About Poutama Pounamu

Te Wero (the challenge) by Donn Ratana Ngāi TūhoeE ō maunga tapu, e o awa e tere ana
E ō moana piataata,
E ō marae, e ō whare tipuna,
Ki a koe, ki ō whānau, hapū, iwi, tēnā koutou katoa.
Tēnā koutou katoa ngā mihi ki a koutou e pānui ana i ēnei whārangi.
Ngā mohiotanga kei roto i tēnei whakatakotoranga kaupapa, mo tātou katoa, ahakoa nō hea.

To your sacred mountains, to your flowing rivers,
To your glistening seas,
To your tribal places, your ancestral houses,
To you and to your people, we greet you.
Greetings to all that read within these pages.
The knowledge being laid out within this agenda is for us all, from wherever we have come.

(Artwork: Te Wero (the challenge) by Donn Ratana of Ngāi Tūhoe)


The name Poutama Pounamu

Rangiwhakaehu Walker, an elder from Tauranga Moana, gifted the name Poutama Pounamu to a former research centre in 1995. Rangiwhakaehu wanted a name that encapsulated the poutama or staircase towards knowledge with pounamu, the most precious and highly valued greenstone. Hence the Poutama Pounamu Education Research and Development Centre was launched within Special Education Services.

This Centre undertook important research with schools and Māori communities for over 20 years before it was disbanded in 2010.Much of this work was undertaken with leaders from the University of Waikato.

It is a privilege now as a group of academics and professional developers, working at the University of Waikato, to utilise this name once more.

Atawhai ngā rito, kia puāwai ngā tamariki.
Ako i ngā tamariki, kia tu tāngata ai, tātou katoa.

Cherish and nurture the shoots, so the children will bloom.
Learn from and with these children, so that we all can stand tall.


Ako critical contexts for change

From within whānau responsibilities to grow and nurture, Poutama Pounamu extends opportunities to schools/kura, communities and Kāhui Ako to ensure each learner’s prior knowledge and experience provides the foundation from which new learning can build and potential can be released.

Under the Treaty of Waitangi, partnership, protection and participation is the right of all learners, Māori (iwi) and non-Māori (Pākehā and Tauiwi).

The ako critical contexts for change:

  • professional knowledge and adaptive expertise together with
  • relational and culturally responsive pedagogies and
  • home school collaborations

promote an accelerated pathway of change towards equity, excellence and belonging.



About the Poutama Pounamu whānau

The work of the Poutama Pounamu whānau builds on years of iterative New Zealand research, amplified by the voices of Māori students, their whānau and education professionals. We reflect the bicultural nature of New Zealand society.

Our whānau includes:


The challenge and the vision

Our challenge is to consider how we might contribute more effectively towards ending the disparities faced by earlier generations of Māori children.

Just as we may have contributed to these past disparities, we now have the agency to change this status quo and contribute towards a better future so that our next generation have more equitable opportunities to develop their potential and take their rightful place in society.

Our kaupapa is

Equity, excellence and belonging, building strong foundations for the future.

We will do this by supporting schools/kura, communities and Kāhui Ako to understand the moral purpose that is central to promoting contexts for change where equity, excellence and belonging can be realised.

(Artwork: Whānau by Donn Ratana of Ngāi Tūhoe)