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Kīngitanga Day at the University of Waikato

Posted on 20 September, 2021īngitanga

Celebrating Kīngitanga Day

Waikato Tainui are custodians of the lands on which the University of Waikato is located in Hamilton. To consolidate and respect this relationship, staff and students dedicate one day each year to come together to remember, celebrate and develop more authentic understandings about the Kīngitanga movement. This day is known as Kīngitanga Day.


Waikato tribes started the Kīngitanga movement in the late 1850s in an attempt to unite the tribes under a single sovereign, prevent land sales, and to make laws for Māori by Māori.

The early years, under the leadership of Kīngi Tāwhiao, were dominated by the invasion of the Waikato and the wars that followed. Aspirations that emerged from these foundational struggles have influenced what has continued to be one of New Zealand’s most enduring political movements. The seventh successive sovereign since the inception of the Kīngitanga, and the current Māori King, is Kīngi Tūheitia.

In the past, Kīngitanga Days have been cultural celebrations with students and staff from across the campus coming together to participate in a range of activities. Many of these activities remember and celebrate these important beginnings. Other activities consider what has been and is being achieved through the academy to ensure more mutually evolving respectful relationships going forward. Many are about celebrating and sharing who we are and what we stand for as people and as a campus. Others are about taking our collective thinking into the future.

This year, in order to follow the precedent set by the online Koroneihana (Coronation) celebrations - and to comply with the COVID Alert Level Guidelines - for the first time, the day’s events were delivered completely online.

Kīngitanga day online for the first time meant it could be viewed nationally or globally. This meant Poutama Pounamu staff were able to check out the programme and join in, no matter where in the country they live and work. Below are comments we heard from their reflections on some of the events on the programme.

Miranda Joass: Ka tuku te mihi ki tō tātou nei Kingi a Tuheitia, rātou ko te whare Kāhui Ariki, Rire rire hau paimarie!

For me, Kīngitanga Day was a celebration of mana wāhine, from the kaiwhakahaere Maria who led discussions throughout the day, to the numerous kaikōrero and kairangahau, sharing with us matauranga on their respective kaupapa. References by tāne to our mareikura past, present and future, paid homage to the roles of wāhine as leaders, empowerers and drivers of change.
- “...if you have a look around the country from the top to the bottom you will find that the leadership in all of this journey were women.” Timi Maipi
- "Empowered knowing that people, and women who are leading the way with research…” Julian
Dawn Lawrence: Being able to be a part of the day whilst in level 4 lockdown here in Tāmaki Mākarau lifted me out of the challenges of the moment, creating an opportunity to connect with people, places and ideas beyond my four walls.

What a great way to start - Timi Maipi and his moko Hana. It was fascinating to hear his stories about Ngā Tama Toa, his involvement with the Polynesian Panthers and the connections he made to the issues of today. What I particularly enjoyed was the way in which he created space for Hana and the ako evident in their interactions. I was both humbled and warmed by the respect, love and trust between them that shone through.
Rāwini Ngaamo: Listening to the reflections of Matua Timi Maipi and those of his beautiful moko Hana was bittersweet and inspiring. His stories of Ngā Tama Toa and their courageous actions are important reminders to us to keep going.

These stories helped me to reflect on how long our people have worked to uphold and protect the mana of our reo, our tikanga and our deep connection with the whenua. It was a privilege and an honour to witness the rākau being passed on from one generation to the next.
Johnson Davis: I too enjoyed listening to parts of the kōrero by Timi Maipa and his moko - Hana. It was inspiring to hear, feel and connect to the multitude of struggles, acts of resistance, revitalisation and reclamation that Matua Timi in particular has endured, sustained and championed over time. Simply, breathtaking.

Another theme that ran through all of the speakers' kōrero was the importance of reaching back into kaupapa Māori spaces in order to decolonise the systems in which we live and work.

Dawn Lawrence: I also enjoyed the kōrero from the Integrating Kaupapa Māori across Programmes PGCert in Tertiary Teaching paper panelists.

Within the work of Poutama Pounamu, asking critical questions of our current euro-centric curriculum and seeking ways to give mana to mātauranga Māori has been an ongoing conversation so it was heartening to see that such questions are also being asked within the university. I loved the methodology lesson within the kōrero from Mere, Lesley and Tracey. What can read as quite lifeless on the page spoke of possibility, excitement and hope when shared through stories, pictures and the obvious connectedness of each of the speakers.

