E kore au e ngaro, Evaluation Report for Ngā Kura ā-Iwi


E kore au e ngaro

This report is the reflection of Kura ā-Iwi on their developmental journeys, both as individuals, whānau and as kura. Their collective aspirations are captured within the summary of conditions outlined as Ako: Teaching & Learning, Whānau & Connectedness, Tikanga Māori (Māori process and protocol), and Tuakiri: Identity. This evaluation will provide empirical evidence about graduates, their achievements and identifies conditions across their learning journey.

Whāia ngā Ara Painga kia Angitu ai – Poutiria te Reo Mauriora aims to highlight the conditions that underpin Māori immersion education provision, and Māori enjoying and achieving success as Māori.

This report has been written with a Te Ara TOA (Pathway for success – Ngā Kura ā-Iwi framework) lens to ensure the conditions highlighted explain what kura ā-iwi are doing to ensure Māori students are enjoying and achieving success as Māori.



ERO would like to acknowledge the participating kura ā-iwi, kura whānau, students, teachers and leaders. Your willingness to support and share your collective knowledge and expertise has been invaluable in this project. Your contributions have provided ERO with important insights to help build our knowledge about the provision of te reo Māori education throughout the country, tēnā koutou.

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E kore au e ngaro, Evaluation Report for Ngā Kura ā-Iwi


ERO has developed an approach that tends to the differing provision of education for Te Rūnanganui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa (National Council for governance of Kura Kaupapa Māori), Ngā Kura ā-Iwi (Iwi based Māori medium schools) and Te Kōhanga Reo (Māori Immersion settings for 0-6 year olds).

A number of graduates of kura ā-iwi were selected by their respective kura to participate in this project. Kura case studies focussing on learning pathways of graduates (also referred to as manu pīrere, manukura and manu taiko), the kōhanga/ puna reo, primary and secondary school that exist together were carried out.

E Kore Au e Ngaro is one of three individual reports in te reo Māori and English for Māori Medium Education Provision. The participating kura are –

  • Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga
  • Te Kura o Hirangi
  • Ngā Taiātea Wharekura/Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson

Data collection held on site includes face-to-face interviews with, and film footage of, kaumātua (elders), parents, graduates, teachers and leaders at the respective kura ā-iwi.

Kura ā-Iwi have identified key conditions for Māori education success. This is achieved through the analysis of information collected around seven broad questions reframed to reflect the Te Ara TOA (pathway to success) framework.



The learning conditions, characteristics and practices as experienced and recalled by individual graduates were used as lines of inquiry by the evaluation team.

Universal themes are the key themes of significance that came out of an internal analysis of evaluation reports and information about high performing kōhanga, kura and secondary schools over a period of time.

Collected data from interviews are analysed with aspects of Te Ara TOA as the foundation to identify the key conditions of educational success across Ngā Kura a Iwi.


Universal themes

Nurturing Learning Environment

How effectively does Māori medium education ensure a nurturing learning environment?


Te Reo Māori Immersion Education is Transformational

How effectively does te reo Māori immersion support a transformational learning environment?


Whānau, hapū and iwi

How effectively do whānau, hapū and iwi influence, lead and actively contribute to Māori medium education success?


Successful outcomes for all

How effectively does Māori medium provision influence outcomes for all?


Kaiako as facilitators

How effectively do kaiako facilitate learning and the provision of high-quality education?


Māori Success as Māori

How effectively does the Māori medium education pathway define, demonstrate and promote, conditions that foster Māori success as Māori?


Leaders as visionaries

How effectively does leadership influence the provision of quality outcomes across the Māori medium pathway?


Summary of conditions

Tikanga māori

A number of Tikanga Māori are identified in the data. These include reference to: aroha, manaaki, whakapapa, and mahitahi.

Intergenerational transmission:

Kaumātua, whānau, hapū and iwi are critical repositories of knowledge, and contribution to kuria and uri.


Ako: Teaching & Learning

Teaching strategies:

A range of strategies that nurture tauira.

Teaching strategies:

That focus on learners strengths and needs.

Experiential learning:

The marae environment, the natural environment and a range of learning experiences to facilitate learning.


