Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu (English)



Quality education is the right of every child and young person in Aotearoa and is underpinned by learning communities that place the learner and learner outcomes at the centre of all activity.

The Education Review Office | Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga (ERO), The New Zealand Qualifications Authority NZQA, and, Te Runanga o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori have worked together to understand, and highlight the unique approach of Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu. This combined evaluation team understands that learning environments on a continuous, deliberate journey of improvement can foster the best outcomes for learners. Improvement can be realised when educators draw upon evidence to direct their strategy and decision making.

Successful learning organisations are often led by strong influential visionaries and knowledge holders. They have a strong view and clear purpose underpinning the creation of their learning settings. Goals encapsulating whānau aspirations are critical, as is deliberate planning for achieving these through successful curriculum and programme delivery.

Ngā Kōhanga reo, kura and wharekura and Wānanga are unique and critical to nurturing and revitalising te reo Māori in Aotearoa. Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu is made up of Te Kōhanga reo, a kura, wharekura, Kahurangi Dance Company and Wānanga. All are located in very close proximity. Learners across these learning environments span an age range from babies to kaumatua and kuia. Revitalising te reo Māori, mātauranga and culture of Takitimu waka through shared experiences and the performing arts underpins the kaupapa.

There are few models, if any, from which to base a benchmark, or assess the quality of, or the benefits of participating in an immersion Māori education setting through the view of a learners birth to becoming a kaumatua. The effective practice examples in this study are drawn from Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga (ERO) external evaluations of the kōhanga reo, kura teina and the wharekura in 2022, and on Te Mana Tohu Mātauranga o Aotearoa (NZQA) 2022 audit findings of the Wānanga. These provide evaluation insights into what contributes to, and the distinct value of high quality Māori immersion education and learning through the Arts at Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu.


We observed children, students, young people, adults and elders successful in learning environment, rich in te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and te ao Māori. We found Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu strategically adept at planning for the future and constantly monitoring to check how the kōhanga reo, the kura, the wharekura and Wānanga progress. Their insights inform future decisions, actions and outcomes aligned to aspirations held by whānau, hapū and iwi. Those involved in Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu have high expectations for themselves and each and every learner.

Learners are nurtured in a culture of manaakitanga and whanaungatanga. Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu upholds te reo Māori, tikanga Māori, te ao Māori and mātauranga Māori. Learners’ identity, language and culture are valued and validated. ERO found that emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing of individuals is viewed as fundamental to the future health, happiness and prosperity of the whānau, hapū, iwi and Kahungungu Takitimu waka.

Furthermore, Te Kauwae Rangatiratanga, the collective leaders of Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu, have established an enduring relationship with Pa Ariki o Rarotonga that is critical to nurturing and revitalising Cook island’s Māori, mātauranga Māori and the arts and cultures of Takitumu Vaka.

Through this report we also seek to tell the story of how this education setting came to realisation, grew and responded to the aspirations of tipuna, and is revitalising te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and mātauranga Māori for descendents of Kahungungu Takitimu waka.

Whole article:

Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu (English)

Te Horopaki ā-Rangahau - Research context

Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu – Hastings, provides Kaupapa Māori education for pīpīpāopao, tamariki, rangatahi and pakeke throughout their kōhanga reo, kura, wharekura and Wānanga journey. The attributes of Takitimu tipuna, the guiding principles of Te Whāriki a Te Kōhanga Reo, Te Korowai, Te Aho Matua, their values, dispositions and attitudes are desired outcomes for all.

The kōhanga reo, kura, wharekura and Wānanga leadership ensures that the longstanding vision for Kahungunu Takitimu Waka is at the forefront of all they do. Their commitment and connection to the aspirations of whānau continue to build the context, focus direction, and set expectations for quality for all.

Evaluation approach

ERO’s reviews of kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori are co-constructed in collaboration with whānau, leaders, kaimahi and their communities so that each evaluation reflects their vision, aspirations and achievements – one size fits one.

In 2022, Te Kauwae Rangatiratanga requested a joint process for the evaluation, review and audit of all parts of their education pipeline. This led to a shared approach between Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga, Te Runanga o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori, Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust and Te Mana Tohu Mātauranga o Aotearoa. The kaupapa methodology used for this work upholds the integrity of Māori, by Māori, with Māori, as Māori and in te reo Māori.