Tracey Mauria Ngatoko, Lesley Rameka and Mere Berryman were invited to share an aspect of their Marsden research about Languaculture.

In this paper, we present understandings from kaumātua (elders both male and female) and whānau (parents and extended family members). These people live in a close-knit hapū (subtribe) community close to their marae or ancestral meeting space. Their marae continues to be essential in the promotion of Māori knowledge, language and ways of being. Kaumātua and whānau recall important cultural understandings and practices from this journey. From growing up largely in te ao Māori (the Māori world) they consider ‘languaculture,’ the interrelationships between language and culture as foundational to their future ‘hope’ for collective cultural strength and wellbeing.

View their presentation in the video below. Also, a draft of this paper can be downloaded here.

  • An earlier news story about this research can be found here.

We end with Melissa’s comments which seem relevant and empowering to take with us out of what was a truly memorable day. We are grateful to this kaupapa that continues to create spaces in our institution to unlearn, relearn and learn. What has emerged from these historical events can take us all forward, Māori and non-Māori, towards more participatory mana ōrite spaces in Aotearoa.

Melissa Corlett: Lately my work as a Pākehā Poutama Pounamu team member has led me to challenge my own understanding of partnership, where these ideas come from and how useful they may or may not be.

I listened intently when Will ‘ilolahia spoke about what it means to him to be “at the table” and I smiled to hear Timi Maipi talk about the successes of the Māori ward debates where people realised for themselves the significance of Te Ao Māori. I also appreciated Tracey Mauria Ngatoko speaking of the mythtakes of colonisation and discussing one of the aims of the languaculture research as revitalising important understandings of Te Ao Māori.

How amazing to hear these three inspiring women researching back to power from within the very institutions that helped develop the mythtakes they seek to undo. As Maria Huata stated: "we must continue to challenge the status quo, to challenge ourselves and do the mahi".

He mihi maioha mo tēnei mahi whakahirahira. Mauri ora!

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Our Hope for Te Hurihanganui

Posted on 06 September, 2021

Te Hurihanganui launched in Manurewa

Chair of Manurewa Marae Rangi McLean and Dr Therese Ford

Chair of Manurewa Marae Rangi McLean and Dr Therese Ford

In August of this year Te Hurihanganui was officially launched in Manurewa. Dr Therese Ford, herself a member of the Mātanga group that developed the blueprint for Te Hurihanganui, was invited to share the hope she had for te Hurihanganui. The following is the address she gave at the launch.

When I talk about the hope that we have - I want to talk about hope from the perspectives of the Mātanga group and the perspectives of Poutama Pounamu, the work team partner which will work alongside communities to give life to Te Hurihanganui.

I did some important learning about hope when the Mātanga were developing the blueprint for Te Hurihanganui. During one wānanga I told Wally Penetito - one of the rangatira in our group - that I felt optimistic about the kaupapa.

Wally informed me that optimism was a Western construct that is secular and derived from science.

He then added that hope, however, is closer to indigenous ways of thinking because hope is spiritual; it’s about vision and it involves the heart. It is this kind of hope that I want to talk to you about today.

The Mātanga group was made up of 10 predominantly Māori educators and included Pacific and Pākehā leaders who had a wide range of experience and expertise. We were asked to collectively pool our knowledge to develop a blueprint for transformative system shift; a kaupapa that would address racism, strengthen equity and accelerate the educational achievement and wellbeing of ākonga Māori and their whānau. The focus on ākonga Māori was intentional because our research had shown that all learners benefit from leadership and teaching practices that work well for Māori.

The Mātanga group comprised Jim Peters, Professor Wally Penetito, Mere Berryman as the chair, Daniel Murfitt, Professor Roberta Hunter, Te Waipounamu Teinakore, Dr. Lesley Rameka, Hurae White, Therese Ford and Whetu Cormick.

As Mātanga we hope that people understand that Te Hurihanganui is a “by Māori, for Māori, for all” response.

We took many months to develop both the pou and the principles to guide systemic shift and to decide on a name that would best capture our vision for this kaupapa. Te Hurihanganui seemed perfect because the monumental turning of Papatūānuku perfectly reflected the seismic shift we need to see in our education system to address racism, strengthen equity and accelerate the educational achievement and wellbeing of ākonga Māori and their whānau.

