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Appendix 4: About Māori-medium education

Education for Māori: Context for our proposed audit work until 2017.

Māori-medium providers are kōhanga reo, kura kaupapa Māori, and wānanga. The primary purpose of kōhanga reo is to pass on Māori language and cultural values to young children through total immersion in te reo and a concurrent emphasis on whānau, hapū, and iwi development. The Ministry supports this model of education,34 noting that "Key elements of success for the movement have been that kohanga reo are designed, managed, and administered by whānau."

Kura kaupapa Māori operate on the principles of Te Aho Matua o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori (Te Aho Matua), written as the foundation document for kura kaupapa Māori and legislated for in 1999.35 The foundation document is written in Māori. Translated, it says that Te Aho Matua provides:

  • a philosophical base for the teaching and learning of children and provides policy guidelines for parents, teachers, and Boards of Trustees in their respective roles and responsibilities; and
  • a basis from which curriculum planning and design can evolve, allowing for diversity while maintaining an integral unity.

Te Aho Matua is presented in six parts. Each part has a special focus on what, from a Māori point of view, is crucial in the education of children.

The six parts are Te Ira Tangata (the human essence), Te Reo (the language), Ngā Iwi (the people), Te Ao (the world), Āhuatanga Ako (circumstances of learning), and Ngā Tino Uaratanga (essential values).36

Kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori are characterised by this focus on Māori culture and language as the purpose and the means of educational, personal, and eventually societal success.


34: Ministry of Education (2001), Report to the Ministers of Education and Māori Affairs of the Crown/Kohanga Reo National Trust Joint Working Group to review the relationship between the Crown and Te Kohanga Reo National Trust, Wellington, page 5.

35: Section 155A of the Education Act 1989, as inserted by the Education (Te Aho Matua) Amendment Act 1999.

36: New Zealand Gazette, Issue No. 32, 22 February 2008, page 740.

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CoverEducation for Māori: Context for our proposed audit work until 2017

ISBN 978-0-478-38379-9 (print)
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