ERO, Te Runanga o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori and NZQA in collaboration with whānau, leaders, kaimahi and their communities are focused on evaluation insights that foster accountability and improvement, identify progress and build evaluation capability. This report reflects their systems, operations and management practices.

Te Runanga o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori, ERO and NZQA:

  • read guiding documents
  • had hui with leaders, kaiako, students, rangatahi, pakeke and taikura
  • had hui with the local community leaders and those who at varying levels and stages had contributed to the journey of Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu
  • observed teaching and learning experiences
  • joined with te Te Ariki to share kai and understand the value of the programmes in Rarotonga
  • interviewed whānau to capture and share their perspectives
  • participated as considered manuhiri in this setting

Te Kauwae Rangatiratanga, Te Runanga o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori, ERO and NZQA developed the evauation question to guide the research and evaluation:

How well does Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu develop leaders through the Arts from ages 0-65+?

Mai te kōpu o te whaea ki te kōpu o papatuānuku

Mana Ahua Ake - Uniqueness

Effective long-term strategic planning, whanaungatanga and maanakitanga contributes strongly to the success of Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu and the provision of education to all. Tama Hu ata, the esteemed tipuna and founder of Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu led the realisation of the aspirations whānau held for seamless education provision, for descendants of Takitimu waka, steeped in te reo Māori, Mātauranga Māori, and Takitimutanga.

The Kaumatua who supported the initial establishment of Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu were – Sir John Bennett, Te Amorangi Wi Te Tau Huata, Ringahora Heni Ngakai Huata, Iritana Tawhiwhirangi, Bill Hamilton and Joe Northover. Today the board of trustees consists of John Barry Heperi – Smith (Chairman), Mike Paku (Trustee), Tangiora Huata (Trustee/Co-Founder), Ariki Huata (Trustee), Ellison Huata (Trustee), Sholan Ivaiti (Pa Ariki – Takitumu Waka Representative), Heke Huata (Trustee), Leigh Mc Gahey (Trustee), and Narelle Huata (Executive Trustee and Chief Executive Officer).

This report acknowledges the Oātai, the legacy left by the foundation trustees and members. The aspirations and visions of all these leaders is summarised through Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu focus on the importance of lifelong, seamless education for and with Māori.

Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu holds a strongly articulated, mutually acclaimed love and respect for the whānau, wider community, hapū, iwi and waka. Each individual within Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu from whānau to kaumatua, kaiako and kaiawhina are clear about their practice and acknowledge their roles as complementary to those that they are working alongside. Such environments work to create a strong foundation for learners, whānau, hapū, iwi and waka success.

Te Rangatiratanga - Autonomy

These visionary leaders realised it was ambitious to create an unbroken multi- generational path of learning, ‘from the womb to the tomb’, taking learners from kōhanga reo to tohunga levels and beyond. Nevertheless, once as it was, so shall it be. Within this aim is an underlying goal, providing a unique environment where learning would be natural, immersive, providing an organic learning flow through shared whānau interactions and experiences. Tino rangatiratanga is demonstrated through the active participation across the whānau to realise these aspirations.

Establishing a kohānga reo was recognised as critical to the nurturing and revitalisation of te reo Māori. The creation of Te Kōhanga Reo o Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu in June 1991 is a realisation of this goal. The initial kōhanga reo was home-based in its inception, but soon relocated to the current site where the Wānanga was situated at the time. The aspiration of whānau for an unbroken multi-generational learning pathway was in the early stages of realisation. Through this kōhanga mokopuna were provided with opportunities to learn and flourish in an environment alongside their whānaunga at the Wānanga.

We found whanaungatanga connections, and enduring commitment to immersion education influence decisions whānau make about their child’s education pathway. ERO, NZQA and Te Runanga o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori recognised Te Kauwae Rangatiratanga were clear about immersion te reo Māori as the way forward and what this meant to them, their whānau, hapū, iwi and waka.

In the late 1990’s as the kōhanga reo mokopuna moved toward graduating, the whānau felt it was important that they have somewhere to continue their schooling years to ensure the best outcomes for their tamariki, and the realisation of the goals shared by their visionary leaders. The whānau worked toward the establishment of a kura that would cater to students in Years 1 – 8. The establishment of a Te Aho Matua Kura Kaupapa Māori was realised in 1995. Through this action, whānau responded to the educational needs of the kōhanga reo graduates and to the aspirations whānau held for their children to continue their schooling in mātauranga Māori.

Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu have held a considerable focus on growing leadership, and leaders in Māori performing arts since 1983 through their Kahurangi Dance company. At the time of publishing this report more than 2,000 students have participated in courses where they access theoretical and practical knowledge and skills. In 1995, Takitimu Wānanga was the first organisation to offer a degree in Māori Performing Arts.

Te Tino Uaratanga

A philosophy of care underpins the decisions made for students and their learning. Seamless education requires understanding of individual’s needs and wellbeing through to the best interests of the collective. Whānau satisfaction with the education their children receive is evident in the kura roll continuing to increase over the years.

As the roll increased it became evident that smooth transitions through the levels from kōhanga reo to kura are prioritised. As with the kōhanga reo graduates needing a kura, the kura graduates required a wharekura.

In 2015 the MoE gave approval for the kura to transition to a Wharekura / Composite School Years 1 - 15. The aspirations held by tipuna for education for desendents of Takitimu waka, Mai te kōpu o te whaea ki te kōpu o papatuānuku, were realised.

It became apparent to the whānau a larger site was needed to provide the growing numbers with an appropriate physical learning environment. Te Kauwae Rangatiratanga’ planning to achieve this was thorough. The Ministry of Education (MoE) approved a rebuild in 2009. The realisation of the new build was delayed due to required consultations and submissions. The MoE and the Hastings District Council provided support during these challenging times.

A local Hapū Trust offered Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu whānau land on Bennett Road in 2016. In 2017, the then Minister of Education sought a designation to enable whānau to develop an education site at Bennett Road, Waipatu. Unfortunately the arrival of COVID 19 in Aotearoa in 2020 also delayed the build. With dogged perseverance the whānau pursued their vision and are confident the build will begin later this year.

Ngā Kitenga - Findings

How well does Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu develop leaders through the Arts from ages 0-65+?

Mai te kōpu o te whaea ki te kōpu o papatuānuku.

Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu successfully fosters leadership for all learners through the extensive range of opportunities provided through the Arts, from ages 0-65+. This responds to the individual and collective needs of learners within and across the kōhanga reo through to the wānanga.

  • Mokopuna confidently express their creativity and identity. They participate in a range of quality learning experiences that consider and strengthen who they are as individuals, and as learners within Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu. There are many occasions for mokopuna to explore, be creative, artistic and inquisitive.
  • Students confidently demonstrate qualities of leadership. Waka, iwi links, traditions, history, celebrations, and places of significance of Ngāti Kahungunu and Takitimu Waka are integrated in learning experiences and throughout the performing arts. Students are confident, caring and engaged learners who lead and experience success.
  • Rangatahi and pakeke confidently express themselves, experience success and contribute as leaders as they share their skills both nationally and internationally. The Arts programme provides increased variation and opportunity for students to practice and extend te reo Māori in all its forms. This includes the complexities and deeper meanings of te reo Māori through waiata, mōteatea, pao, poi and haka. They gain exceptional skills and experiences that give them the confidence to determine their own learning and career pathways.

Mokopuna in the kōhanga reo benefit from learning in a setting where a Māori paradigm is illuminated, and centred.

Strategtic planning focuses on achieving the aspirations of whānau, while learning is underpinned by Te Whāriki a Kōhanga Reo and Te Korowai. There is alignment across curriculum for the kōhanga reo and kura, manifesting as mātauranga Takitimu.

For Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu performing arts is a critical strategy to facilitate the transmission of iwi knowledge through waiata, kēmu Māori, mōteatea, haka, karakia and Whakaari. High expectations for comprehensive programme planning and a responsive environment rich in te reo Māori learning experiences guides teaching and learning. Mokopuna develop as creative, curious communicative learners who demonstrate a strong sense of belonging.

Evaluators observed mokopuna in the kōhanga reo thriving in an environment where they are respected, understood and nurtured in a programme that is endowed in Takitimutanga. Kaiako and kaimahi programme planning showed te reo Māori and tikanga Māori were used to increase mokopuna’ understanding of ancestral places and stories. Tikanga, karakia and mōteatea were taught. Adults supported mokopuna to learn these skills and to understand about important context about their use and meaning. Mokopuna learn and celebrate their whakapapa connections, values and beliefs everyday embraced by the wider wānanga whānau. They are immersed in rich authentic experiences where they see, hear and kōrero te reo Māori with increasing confidence. They confidently express their creativity and identity through their participation in a range of effective learning experiences that enhance their sense of identity and belonging to Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu.

