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.

Planning and documentation

  • GMA8: Annual plan
    • Governance, management and administration criterion 8:

      An annual plan guides the service's operation.

      Documentation required:

      An annual plan identifying 'who', 'what', and 'when' in relation to key tasks the service intends to undertake each year, and how key tasks will have regard to the Statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP).


      An annual plan is part of good business practice and will show the Ministry of Education how the service intends to ensure ongoing compliance with all regulatory requirements and criteria.

  • GMA9 Annual budget
    • Governance, management and administration criterion 9:

      An annual budget guides financial expenditure.

      Documentation required:

      An annual budget setting out the service’s estimated revenue and expenses for the year. The budget includes at least:

      • staffing costs, including leave entitlements;
      • professional development costs;
      • equipment and material costs for the ongoing purchase of new equipment and consumable materials; and
      • provision for operational costs (such as electricity, telephone, food purchases, and other day to day items) and maintenance of the premises as appropriate.

      The criterion will provide the Ministry of Education with evidence of the service's ability to continue to meet regulatory standards and criteria and afford the financial costs of providing a quality licensed service.

      Updated 21 July 2011

  • GMA10: Enrolment records
    • Governance, management and administration Criterion 10:

      Enrolment records are maintained for each child attending. Records are kept for at least 7 years. 

      Documentation required:

      Enrolment records for each child currently attending and for those who have attended in the previous 7 years. 

      Records meet the requirements of the Early Childhood Education Funding Handbook and include at least: 

      • the child's full name, date of birth, and address;
      • the name and address of at least 1 parent;
      • details of how at least 1 parent (or someone nominated by them) can be contacted while the child attends the service;
      • the name of the medical practitioner (or medical centre) who should, if practicable, be consulted if the child is ill or injured;
      • details of any chronic illness/condition that the child has, and of any implications or actions to be followed in relation to that illness/condition;
      • the names of the people authorised by the parent to collect the child; and
      • any court orders affecting day to day care of, or contact with, the child.
  • GMA11: Attendance records
    • Governance, management and administration criterion 11

      An attendance record is maintained that shows the times and dates of every child’s attendance at the service. Records are kept for at least 7 years.

      Documentation required: 

      An attendance record that meets the requirements outlined in the Early Childhood Education Funding Handbook for children currently attending, and children who have attended in the previous 7 years.