We were advised, however, that accepting this name for the kaupapa came with significant responsibility. If we were to take the name Te Hurihanganui we needed to live up to this name and make sure that the seismic shift happened. I see Wally’s concept of hope - spiritual, vision and heart - represented in this responsibility.’

As Mātanga we hope that the pou and the principles of Te Hurihanganui are understood and enacted responsively and with integrity so that we will all benefit from the seismic shift. Making this shift a reality is now the responsibility of all of us.

Poutama Pounamu is the work-team partner that will have the privilege of working in the Manurewa community with mana whenua, whānau, ākonga, schools, early learning and alternative education centres, your Pacific community and with your wider community organisations.

We have been undertaking educational research and development for over three decades.

Sarah Asher, Director for Te Hurihanganui, Ministry of Education.

In this time we have done a lot of learning about what works, but we recognise that we have much to learn from and with you. We are excited about learning, growing and transforming together with the Manurewa community.

We, Poutama Pounamu, humbly enter the ancestral homelands of the mana whenua of Manurewa. We recognise your important cultural status as guardians of this whenua and the critical mahi that you are doing with whānau, hapū, iwi, the Pacific community and the wider community.

Working with all whānau to understand and achieve the goals that they have for their tamariki mokopuna has always been central to the work of Poutama Pounamu.

We hope to learn alongside whānau about what works best for you and to understand how we might strengthen connections so that you can thrive alongside your tamariki mokopuna.

We do not take for granted the privilege it is to work with leaders and teachers in learning settings - ECE centres, schools and alternative education centres.

We take a strengths-based approach to engaging with learning settings and we seek to work in respectful, relational and responsive ways to collectively understand evidence and collaboratively develop critical actions.

Poutama Pounamu Kaumātua Whakaruruhau Tamati Tata

From our initial engagements, we understand that there are many in this community with visions that are consistent with the kaupapa of Te Hurihanganui.

We hope that we can bring our pathways together and work in reciprocal and mutually beneficial ways.

‘We acknowledge the leadership of Minister Davis, his fellow ministers and the Ministry of Education. They have courageously responded to the evidence of systemic racism and intergenerational inequity for Māori by prioritising investment in Te Hurihanganui and other important initiatives.

We hope that we can continue to learn together with the Ministry of Education about what it takes to implement actions that engage the policy levers and give life to critical policies like Ka Hikitia - Hapaitia.

I want to finish with a message of hope that is embedded in my whakapapa. I descend from Awarau who was the last paramount chief of Ngāi Takoto. Awarau signed Te Tiriti in February 1840 on behalf of my people and I feel that hope informed his decision to sign. I believe that Awarau envisaged that my people would prosper from Te Tiriti and I am certain that he never anticipated the cultural suppression and social disadvantage that many of his mokopuna - my whānau - have experienced for over 160 years. This story is common across many whānau Māori.

For me, Te Hurihanganui represents our opportunity to disrupt and dismantle these intergenerational cycles of inequity and trauma for Māori and fundamentally re-orientate the pathways of both tangata whenua and tangata tiriti so that the potential and the promises inherent in Te Tiriti might finally be realised for all who call Aotearoa home.

In 1975, Whina Cooper asserted that ‘Not one more acre’ of Māori land be taken. In 2019, iwi leaders sent a clear message to Oranga Tamariki with their stance of ‘Not one more child’.

I hope that Te Hurihanganui will epitomise the notion that ‘Not one more generation’ will experience an education that ignores, suppresses and belittles their culture, language and identity. It’s 2021 - let this be the legacy we leave for all of our tamariki mokopuna - those that are here now and those that are yet to come.

Nō reira – tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tātou ka toa.

See also:

Poutama Pounamu whānau Dawn Lawrence, Rāwini Ngaamo, Tamati Tata, Therese Ford with Iti Joyce of Ngāti Tamaoho.

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Posted on 31 May, 2021

Enrolments for this paper close soon

In early July 2021 Poutama Pounamu will again be offering a paper in Culturally Responsive Research Methodologies. A Methodologies paper is a requirement for all students completing their Master's with a research project.

Culturally Responsive Methodologies utilise kaupapa Māori and critical theoretical frameworks to develop contexts within which individuals and groups can define the terms for engaging, relating and co-creating new knowledge through research.

