Licensing criteria for kōhanga reo

Kōhanga reo run a total immersion te reo Māori whānau (family) programme for mokopuna (young children) from birth to six years of age to be raised within its whānau Māori, where the language of communication will be Māori.

The operation and decision making of each kōhanga reo are the responsibility of the whole whānau within the guidelines set down by Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust Board. The trust and the kōhanga reo whānau administer the kaupapa to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the mokopuna and the whānau and to ensure the survival of te reo Māori.

Kōhanga reo are currently chartered to Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust and licensed by the Ministry of Education under the Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008.

Education (Early Childhood Services) Regulations 2008(external link)

The Ministry does not provide guidance for the kōhanga reo licensing criteria. Guidance is available upon request directly from Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust.

Contact us – Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust(external link)

A copy of the criteria can be downloaded from the right-hand column.

The licensing criteria were last updated in September 2022.

Professional practice

Criteria for professional practice:

  • C1: Curriculum consistent
    • Curriculum criterion 1

      Te kōhanga reo curriculum is consistent with the prescribed curriculum framework that applies to kōhanga reo.


      Criterion ensures that there is a link between the prescribed curriculum framework and what happens at the service.

  • C2: Assessment
    • Curriculum criterion 2

      Te kōhanga reo curriculum is informed by planning, implementation, and evaluation that demonstrates an understanding of mokopuna learning, their interests, whānau, and life contexts (documented and undocumented).

  • C3: Interactions
    • Curriculum criterion 3

      Whānau responsible for providing positive learning opportunities and care engage in meaningful, positive interactions to enhance mokopuna learning and nurture reciprocal relationships.

  • C4: Adult's Knowledge
    • Curriculum criterion 4

      The practices of whānau responsible for providing learning opportunities and care demonstrate an understanding of mokopuna learning and development, and knowledge of tikanga and good practice in kōhanga reo.