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Tumuaki, leadership and student success


In 2015, five kura engaged in Tumuaki Professional Development were supported to develop rigorous management systems and processes, designed to support student learning and help raise achievement.

Coaching and mentoring strategies were a key component of the PLD as they helped to build leadership capability, while regular visits with clear PLD focus, helped maintain the momentum of work. The flexibility and adaptability of the programme provided individualised support, responsive to arising needs and challenges in each school.

For some, pakirehua** provided a valuable platform to grow an inquiring frame of mind with a Māori world-view. Rich dialogue enabled tumuaki and kaiako to ask probing questions about; what is already done well, what can be done and what will be done, for Māori learners to realises successes in learning.

Who was better off?

Tu rangatira

The majority of work related to simplifying management processes and systems to help provide greater simplicity and coherence for kura. As a result of the PLDleaders have been supported to align their thinking and practice, that is, making links between their school Charter, graduate profile, marau ā-kura, appraisal goals and using student achievement data to inform evidence-based practice.

Kura were assisted to manage annual self review processes, such as Charter preparation and setting annual school targets. All kura have recently had successful ERO (Education Review Office) reviews as part of a three-year review cycle.


All leaders improved on the Quality Indicator Scale (see below) as indicated by client surveys and overall facilitator judgement. 80% of tumuaki have moved one phase on the QIS scale, while 20% moved two phases on the scale from Ahua Mahio (emerging) to Mātau (developing).

Tumuaki shifts 2016

Leaders reported they have developed knowledge and skills in relation to critical leadership tasks. They are now more focussed on their leadership of student achievement outcomes and teacher professional learning. They are more reflective on their leadership practice, including how to effect improvements within their own kura.

Challenges recognised

Some of the challenges realised throughout the duration of the PLD programme include:

  • more time required to work through how English medium and Māori medium settings can align when addressing complex goals
  • leaders unfamiliar with full immersion teaching and learning needs in a dual medium setting
  • leaders preferring face to face delivery methods, rather than benefitting from virtual PLD opportunities 
  • overcommitted leaders with less time dedicated to reflecting on their own leadership roles and responsibilities
  • variability in teaching and learning, collation, analysis and reporting of student achievement information can cause confusion amongst staff about what is expected in terms of student assessment and reporting.


At Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu o Te Wairoa, a kura which includes both primary and secondary, dealing with the complexities of being professional leader and manager was challenging for the tumuaki. Clear goals and strategies resulted in the establishment of effective management systems and a strong focus on curriculum development, student learning and the quality of teaching practice. This progress was celebrated during the kura ERO review in 2015.

Where to from here?

Kura continue to be challenged to think about ways of using data and gathering evidence to support improvement of learning and teaching. Tumuaki continue to actively focus on student learning and achievement and the quality of teaching throughout the kura with the alignment of clear processes, structures and policy in place.

On reflection

The following documentation and thought-leadership has helped to sustain key shifts, these include:

Principles of Tu Rangatira:

  • Māori potential
  • Cultural advantage
  • Inherent capability 
  • Mana motuhake

Seven roles of leadership:

  • He Kaitiaki - guardian
  • He Kaiwhakarite - manager
  • He Kanohi Matara - visionary
  • He Kaiako - teacher
  • He Kaimahi - worker
  • He Kaikōtuitui - networker
  • He Kaiarataki – advocate

As kura continue to embed cohesive systems throughout the school (at both organisational and classroom levels), positive ERO reviews have allowed kura to celebrate their achievements and successes while providing the impetus for continued development.

** For more on pakirehua as a Māori perspective of inquiry, see Teaching as inquiry using a Māori world view. For more information on the Tumuaki professional development programme, see the 2016 infographic or visit the project page or contact Marama Reweti-Martin.