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Te reo Māori in a digital world

Teachers preparing

Te Reo Māori in Māori Medium project is designed to help kaiako further develop their understanding and knowledge of Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori, as well as their knowledge and use of effective language learning strategies, using Te Reo Māori wāhanga ako from Te Marautanga o Aotearoa with students. Kaiako were supported to analyse and use a range of te reo matatini assessment tools to gather achievement data to help inform quality teaching and learning experiences.

A blended programme of delivery balances ‘kanohi ki te kanohi’ (face to face) and participation in an online reo Māori community. A change to PLD methodology in 2015 saw the move towards working more in the virtual hui platform, to help build collegial relationships with Māori teachers across sectors and across the country. Sixty-four percent of engagement with kaiako and school leaders was conducted online.

As part of the blended facilitation, online modules Reo Atu Reo Mai, ‘how to' videos and sound files were created to provide additional flexible support to kaiako online (VLNNgā Rākau e Rua - Rangiora Borough School and Google sites). This helped to model the sharing of collaborative resources, as well as to provide a more flexible, accessible medium of facilitation for time poor and geographically isolated kura. 

Considerable shifts have developed within kura as a result of the PLD. These include:
  • Reading and understanding Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (TMoA): 80% of kura have demonstrated improved kaiako confidence and competence when planning using Te Marautanga o Aotearoa curriculum in kura; developing a Te Reo ā-Waha progressions for the kura aligned to the kura graduate profile and marau-ā-kura.
  • Pūtoi Ako: Many kura have developed a greater repository of relevant reo ā-waha (oral) and tuhituhi writing resources and demonstrate a greater ability to analyse the efficacy of resources relevant to their learners, using second language acquisition theory.
  • Aromatawa: Kura now demonstrate increased confidence in collecting and collating student achievement data in Te Waharoa Ararau data systems using a wider range of tools to make more informed overall assessment decisions. This includes collaborating across kura in their geographical locations to moderate assessment tasks.

Who was better off?

Tumuaki (leaders)

In relation to the PLD outcomes tumuaki and kura leaders ensured action plans and PLD sustainability plans were in place so schools and kura were prepared and resourced for future professional learning. In terms of sustainable practices, kaiako and school leaders engaged in Pakirehua - Inquiry to guide their professional learning. As one participant says, It has been a timely reminder of the range of rauemi that we can and should utilise going forward next year. Loved unpacking what Pakirehua is for us and now we are also able to reflect on where we are at, the progress made and where to next.

Kaiako (teachers)

212 kaiako engaged in online support through the use of the Reo Atu Reo Mai group. Throughout the PLD process, kaiako also started to embed skills of Teaching as Inquiry, and in some cases their akomanga alongside their ākonga. Other key shifts for kaiako include developing:

Teaching te reo Māori

  • understanding and practice in planning from TMoA the Te Reo Māori wāhanga ako
  • knowledge and understanding of effective teaching and learning practices using both TMoA and TMoTAM to inform language learning planning
  • knowledge and practice of effective language learning pedagogies
  • knowledge and understanding about te reo Māori assessment tools and practices with a focus on Whakarongo (listening) and Kōrero (speaking)
  • meaningful engaging learning experiences based on sound pedagogical knowledge and practice that encourages students to produce language either orally or written.

Ākonga (students)

Key shifts for ākonga students were largely indicated by the data gathered from following target groups during 2015. These groups were made up of ākonga who were achieving at Manawa Āki or Manawa Taki Whanaketanga levels for Te Reo ā-Waha. All Target group students were assessed at the beginning of the year, using the Ngā Rauemi Aromatawai Reo ā-Waha assessment tool. Kaiako and facilitators then used the data to inform the design of the Te Reo ā-Waha programme for the year. All target group students were reassessed at the end of the year using the same assessment tool and 100% of the students in target groups made shifts in one, two or three Whanaketanga levels. 

Ākonga commented,

I liked how our kaiako played more games with us cause we didn’t even know we were learning to speak Māori and I really like using He Kupu i Kore on the Ipapa. We have competitions on who can spell the most kupu. I’m nearly the best in our akomanga.

Challenges recognised

There is a vision to support kaiako in Māori Medium settings to work in a virtual platform, however working in this kind of environment can be a challenge for some. Because of this, facilitators have spent considerable time brokering relationships with kaiako to gain trust and develop confidence to be able to work in this way. Other challenges limiting shifts in PLD include:

  • limited time for kura to engage in the PLD programme
  • kura engaged in multiple provisions 
  • external influences and interruptions to the PLD programme.


In 2015, kaiako from the bilingual units of Greymouth Main School and Hokitika Primary School clustered together to develop their knowledge and understanding of teaching and learning processes to help better inform their practice within a Māori Medium setting. All PLD activities were informed by individual personal professional inquiries, that were developed at the beginning of the provision support. A tuakana-teina relationship was quickly established between the kaiako which allowed more sharing of experiences, resources and teaching strategies to support the students in their schools units. 

PLD support included both asynchronous and synchronous methods of delivery with Te Reo Māori being the primary language of instruction. The facilitators introduced the kaiako to a number of iPad apps that encourage second language learners to communicate using the new language they have been taught. The kaiako explored and extended their knowledge of how to use these apps, then developed plans on how to integrate the use of these digital tools to cement new language learning, and to use these creations for assessment and evaluation purposes. 

Here are two examples of kaiako creating presentations linked to instructional writing using Explain Everything ™, Tauira 1 and Tauira 2. The kaiako of both units were very enthusiastic about the possibilities of the use of iPads to support second language learning, and as a first step developed these short videos to support Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori: Māori Language Week - Hokitika Kia Eke and Māwhera Kia Eke.

Where to from here?

On the completion of PLD support all kaiako revisited their personal professional inquiries and evaluated their progress. Next steps were identified by the kaiako in both units and more plans were put in place to address new needs, such as, furthering their understanding of the language and learning theories that underpin best learning in Māori immersion units. 

On reflection

Building collegial support for kaiako in Māori Immersion Units across kura is an imperative for all kaiako reo Māori. Kaiako often feel isolated and unconnected to other professionals working in similar settings and can feel the pressure of being the sole ‘Māori expert’ who supports Māori students. Working in and through online communities helps eradicate these barriers and provides more opportunities to share ideas, share teaching materials and successes. Investing time into establishing trusting honest relationships between facilitators and kaiako is critical in this mahi.

For more impact see the infographic data for 2015 and for information about this programme, visit Te reo Māori in Māori Medium schools project page or Te Reo o te Kaiako project page or contact Nichole Gully.