For those who are graduates of Poutama Pounamu’s Blended Learning programme, this paper is an opportunity to extend and deepen the work they have already undertaken. The requirements of the paper include developing a research proposal that will set participants up to complete their Master's with a thesis or dissertation.

EDUCA500 is jointly taught by Professor Mere Berryman, Dr Therese Ford and Margaret Egan of Poutama Pounamu.

Three individuals who completed the paper in 2020 share their experiences:

“It was definitely a challenging experience for me” reported Kirk Milligan of Nelson College. “‘Method’ I'm fine with, I mean I'm from a science background, but getting to understand what methodology is caused me to deeply consider how others view the world. This methodology isn’t a spreadsheet thing, it’s a people thing, growing with a group of people for their benefit, not just your own.”

“It’s actually been life changing for me. I got a clarity I’ve never had before. For most of my teaching life I’ve felt a discomfort, I’ve always been searching for something in teaching and learning in terms of the inequity of it all”

“The paper prepared me not only to set up a research project but how to analyse your own intended actions to ensure the work will actually benefit those being researched. If that methodology is not coming from an informed space there is a high risk you could do damage

Rototuna Primary’s Ngahuia Nuri believes the care and responsibility that culturally responsive research requires is fully expressed through Kaupapa Māori and Critical Theories. In particular the need for active power sharing:

"It caused me to rethink just how we protect those we are working with. I’ve been able to take that directly back into the workplace because currently our Kāhui Ako are developing a local curriculum with mana whenua and this study underlines the need to make sure that we protect the stories of mana whenua, ensuring they retain ownership and always have the right to say no to any use they deem inappropriate.”

The sustaining of relationships with Kaumatua will be the subject of her research and subsequent thesis:

“It’s clear if you start with tikanga, and keep looking through that lens, it does make a difference”.

Sarah Entwisle from Aurora College in Invercargill wishes she had taken the Methodology paper earlier in her Master's study:

“I always intended to undertake research but I completed papers without really knowing what my goal was, or what the journey actually involved. Methodology put all the pieces together and provided a really good picture of my pathway.“

Sarah undertook the process to being granted a Study Award during Lockdown last year and this year she has leave from teaching to research how students are supported to bring local cultural narratives and their own prior knowledge and experience into the classroom.

EDUCA500 2021 will commence with a two day face to face engagement at the Tauranga campus on Wednesday 14 July and Thursday 15th July 2021.

Online arrangements to participate in these days can be made for students who do not live locally. Further information about EDUCA500 and enrolments are made online.

Click the following link for further information about studying at a Master's level:

For more information contact:

Tracey Rowan
Programme Administrator Postgraduate and Research
Te Kura Toi Tangata - School of Education
Ph: +64 7 838 4466 ext 7721
University of Waikato | Private Bag 3105
Hamilton 3240 | New Zealand

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​Marsden-funded research

Posted on 27 April, 2021

Languaculture within te ao Māori: Learning from infants, whānau and communities

Languaculture is a term meaning that a language includes not only elements such as grammar and vocabulary, but also past knowledge, local and cultural information, habits and behaviours. The term was coined by the American anthropologist. Professor Emeritus Michael Agar.

The Poutama Pounamu team has received Marsden research funding to understand how languaculture plays out in the inter-relationships between language and culture as it relates to infants, their whānau (families) and home communities across three hapū (sub tribal) settings.

To do this, the team wants to learn more about conception, birth and infancy, from precolonial Māori ways of viewing the world.

We also want to understand the experiences of whānau with babies learning to communicate into their home culture as the basis for being able to fully communicate in the more traditional schooling forms of communication that lead from speaking to reading and writing.

What do tamariki know?

From a precolonial Māori view of the child, we know that each child is unique and born of greatness. Within the word tamariki - that we all too often translate as ‘children’ - are two metaphors that speak of tamariki Māori as carriers of the divine spark from Tama-nui-te-rā (tama the sun) and created in the images of Ariki (the Gods) tama-ariki. (see footnote 1)

However, we also know that too many tamariki Māori are storied on entry to school as “knowing nothing”.

While we understand there might be tamaiti (metaphorically the ‘little sun’, translated as ‘child’) who do not know or are unable to do what the teacher wants them to know and do, we want to understand what actually may be in their cultural toolkit, their prior knowledge and experiences, that continues to be missed or belittled so that the divine spark with which they enter school soon begins to be dimmed or even extinguished.

