeing:

  • emotional safety (including positive guidance and child protection)

  • physical safety (including supervision; sleep procedures; accidents; medication; hygiene; excursion policies and procedures)

  • suitable staffing (including qualification levels; police vetting; teacher registration; ratios)

  • evacuation procedures and practices for fire and earthquake.

All early childhood services are required to promote children's health and safety and to regularly review their compliance with legal requirements.

Next ERO Review

When is ERO likely to review the service again?

The next ERO review of Te Punanga o Te Reo Kuki Airani will be in three years.

Steffan Brough

Deputy Chief Review Officer Northern (Acting)

9 June 2017 

The Purpose of ERO Reports

The Education Review Office (ERO) is the government department that, as part of its work, reviews early childhood services throughout Aotearoa New Zealand. ERO’s reports provide information for parents and communities about each service’s strengths and next steps for development. ERO’s bicultural evaluation framework Ngā Pou Here is described in SECTION 3 of this report. Early childhood services are partners in the review process and are expected to make use of the review findings to enhance children's wellbeing and learning. 

2 Information about the Early Childhood Service 


Berhampore, Wellington

Ministry of Education profile number


Licence type

Education & Care Service

Licensed under

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008

Number licensed for

28 children, including up to 12 aged under 2

Service roll


Gender composition

Girls 16 Boys 12

Ethnic composition


Cook Islands Māori







Percentage of qualified teachers

0-49% 50-79% 80%

Based on funding rates


Reported ratios of staff to children

Under 2


Better than minimum requirements

Over 2


Better than minimum requirements

Review team on site

May 2017

Date of this report

9 June 2017

Most recent ERO report(s)


Education Review

May 2013

Supplementary Review

March 2012

Supplementary Review

August 2010

3 General Information about Early Childhood Reviews

ERO’s Evaluation Framework

ERO’s overarching question for an early childhood education review is ‘How well placed is this service to promote positive learning outcomes for children?’ ERO focuses on the following factors as described in the bicultural framework Ngā Pou Here:

  • Pou Whakahaere – how the service determines its vision, philosophy and direction to ensure positive outcomes for children
  • Pou Ārahi – how leadership is enacted to enhance positive outcomes for children
  • Mātauranga – whose knowledge is valued and how the curriculum is designed to achieve positive outcomes for children
  • Tikanga whakaako – how approaches to teaching and learning respond to diversity and support positive outcomes for children.

Within these areas ERO considers the effectiveness of arotake – self review and of whanaungatanga – partnerships with parents and whānau.

ERO evaluates how well placed a service is to sustain good practice and make ongoing improvements for the benefit of all children at the service.

A focus for the government is that all children, especially priority learners, have an opportunity to benefit from quality early childhood education. ERO will report on how well each service promotes positive outcomes for all children, with a focus on children who are Māori, Pacific, have diverse needs, and are up to the age of two.

For more information about the framework and Ngā Pou Here refer to ERO’s Approach to Review in Early Childhood Services.

ERO’s Overall Judgement and Next Review

The overall judgement that ERO makes and the timing of the next review will depend on how well placed a service is to promote positive learning outcomes for children. The categories are:

  • Very well placed – The next ERO review in four years
  • Well placed – The next ERO review in three years
  • Requires further development – The next ERO review within two years
  • Not well placed - The next ERO review in consultation with the Ministry of Education

ERO has developed criteria for each category. These are available on ERO’s website.

Review Coverage

ERO reviews are tailored to each service’s context and performance, within the overarching review framework. The aim is to provide information on aspects that are central to positive outcomes for children and useful to the service.