Tuakiri: Identity


Roles and responsibilities of Uri to iwi development as active contributors.

Iwi identity is critical:

Kīngitanga, Paimārire, historical narratives, tongikura, waiata, mōteatea are critical repositories of knowledge and philosophical perspectives.


Whānau & connectedness

Whanaungatanga & connectedness:

Relationships are essential to fostering nurturing learning environments.

Whānau responsibility:

To supporting each other in kura.

Whānau as active contributors:

To Ngā kura ā-Iwi and to various learning environments like marae.

Whānau, hupū and iwi:

Are critical to the identity and operation.


Ngā kura ā-iwi ensure nurturing learning environments

Whai Oranga: Emotional, Physical, Spiritual Well-being

Iwi identity; meaningful learning contexts and experiential learning environments contribute to the learning environment. These include local, national and international experiences.

It was very Māori. Tikanga marae was embedded. (Manu Pīrere – Hīrangi)

Whanaungatanga; whanaungatanga and connections are a key condition for nurturing environments. Kura encourage a sense of community and strong relationships among learners and their communities.

It is a kura whānau, that’s the best description. Everything we did was as a whānau. We would never push anyone to the side, we would move as one. We would learn together – waiata, lessons, work on the marae. It was being one, we had strong bonds. (Manu Tāiko – Ngā Taiātea)

Teaching strategies; pouako (teachers) use a range of pathways and strategies to support students and promote creative thinking.

This is a place that they know will look after and nurture them - pouako, kaiāwhina and more who will care for them while they are here. (Manu Pīrere – Rākaumangamanga)

Value systems; a range of Māori values are seen as important to the NKAI environment. These include: manaaki (ethic of care) i, tiaki (ethic of nurturing), whanaungatanga (relationships), whakapapa (genealogy), kaupapa (including iwi kaupapa like Kīngitanga and Paimārire); and tikanga.

We felt aroha. We felt, heard and saw manaaki. (Manu Pīrere – Rākaumangamanga)

Ngā kura ā-iwi support transformational learning environments

Te Reo: Whai Tukuihotanga


Iwi identity also contributes to the notion that te reo Māori educational environments are transformational.

Experiential Learning

A number of critical learning environments that are founded in te reo Māori provide transformational experiences for learners.

Māori Values

Te reo Māori me ngā tikanga (Māori language and values) are a critical part of Ngā Kura a Iwi education.

I saw the value of learning te reo and about te ao Māori. It made me warm and comfortable (Manu Tāiko - Ngā Taiātea)

Whānau, hapū and iwi influence, lead and actively contribute as a major condition for successful kura kaupapa Māori education

Whānau Relationships: Whānau, Hapū, Iwi

Whanaungatanga Whanaungatanga and relationships are a key condition contributing to Māori medium education success.

The biggest benefit and attribute of this kura was the whānau. We grew up as a whānau. (Manu Pīrere - Rākaumangamanga)


Whānau identified as committed, collective, collaborative, dedicated and supportive.

We saw, felt and heard whanaungatanga. We could touch it. Those are valuable treasures as you make your way in the world. (Manu Pīrere – Rākaumangamanga)

Whānau, Hapū, Iwi & Marae

The role of whānau, hapū, iwi and marae are critical conditions in Ngā Kura ā-Iwi.

It is a school that has connections to the marae, so we were all raised in the principles of the Kīngitanga, Tūrangawaewae marae and all of the gatherings that take place there. (Manu Tāiko – Ngā Taiātea)

Māori Values

A number of key Māori values consistently appear throughout the data, including: tikanga, aroha (love and compassion), manaaki (ethic of care), awhi (ethic of support).

We learnt how to stand to deliver formal speeches and the unique style of Tūwharetoa speech making. (Manu Pīrere – Hīrangi)

Ngā kura ā-iwi provision influences outcomes for all

Potential of Uri: Successful outcomes for all

Learner Focus

There are high whānau expectations of success. Ngā Kura ā-Iwi focus on the development of the learner as Uri.