During this evaluation of the kura teina, the team saw that students in the kura were immersed in a nurturing environment. They are developing as autonomous enthusiastic learners. Students demonstrate a strong sense of identity as descendants of Takitimu and are developing as strong confident leaders and speakers of te reo Māori. Students experience a rich language learning environment where they are immersed in te reo Māori me ngā tikanga o Ngāti Kahungunu. They recognise the importance attached to the different roles and responsibilities they have as representatives of Takitimu. Student learning is holistic, scaffolded and accelerated they are creative and enjoy high levels of success and achievement.

Leaders, kaiako and kaimahi in the wharekura create teaching and learning environments that nurture individuals, their wairua, mauri and mana. The wharekura currently caters for students in Years 7-13. We observed that Year 7 and 8 students included in the wharekura, supported them to develop a deeper understanding of their role as tuākana. Students, through the Arts, proudly contribute to and lead authentic situations that affirm their ukaipōtanga, support learning and enhance their wellbeing.

We found students value their identity as Takitimu and are self-confident and display positive self-esteem. They acquire a repertoire of skills for effective communication in te reo Māori. Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu has created a multi-generational community that is committed to the revitalisation of te reo Māori. Students succeed in an environment, rich in the Arts, where interactions across generations are natural and authentic. Tuākana-tēina relationships are multi-faceted and reinforce the fluidity of leadership roles. This is further enhanced in the roles where they epitomise a myriad of leadership qualities.

Students actively investigate and explore te Ao Māori and the wider world. Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu provides opportunities for rangatahi to experience the wider world through performing arts. A delegation, including students, recently travelled to Dubai to exhibit Māori Performing Arts to a global audience. The development of a second campus in Rarotonga and reciprocal visits strengthen the intercultural relationships and whakapapa connections for students. This enables students to learn about and experience the historical connections of Takitimu Waka to Takitumu Vaka.

Students are confident leaders of their learning. Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu has embedded a culture of creativity and innovation. Students are supported to explore multiple pathways that connect them to the creative arts. Student’s access to relevant pedagogies and marautanga such as waiata, whakatauākī, waiata, tauparapara, including group learning, karakia and whakapapa results in displays of personal integrity and elevated leadership skills. Students achieve high levels of success in National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) including endorsements. Students have exceptional experiences and gain valuable skills that give them the confidence to determine their own learning and career pathways and to pursue their personal and whānau aspirations.

Rangatahi, pakeke and taikura in the Wānanga gain valuable skills and support the wellbeing of Takitimu waka. Their ukaipōtanga is enhanced as they contribute to the growth, nurture and protection of te reo Māori and Takitimutanga. The Wānanga is led by skilled leadership, with sound knowledge and strong networks with industry and the community. Learners, whānau and graduates speak highly of the valued outcomes achieved. Graduates of courses experience an excellent foundation for promising career pathways.

Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu deliver employment pathways and career development through the Kahurangi New Zealand Māori Dance Company and strategic partners which is an integral part of Takitimu graduate profile. The Wānanga through its relationships with Tertiary Education Commission, NZQA and MoE in 2020 had 23 EFTS to deliver programmes in Māori Performing Arts and Māori Arts at SAC Levels 3 and higher. The aim of the Wānanga was to increase the EFTS from 23 to 40 in 2020, with a continuous growth in 2021 onwards to better serve the Takitimu catchment which stretches throughout the Polynesian triangle where the Takitimu Waka landed. (Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Hawaii, Tahiti, Rarotonga, Ngāti Kahu – Northland, Ngāti Ranginui – Tauranga, Te Tairawhiti – Gisborne, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu – South Island Tribal area).

Pānonitanga - Transformation

Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu, has been pivotal in the renaissance of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga the length and breadth of the traditional boundaries of Kahungunu and both nationally and internationally. The kaupapa provides a safe Takitimu centric space for all age groups. They have successfully created an exciting and holistic learning environment for children, students, parents and grandparents. Investment in wānanga, training, planning and more recently technology have underpinned the growth of the Wānanga.

Learner support is strongly underpinned by manaakitanga. The COVID 19 pandemic provided opportunities to support students, staff and the wider whānau in new and innovative ways. The wellbeing of all was to the fore. Takitimu ora provided invaluable assistance to learners and whānau, supporting the retention of learners who might have been experiencing challenging and complex situations.

