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

Principles of educationally powerful partnerships


This website supports schools and school principals to achieve improved outcomes for Māori students through building better practice.

A set of principles identified from research and existing policy underpin this Ruia partnerships website.

The principles are based on the understanding that real partnerships imply high-trust relationships.



1. Educationally powerful partnerships focus on supporting valued student outcomes and educational success for Māori students as Māori.

Teachers and school leaders understand the learning needs of their students in relationship to outcomes valued by the students themselves and by their whānau, their iwi and the wider community.


Students value learning, see themselves as learners, and have strategies that they know will help them succeed as learners in te ao Māori, te ao Pākehā, and te ao whānui (the wider world).


Together, whānau and school ensure that everyone values Māori students’ culture and see it as a relevant and meaningful part of their learning at school.

2. Educationally powerful partnerships involve school leadership.

Principals, along with boards of trustees and other school leaders, take a key role in determining the nature of school–whānau relationships and are involved in initiatives to improve those relationships. If this role is delegated to another person, that person has a place on the leadership team.

3. Educationally powerful partnerships access whānau and/or community funds of knowledge.

Schools support students to succeed “as Māori” by finding out about the actual knowledge, capabilities, beliefs, values, and aspirations held by students, whānau, the community, and iwi.


Teaching and learning draws on this knowledge and expertise.

4. Educationally powerful partnerships incorporate joint school–whānau ‘initiatives’ that enable ako1.

Initiatives and programmes involve whānau, iwi, teachers, and school leaders working together to better support children’s learning.


The teaching and learning of school professionals and whānau (including iwi and other community members) are aligned to ensure that students experience coherence between their educational experiences at home and at school.

5. Educationally powerful partnerships are integrated into school policies, practices, and processes.

The importance of whānau participation is made explicit in school policies, practices, and processes.


Whānau participate in developing and reviewing these policies, practices, and processes.


Both these considerations have a positive impact on the ways in which people across the school work.


  1. These initiatives promote teaching aligned with, informed by, and reliant on knowledge of community members. The initiative enable whānau to support their children’s learning at home. Examples include a series of interventions carried out by the Poutama Pounamu Research and Development Centre (see the School Leadership and Student Outcomes BES, Robinson, Hohepa, and Lloyd, 2009, page 160). 

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