Establishing a certificated puna kōhungahunga (Māori language playgroup)

"Te piko o te māhuri Tera te tipu o te rakau - The bow in the branch is indicative of how the tree will grow."

'Establishing a Certificated Puna Kōhungahunga' is a guide for whānau who want to set up a puna kōhungahunga.

Ministry of Education staff are available to work with whānau to set up a puna kōhungahunga and to get certification. Their focus is on quality early childhood education programmes for children.

If you are interested in setting up a certificated puna kōhungahunga contact your local Ministry of Education office.

What is a puna kōhungahunga?

Ngā puna kōhungahunga are a type of playgroup that focus on learning te reo Māori and tikanga. Learning may be in both English and te reo or in te reo only. Parents1 and whānau set up their puna kōhungahunga and are involved in running the sessions. They get information and support from the Ministry of Education to do so.

The main aim of a puna kōhungahunga is for whānau to get together and encourage tamariki to learn about the tikanga and reo of tangata whenua of the area, and to provide a learning environment that responds to the interests and learning needs of individual tamariki.

  • Where do they meet?
    • Some puna kōhungahunga meet at marae, schools, church halls or community halls which are centrally located, easy to get to and affordable. If they are meeting at marae, this will mainly be in community buildings in the papa kāinga area. Some other puna kōhungahunga share premises with playcentres or kindergartens.

  • What do whānau and tamariki do at a puna kōhungahunga?
    • Whānau with young tamariki meet together to play and learn. Ngā puna kōhungahunga also provide an informal support network for whānau and encourage mātua to learn about the education needs of tamariki and to see the importance of their role in their child’s early education. Whānau and mātua come to view play as a valuable tool for children’s learning, growth and development.

  • What is required of ngā puna kōhungahunga?
    • Ngā puna kōhungahunga follow the same rules as other playgroups.

      A playgroup is defined by the Education and Training Act 2020 (the Act) as a group that meets on a regular basis to facilitate children’s play and that:

      a) no child attends for more than four hours on any day
      b) more than half the children attending on any occasion have a parent or caregiver present in the same play area at the same time.

      The Act also states that the organiser of a playgroup can be an individual or a group of people. In many cases this will be a parent or a group of parents.

      Ngā puna kōhungahunga can be run either with, or without certification. However funding and support from the Ministry of Education is only available to those puna kōhungahunga that are certificated. A puna kōhungahunga that is not funded must still operate according to the Act.