Ngā hononga kura-whānau e puta ai ngā ihu o ngā ākonga Māori

Te Ara Whānui Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Kōhanga Reo o Te Awa Kairangi

Te Ara Whānui is a decile 3 kura in Lower Hutt, with students in years 1–10. The kura was inaugurated in response to strong demand from parents of children in the kōhanga reo of Te Awa Kairangi and continues to develop in close collaboration with whānau. Four people were interviewed for Ruia: the tumuaki, the deputy principal, a senior teacher, and a parent.

Te Ara Whanui KKM2
What are the priorities for our Māori students?

The people interviewed for this case study expressed high expectations for student achievement.  When students step out of Te Ara Whānui Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Kōhanga Reo o Te Awa Kairangi, their kura whānau expect that they will be confident, knowledgeable citizens who will make informed decisions and choices. The school’s core principles are based on a blending of Te Aho Matua, Te Whāriki, and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, for example:

Whakamana i te Tamaiti – Tū tangata i te Tamaiti i te ao hurihuri – Strengthening our children is dependent on the survivability, sustainability, and retention of te reo Māori me ōna nei tikanga and the inter-generational transmission of information, knowledge, and skills.

All those interviewed agreed that students’ educational success as Māori is about students feeling strong, confident, and proud and being competent speakers of te reo Māori and English. The interviewees believe that knowing who they are and where they are from will stand students in good stead as they make their way in the world. Te Ara Whānui expects its students to achieve in whichever area they choose and that they will maintain a connection to the kura. These ideals are both realised and communicated when tauira return as mātua, to coach sports, to tautoko their teina when they graduate, when they acknowledge the kura in their achievements, and when they meet with members of the kura community at marae, kōhanga reo, and other community events. They are encapsulated in the acronym WAKA: Whanaungatanga, Awhi, Kaitiakitanga, Aroha.

The twice yearly goal-setting process is the main driver for determining student learning goals. In this process, the mana rests with the student and the whānau. 

Throughout the year, each whare (syndicate) sends a weekly pānui to whānau, informing them of what’s happening, giving regular updates on student learning, and inviting whānau to discuss their child’s learning if desired. This provides whānau with a wealth of knowledge and understanding of how their child is progressing. When the goal-setting session takes place, the whānau are able to make well-informed decisions and ask quality questions about their child’s education, and agreement on future goals is easily reached. 

During the goal-setting hui, whānau are asked to tell kaiako about the life of the tamaiti (child) outside the kura, including what their tamaiti does well, so that the kaiako can learn about the whole child. This ensures that the kura is aware of and can celebrate the successful learning that happens outside kura, in the context of the whānau and hapori (community). Whānau are also asked to consider the next learning step their tamaiti might take at home and to take responsibility for growing and monitoring that learning.

The kura often seeks whānau feedback through questions in the regular kura pānui (for example, “What is manaaki? What does it look like?”).

The close relationship between kura and whānau was clearly evidenced by the relationships in the group that was interviewed. The parent is the mother of some foundation students of the kura, and her grandchildren now attend the kura. The tumuaki has led the kura since its inception, and many of her own close relatives provide a solid foundation of support. As mana tangata and ngā kōhanga reo and marae of the rohe, people are always available to tautoko. The tumuaki expressed her firm belief that the kura exists as an extension of Te Kōhanga Reo. Whānau are expected to continue their commitment to walking alongside and learning with their tamaiti.

What are our own learning needs?

Analysis of student achievement data, ongoing learning conversations, and the ‘kāinga and kura books’ for students whose progress is of concern combine to support both whānau and kaiako to focus their attention on tamariki and their learning needs. This careful monitoring enables the adults supporting a child’s learning to respond promptly to emerging needs, strengths, and interests, quickly identifying any areas where they themselves need to learn and change.

Planning and participating in partnership learning

Opportunities for professional learning are based on a deep understanding of where students, kaiako, and whānau are as learners. Kaiako and whānau take part in kōrero about potential solutions, changes, and adaptations and about the internal or external resources that could be called upon to address learning gaps. They work towards a consensus on what they agree is appropriate for the students, the whānau, and all the kaiako.

Partnership actions: connecting and collaborating

‘Kāinga and kura books’ are a mechanism for providing more intensive, targeted support for students whose progress is of concern. From the moment a child wakes until the time they go to bed, the adults they engage with keep a record of what they notice: what the tamaiti does, how the tamaiti responds to different events and opportunities, and any successes, concerns, challenges, and queries. This rich, ongoing record is used with analysed achievement data to allow close collaborative monitoring of student progress. Patterns can be quickly identified and a response put in place at both kura and home. The shared aim is to support students to become self-managing learners.

A priority of the kura is to support whānau by bringing community services to the parents of the kura in person. Consequently, the kura invites a range of service providers to set up information tables at the goal-setting hui. These include both local community service providers and public service representatives, but the emphasis is on Māori service providers. Visitors have included representatives from marae-based hauora services, local educational providers, the public health nurse, speech and hearing advisors, Group Special Education services, the Inland Revenue Department, Work and Income New Zealand, the Accident Compensation Corporation, and Heartbeat.

What has been the impact of our changed ways of working? 

Almost all members of the kura whānau attended the most recent goal-setting session. If whānau do not attend these sessions, the tumuaki makes it her responsibility to contact them and find out the reason for this. Whānau are often offered an alternative time to discuss the learning of their tamaiti.

Feedback is sought from whānau face to face, by email, or by phone. Where feedback indicates concern, the tumuaki arranges a meeting with whānau. Student profiles are also critiqued with input from whānau, students, and kaimahi (members of staff).

The attendance of the community and public service representatives at the goal-setting hui has contributed to the development of relationships with those providers. The tumuaki said, “This all contributes to the well-being of our tamariki and whānau.”

Return to top