… if someone were to ask me for a word to describe the school, the word whānau comes to mind. I think of it as a whānau school, a school of empathy and care … (Manu Tāiko – Ngā Taiātea)


A sense of belonging as well as knowledge and experience of tangata whenua roles/ responsibilities are key within ngā kura ā-iwi.

Do the work to benefit the people! This ancestral proverb of Te Puea Herangi is the guiding philosophy of the kura and upholds the following values: look after the people, feed the people and hold fast to the value of love, peace and goodwill. (Whānau statement – Bernard Fergusson)

The ability to contribute to marae, whānau, hapū and iwi maintains a high expectation with ngā kura a iwi.

Iwi identity provide a strong foundation for learners, provide critical curriculum and a range of learning environments that include te reo Māori and tikanga Māori.

I myself shall build my house. The ridge-pole will be of hīnau and the supporting posts of māhoe and patatē. Raise the people with the fruit of the rengarenga, strengthen them with the fruits of the kawariki. (Whānau statement – Rākaumangamanga)

The utilisation of iwi narratives, waiata, mōteatea (customary song) and kīwaha/ whakatauākī/ whakataukī/tongikura (ancestral proverb) further facilitate nurturing learning environments. Learners are able to locate themselves with reference to these iwi expressions.

All that is Waikato and it’s people is important to Nga Taiatea Wharekura. Events like poukai remain in the deeper recesses of my knowing … (Whānau statement – Ngā Taiātea)

Kaiako facilitate learning and the provision of high-quality education

Te Ara Toa: Pathways

Experiential learning; experiential learning ensures that learners experience a wide range of learning contexts, motivational settings and local curriculum, including marae, kapa haka (performing arts), Manu Kōrero (national speech competitions), Koroneihana (celebration of coronation of Māori King); and the arts.

Students learn best when they experience the learning … It is during authentic learning experiences that latent talent is exposed to be nurtured immediately or at a later point in time. (Whānau statement – Bernard Fergusson)

Manu Kōrero … so much learning, experiences, standing confidently in your world, standing assured in front of friends, in front of family … (Manu Taiko – Ngā Taiātea)

Knowledge of learners; pouako provide specific learning pathways based on their knowledge of individual learners. Relationships that are formed between pouako, whānau and uri are used to identify the strengths and needs for learners.

One thing that occurred at school was called the learning strategy. This was a pathway to prepare young people to stand confidently in their world. I enjoyed the learning strategy because I benefited from it with weekly work experience in the hospital alongside doctors, nurses and even the cleaners and so grew my interest to pursue a career in health. (Manu Tāiko – Ngā Taiātea Wharekura)

Māori knowledge; kaiako (teachers) utilise Māori knowledge and philosophy to implement good teaching practice. They are competent and knowledgeable of the appropriate application of Māori concepts in teaching and learning.

… there’s nothing better than taking children to lands that were settled by our ancestors and to teach them the regional boundaries of the Tūwharetoa lands so they may know their Tūwharetoa stories, the language is of the land, the language is of the river, of the mountain, of the bush. (Whānau statement – Te Kura o Hīrangi)

Kura kaupapa Māori aho matua actively contribute to Māori enjoying success as Māori

Ngā Tihi o Angitu: Māori Success as Māori

Learner Focus

The overriding goal of Ngā Kura ā-Iwi is Ngā Tihi o Angitu, therefore Māori Success as Māori is not a separated factor within schools.

The integrated nature of fostering Māori success as Māori is a key driver of Ngā Kura ā-Iwi through the Te Ara TOA framework.

Whai tukuihotanga Champions of Cultural Identity | whai Mātauranga Seekers of Knowledge | whai oranga Healthy and Well


Whai tukuihotanga

  • Te Reo me Ngā Tikanga
  • Rangatitatanga
  • Ukaipotanga
  • Kaitiakitanga


Whai Mātauranga

  • Learning for Life
  • Transferable Skills
  • Future Makers


Whai oranga

  • Tinana
  • Wairua
  • Hinengaro
  • Whānau


Whānau statements best summarise the founding conditions for success:

Our task is to nurture, support and strongly encourage students to achieve high standards wherever they are, no matter what the project, to be confident, to be Māori and graduates for their families and their people. (Whānau Statement – Ngā Taiātea)

What is the foundation? Firstly the language and customs. Second PoUtuWhaKaAro, that is the values of the school that guide us.