The performance company Kahurangi have become ambassadors for Aotearoa in a global context. This broadened the experiences and learning of their students and created unique employment opportunities that may otherwise not have existed.

NZQA recognise the high level of innovation and creativity in responding to the global pandemic. For the Taikura, senior elderly students, their wellbeing and care were prioritsed. Kahurangi and local students were supported in their online courses. In 2022 they are implementing their Ngā Toi Qualification – developed by them for them. Kōrero from hui show that not only has the whare been led by but is also developing influential people who have gone on to make positive change for their whānau, the wider Takitimu community and the arts housed within Te Whare Tāpere o Takitimu.

Assisting rangatahi in life and in to employment has long been a focus for leaders. At the time of this research 470 whānau members had been supported to obtain their driver’s licence. Initiatives such as Kete(business incubation kaupapa) and Ōrawa(leadership programme) have contributed toward learners becoming independently employed. These achievements complement the Takitimu ora goal of shifting whānau experiencing challenges, from languishing to flourishing.

As Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu enhance the learning and quality of life for decedents of Takitimu Waka, Te Kauwae Rangatiratanga are supporting their tuākana o Takitumu Vaka. Pa Ariki o Rarotonga and Tama Huata met in the 1990’s and shared their dreams and aspirations for their whānau. At the inaugural Takitimu celebrations in 2008 they reaffirmed their relationship and reciprocal learning relationships were established.

Te Whare Ariki o Takitumu-Pa Ariki ma Kainuku Ariki signed a memorandum of understanding with Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu in November 2020 cementing their relationship. In August 2021 Te Vananga Are Tāpere o Takitumu was officially launched. Vaka Takitumu is to have a tertiary curriculum delivered through the performing arts that will support the revitalisation of their reo, arts and culture. The implementation of this initiative is planned for July of this year. This will reinforce the historical connections of Takitimu Waka to Takitumu Vaka.

Kōrero ā-Whānau

Mai te kōpu o te whaea ki te kōpu o te whenua – Education for all ages

‘The success of the kaupapa is with the whānau’


Ko wai tō Kōhanga Reo?” – kaiako voice


Ko te Kōhanga Reo o Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu!” - mokopuna voice


“We are about stages not ages” - Te Kauwae Rangatiratanga


'High expectations for students, staff and whānau’


‘Students are alert to every area of knowledge that they choose to pursue in their lives’


Ina ka hapa kaore i te whiwhi hamama te pahu ranei mena ka hapa, ka hapa” - student voice


Ko Te Whare-Tāpere tō mātou ahua” - student voice


‘’Tē taea te tu hei kaikaranga ki te marae e ahei ana te ako ki te wānanga”- student voice


The wānanga is a village that connects at all levels” - whānau voice


Ko te mea nui ko te reo” - student voice


Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere gave me the means to go back to my hapū and contribute” - raukura voice

Ngā kitenga me ngā āheinga anamata - Insights and opportunities

Bennett Road, the new site, will cater for approximately 300 students, 50 in the kōhanga reo. This is a significant increase to the kōhanga reo licence and will enable more mokopuna and their whānau to become part of this journey.

The aspirations for seamless lifelong education are realised through the establishment of Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu model. It is important that they are supported to maintain the connections across the whole pipeline on their new site.

Informal and formal relationships enhance the learning and wellbeing of students.

Hau wānanga provides all students of Te Wānanga Whare Tāpere o Takitimu to come together daily to celebrate and learn through tuakana-teina relationships in one space.

The planned extension of a second campus in Rarotonga will further strengthen the intercultural relationships and whakapapa connections of students. This will also uphold the direction of Pa Ariki as key participant of this vision and focus too on building Cook island’s te reo, arts and culture. 

Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga and Te Mana Tohu Mātauranga o Aotearoa will seek ways to work collaboratively going forward to better respond and report on how whānau, hapū, iwi and waka provide education within their respective rohe, and the critical role that iwi and waka plays in the revitalisation of te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori.

Lynda Pura-Watson

Deputy Chief Executive Evaluation and Review Māori

Te Tari Arotake Mātauranga


Alex Bidois

Deputy Chief Executive Māori

Mana Tohu Mātauranga o Aotearoa