Considering the impact of assimilation

For too many Māori children, the interrelationships and subtleties of language, culture and identity generated from Indigenous epistemologies have been eroded, belittled and overlooked by an education system and associated education policies that continue to promote assimilation into the worldview of the coloniser; a world view that is also grounded in racial hierarchies.

In New Zealand, this situation has continued to detrimentally influence how Māori have viewed their own language, culture and identity across successive generations, and how it is viewed by others.

By better understanding the socialisation of our tamariki and mokopuna (metaphorically the spring of our gene pool, regularly understood as ‘grandchildren’) from conception, we want to support more effective social interactions through early childhood and schooling, so that improved communication and hauora (wellbeing) is able to flow across other home and school communities.

We understand the importance of clear communication to one’s sense of belonging, emerging identities and later language and literacy acquisition. However, we know that for too many Māori this strong sense of belonging and belief in one’s own agency and voice is not happening. Research shows that this is intergenerational, pervasive and harmful. (see footnote 2)

About the researchers and communities

The research team comprises two principal investigators (Dr Mere Berryman and Dr Lesley Rameka) and three associate investigators (Karaitiana Tamatea, Tracey Togo and Diana Cruise).

These associate investigators are part of three different hapū communities either through whakapapa connections or at their invitation. All researchers are Māori.

Our main research question is:

How can a richer appreciation of traditional Māori-related knowledge, together with infants’ languaculture as relational dialogue, help to revise our understandings of hauora and legitimate literacy learning for infants?

Our research methodology

Participants are being selected from three different marae communities in different regions of the North Island (Tauranga, Waikato and Wairarapa). In each marae community we are working with up to six separate whānau groups, each with at least one infant (including some who are yet to be born) and up to 10-15 whānau members.

In each of the three marae settings, potential participants are identified using cultural encounters and procedures such as whanaungatanga (kinship ties through family connections or other networking).

Currently we are working with identified kaumātua (elders, both male and female) and other interested whānau members in the first marae setting.

We have explained the research and those who wish to participate are working with us to begin to share their traditional and contemporary stories and their current knowledge and experiences.

Whānau with babies have been invited to talk with us and to take cellphone videos of infant dialogue including writing down and/or recording what they understand of its significance. They will then post their video and understandings onto a private shared-group Messenger chat page for collective viewing and researcher analysis.

Kaumātua and whānau stories have been transcribed, checked, annotated and agreed upon through a dialogic process and as part of collective and culturally appropriate protocols and processes. This means that the metaphors and theorising constructed by these participants were most often from their own whānau and hapū cultural context.

Emerging themes

Three main themes have begun to emerge from the Tauranga Moana whānau that are represented in both the narratives of kaumātua and parents. These include:

  • Te Whare tangata - (the house of humanity also translated as the womb or
    uterus) - nurturing of the mother will in turn increase our ability to nurture the child and therefore our next generation.

  • Rūaumoko – (the deity of earthquakes and volcanoes metaphorically the
    rumbling of Rūaumoko signifies a new descendant) - the unborn child and their connection to their cultural identity is essential. This includes who they are, who and what they might become, and how this might occur.

  • Tamariki – hauora of our tamariki and their mothers begin by better understanding and using traditional Māori practices from birth.

Of particular interest from this initial engagement are the links they made to the importance of the holistic wellbeing of the child and essential to that was the importance of the revitalisation of cultural knowledge and practices.

If it takes a village to raise a child, this hapū, the immediate families of these babies and their wider hapū community are all wanting to take joint responsibility. However, the challenge will be - what about those parents, babies and tamariki who are no longer closely aligned to their whānau and wider whānau through their marae communities? How can we contribute then?


1. Eley, E. M. A. (2020). Fanning the divine spark: Gaining understandings of micro-interactions in New Zealand classrooms
2. Ngaamo, R. B. (2019. Through the eyes of whānau: Destruction of cultural identity through education

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​Launching the new year: Poutama Pounamu 2021

Posted on 02 March, 2021

First team hui

Gazing out across the sparkling waters of the Wharekawa Harbour I waited for my friends, my heart racing with anticipation.

It was the beginning of February 2021 and we were having our first team hui of the year at the stunning Wharekawa Lodge in Opoutere. People were coming from all over the country, from as far away as Invercargill, Nelson, and Wellington right through to Kerikeri to start off the new year together. There were new team members to be welcomed in and those already part of the whānau to reconnect with.