Thirdly, the belief of the staff, teachers, leaders of the Board in the potential of this approach and the belief in the potential of the students, of the families, sub-tribes and the Māori people in general. (Whānau statement – Ngā Taiātea)

Leadership influences the provision of quality outcomes across the Māori medium pathway

Potential of Uri: Leaders as Visionaries

Te Ara TOA: provides a pathway for kura to guide, support and empower all uri (students) and Ngā Kura ā-Iwi to reach Te Tihi o Angitu (the Summit of Success). Pouako are skilled and knowledgeable and use a range of strategies to nurture uri.


Three conditions for teaching and learning include:

Teaching and Learning

Pouako implement a range of strategies that demonstrate their leadership for teaching and learning. Multiple learning pathways, contextual learning, experiential learning and localised curriculum show the skill of pouako and their ability to lead, plan and deliver.



Whānau have high expectations for educational success. Whānau work collaboratively with pouako and uri to provide leadership within ngā kura ā-iwi. In addition, a range of contextual learning environments (including marae and other iwi occasions) provide whānau with rich experiences that demonstrate leadership in action.


A Focus on Students

Ngā kura ā-iwi have a strong focus on uri and the intended graduate profile is clear. Uri are provided with a range of learning contexts, appropriate learning pathways and localised curriculum. All of this fosters a strong sense of identity in uri, who are able to draw on customary knowledge to express themselves and become decision makers who contribute to society.


Three specific characteristics are identified for uri within leadership. The intended outcome is described as ‘Manu Pīrere’.

Leadership should be future focussed. Uri should be strategic, visionary, transformational, innovative, inspirational, independent, effective and – Whakatinana i ngā wawata (aspirational embodiment).


Leadership should reflect relationships. Aspects such as whakapapa, whanaungatanga, kaumātua, whānau, hapū and iwi are important. Leadership should contribute to iwi, hapū, marae, and iwi kaupapa such as Kīngitanga.


Leadership values should encompass Uaratanga (Māori values). This should include: high expectations, taonga tuku iho (ancestral knowledge), tikanga, kawa, whanaungatanga and mahi tahi (collaboration). Leadership should demonstrate: pono ki te kaupapa (commitment to desired outcomes); ringa raupā (hard work & leading by example); and iwi based expressions of character such as ‘Whāiangā tapuwae o Ngātoroirangi’ (following in ancestral foot-steps).



The title of this report is taken from the guiding proverb of Ngā Kura ā-Iwi E kore au e ngaro he kākano i ruia mai i Rangiātea – A seed sown in Rangiātea, I will never be lost. It captures a common theme expressed by the participating kura ā-iwi contributing to the achievements of their graduates across their learning journeys.

The conditions of fostering Māori success as Māori in kura ā-iwi is characterised by Te Ara TOA, and investigation via ERO themes identifies four key conditions –

  • Whānau & Connectedness
  • Tikanga Māori
  • Tuakiri: Identity and
  • Ako: Teaching & Learning

E Kore Au e Ngaro draws on the idea that all Māori have a right through whakapapa (genealogy) to their cultural identity and can always access their Māori world. It is never lost to them.

Ngā Kura ā-Iwi strive to ensure uri have unrestricted access to their Māori world. Through authentic Māori experiences located within the aspirations of whānau, hapū and iwi, each student is able to ascend her or his own summit of success where personal potential can be realised.

Ngā Kura ā-Iwi upholds a pedagogical approach that nurtures communality amongst students and binds them and their whānau to a common purpose grounded in legacy e.g. Kīngitanga and aspirations for the future. Just as each seed sown in Rangiātea flourishes in it’s own way, students reach various summits that are relevant to and appropriate for their moment in time.

Each kura is a seedbed for students to reach their potential as Māori, descendants of those gone before them and in whose footsteps the uri of Ngā Kura ā-Iwi follow.