As we arrived in twos and threes we gathered around the barbeque tables outside the shared dining room. Birdsong filled the evening air as the manu flitted in and around the surrounding trees while on the ground there was much hugging, laughing, and excited conversation too!

We were honoured to have one of the local kaumatua and his whānau welcome us to their very special place with a mihi whakatau. That evening, members of the local waka ama team cooked and served our kai. It was so delicious that we all ate way too much that night! He reka te kai, he reka te manaakitanga hoki!

Over the next two days we soaked in the wairua of this beautiful place as we welcomed our new people into the whānau and began to consider the year ahead together.

We began with whanaungatanga and there were many shared tears and laughter as we came to know each other through our stories, our discovered connections to each other and the kaupapa.

Our work involves supporting schools/ kura and communities to understand how we may all contribute more effectively towards ending inequitable outcomes for our tamariki and mokopuna.

It was apparent that we share a deep commitment to equity, excellence and belonging for all and were keen to take the opportunity to deepen our understanding and skill in supporting this important mahi.

Ironically, we spent our days working in the original schoolhouse. The place that in the past was designated as the local native school and where the colonial curriculum was enacted upon the tamariki of the area.

The first day focused on creating and confirming our vision, our values and ways of being to light the pathway towards mauri ora for 2021 and beyond.

We explored the strategic overview together and Mere shared some key messages with us in regards to working towards our vision within Poutama Pounamu, the University of Waikato, the Ministry of Education, the wider education sector and indeed the society in which we live.

It was at times sobering to consider the immense task before us but there were mostly moments of excitement and confidence as we reflected on how far Poutama Pounamu have come and what a difference we are making in contributing to and supporting our collective efforts to transform the education system.

The next morning, the more intrepid among us, (some would choose a different word perhaps) arose early and met at the wharf as the new day began. Shanan and Ryan had the waka ready for us and after a karakia, off we set. Johnson called out to keep us in unison as we paddled and we all really did try to stay in time.

We arrived at the bar between us and the open ocean and were faced with a big decision - should we give it a go and head out over the bar or not? Our ‘camp mother’ Sharon wisely suggested that it was not safe enough to try today and when we found out later there had been a tsunami alert that morning we were grateful for the call.

The quiet dip-dip of the paddles, the gliding stingray beneath us and that special hush of a new day calmed our minds and bodies bringing a sense of mauri ora to us all. The rest of the day was given to finishing the mahi from the previous day and tidying up ready to return home.

The manaakitanga of our hosts was exceptional, humbling and very much appreciated. We can’t wait to return again but before that we have some mahi to do! Mauri ora!

Submitted by Rāwini Ngaamo

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Learning from Māori expertise

Posted on 05 February, 2021

building productive partnerships

School and ECE leaders, teachers and communities have a new best evidence feature that explains the ‘how’ of building productive partnerships in driving for change and excellent outcomes for ākonga in English medium education.

The ‘Learning from Māori expertise’ feature from 'Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis (BES) Hei Kete Raukura' focuses on Rongohia te Hau which is a kaupapa Māori way of building on and giving ongoing effect to whanaungatanga.

Rongohia te Hau ‘Listening to the winds of change’ involves the use of evidence including survey responses from ākonga, whānau, iwi and educators, observations of teaching and co-construction processes to develop culturally responsive teaching and learning across the curriculum.

Rongohia te Hau is just one of the critical change elements for equity, excellence, belonging and wellbeing used by Poutama Pounamu in schools and Early Childhood Centres across Aotearoa.

This new comprehensive BES feature comes off the back of calls that progress towards a culturally responsive education for Māori have been too slow and highlights the evidence of what does and does not work when evaluated by effects on Māori ākonga.

It brings that evidence to life through seven videos explaining the learning journey of Te Kāhui Ako o Te Puke and Bethlehem College Chapman, working with Poutama Pounamu, to use Rongohia te Hau.

Professor Mere Berryman, who is seen in the videos working with the teachers, says;

  • ‘It is important when using tools of any kind that we consider the theories that underpin them; why have they been developed; whose experiences are we better able understand; to learn from; and respond to. With this information we are better placed to build from people’s experiences rather than think we need to fix them up. The processes of Rongohia te Hau seek to work with people rather than do things to them.’

Three school principals who have won the Prime Minister’s Educational Excellence Awards also appear in the videos to explain how this expertise has sustained their ongoing improvement trajectory.

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Work with us

Posted on 27 November, 2020

Join our team

We are looking for Facilitators to join our team in providing professional learning and development in support of our commitment to building equity, excellence and belonging for all learners in Aotearoa New Zealand.


The positions will be based in all regions of Aotearoa New Zealand in order to serve Te Hurihanganui communities, Kāhui Ako, schools, kura and other institutions that are part of our workstreams.


To be successful in the role, it is essential to have a relevant qualification, preferably at postgraduate level, with demonstrated success as a professional development facilitator, and a willingness to work towards Accredited Facilitator status via the Ministry of Education.

In addition you must have deep understandings of The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC); and historical understandings of schooling in New Zealand, including the role and influence of the Treaty of Waitangi, school policies, resources, and challenges as they relate to system improvement for Māori.

You must be able to work effectively as an individual and within a team, and be motivated to pursue new learning opportunities. You will have experience with working effectively with Māori whānau and communities and it would be advantageous to be able to communicate in te reo.

It is essential that you have a full driver’s licence and are prepared to travel locally as well as out of region.

How to apply

For more information contact:

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Realising our agency

Posted on 01 November, 2020

Promoting contexts for change

Melissa Corlett teaches at Victory School in Nelson. She is one of a number from the region who have used their Poutama Pounamu Blended Learning work to launch their Master's studies.

Based on her experiences with Poutama Pounamu, Melissa has also contributed an article "Building the moral imperative to do better by Māori students - A Pākehā teacher’s reflection" to The New Zealand Council of Educational Research (NZCER) journal SET (SET 2, 2020).

She explains the background to the article:

The goal of the Poutama Pounamu Blended Learning course is to promote contexts for change where equity, excellence, and belonging for Māori and all learners can be realised.

In this article I share some key learnings from my own journey through this course.

I reflect on my path towards honouring the Treaty of Waitangi, including the challenges I have experienced in confronting Pākehā privilege and deficit theorising. I share my developing understanding of what it means for Māori to achieve success as Māori, as well as the meaning of ako and unfinishedness. Growing my own critical praxis has been uncomfortable, but the journey I share in this article is ultimately about hope. I believe that we can collaboratively build education to do better by Māori students, to benefit all learners and the nation.

The article speaks of Melissa’s own key learnings from engaging with the Blended Learning, together with other members of the staff at Victory School. She suggests that important learnings have been:

    • the moral imperative to do better grows from an acknowledgement of inequity and injustice in New Zealand’s education system.

    • Education sends students powerful messages about their inherent value. If we do not deeply acknowledge Māori identity and belonging in our schools we continue to primarily value the identities of those who already see themselves everywhere, generally Pākehā.

    • Deficit theorising can work to protect Pākehā privilege by framing inequity as outside of Pākehā responsibility.

    • By thinking critically about the social construction of my role as a teacher, including the source and effects of my actions, my potential as a Pākehā agent of change has begun to develop.
To conclude her Master's, Melissa is undertaking research into the potential of the early childhood curriculum document Te Whāriki to support educational reform and decolonisation in primary school classrooms. Melissa contends that:

The connections and intersections between the intent and content of Te Whāriki and what I understand about cultural relationships for responsive pedagogy are exciting. This leads me to wonder about the potential of Te Whāriki to support teacher development in primary schools.

Cultural responsiveness requires an acknowledgement of how power manifests itself within interactions and how this power is rooted in our colonial history. It also requires us to consider that the systems, structures and policies that surround us are too, a social construction born out of this same history. Te Whāriki could provide another way to support deep reflection about teaching and learning, about learning dispositions and working theories.

It could provide a way for teachers to reconceive their roles in schools, engage with critical praxis and build new ways of being with their students, with whānau and with each other.

Melissa is seen here participating in our Blended Learning wānanga with her colleagues at Omaka and Whakatū Marae in 2017 and 2018.


  • Melissa Corlett’s abstract can be viewed, and the article purchased, from NZCER here
  • Information on the Poutama Pounamu Master's programme is here.
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What is Te Hurihanganui?

Posted on 04 September, 2020

The initiation of a Government commitment

Budget 2018 provided an allocation for the Ministry of Education to work with a group of ten Mātanga (experts), to design a blueprint to strengthen equity and lift achievement for Māori students.

The collective experience, and evidence about what would work for ākonga Māori, ensured that this blueprint would build on the lessons learnt from Te Kotahitanga and subsequent programmes, while also considering new system settings. Mātanga expertise spanned the entire education system from Early Childhood, including iwi and whānau Māori.

The Mātanga group comprised Jim Peters, Professor Wally Penetito, Mere Berryman as the chair, Daniel Murfitt, Professor Roberta Hunter, Te Waipounamu Teinakore, Dr. Lesley Rameka, Hurae White, Therese Ford and Whetu Cormick.

Although we knew that sites of excellence could be found in some English medium schools, we agreed that exemplars in which Māori students were enjoying and achieving educational success as Māori were more likely to be found in kaupapa Māori settings.

Within these settings, Māori culture, identity and language are actively prioritised and celebrated, and whānau Māori are more likely to be an active and valued part of their children’s learning experiences and cultural affirmation.

Alternatively, over successive generations, our state education system has socialised a dominant narrative reinforcing privilege based on the English language and colonial values. Subsequently, education has been largely undertaken against a deficit background of misunderstanding, bias and racism which, together with the devaluing and suppression of Māori language and values, has perpetuated ongoing disparities and disadvantage for Māori.

We understood that supporting ākonga Māori to experience education success required us first to understand and respond to this historical colonial context and that this would require significant action and commitment if we were to transform the system to support and sustain Māori education success as Māori.
Te Hurihanganui

A new name was also needed to reflect the transformative nature required of the work and locate this initiative within the wider Education Work programme. After lengthy discussions, Kingi Kiriona (Ngāti Ruanui, Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāti Apa) gifted the name Te Hurihanganui, providing the following explanation:

… it is said that Ranginui (the Sky Father) and Papatūānuku (the Earth Mother) were separated by their son Tāne Mahuta and his brothers. Such was the grief of both parents following the separation, and as an act of aroha, the children elected to turn their mother face down to avoid one parent seeing the sadness and despair of the other. This act became known as ‘Te Hurihanganui’, the great change or turning point, from which mankind evolved into Te Ao Mārama (the World of Light).

We agreed that Te Hurihanganui and this story were symbolic of the significant action required to achieve transformative education system reform. We recognised that to realise the educational potential of ākonga Māori, this new initiative must be revolutionary and act as a turning point for the system. However, in accepting the name, Te Hurihanganui, responsibility must also be taken for the courageous guardianship this name, and initiatives associated with it, will require.

Design Principles to Budget Bid

Based on evidence and our experiences of what works for Māori in education, six design principles that we believe are critical for transformative education system reform were reported to Minister Davis.

  • Te Ao Māori – Rich and legitimate knowledge is located within a Māori worldview. Under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the education system must create and hold safe spaces for this knowledge to reside, supporting Māori to live and succeed as Māori.
  • Tino Rangatiratanga – Māori exercise authority and agency over their mātauranga, tikanga, and taonga. In order to access this knowledge, Māori leadership is essential. Through decolonisation of the education system, Māori potential will be realised.
  • Whanaungatanga – Whānau relationships are an exemplar for authentic, meaningful and transformative relationships in education. These relationships are based on mutual trust and respect from which shared understandings and reciprocal benefits can arise.
  • Te Ira Tangata – Everyone is born of greatness and imbued with inner potential and conscious awareness. This brings with it the responsibility to be critically aware of ourselves, our world, and each other.
  • Mana Ōrite – Te Tiriti o Waitangi is the foundation for equal, reciprocal, respectful and interdependent relationships between Māori and non-Māori (Pākehā - of colonial heritage, and tauiwi - more recent migrant of refugee).
  • Te Hāngaitanga – We must take collective responsibility for ensuring Māori can enjoy and achieve education success as Māori. This can be achieved if all within the education system (Māori, Pākehā and Tauiwi) work in unison to understand and address these design principles.

Together, these interdependent principles offer greater potential for developing an equitable and excellent education system where Māori students will come to believe they are valued and belong.

The Ministry used this work to develop a budget bid which successfully received 42 million dollars over the next three years from the Wellbeing budget. How this work will play out, and with whom, is yet to be decided. We trust that our blueprint and principles continue to be interpreted from positions of cultural strength and potential. We know that our future sits with our children who deserve better than we received and that this responsibility will ultimately sit with all of us.

Submitted by: Te Hurihanganui Mātanga

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