Te Whatu Pōkeka (Māori)

'Te Whatu Pōkeka: Kaupapa Assessment for Learning Māori: Early Childhood Exemplars' were developed to provide a resource based on a kaupapa Māori perspective and context. The focus of the resource is the assessment of Māori children in Māori early childhood settings.

Wāhanga Tuarua: Mana Tamariki Te Kōhanga Reo me Te Kura Kaupapa Māori


Mana Tamariki was established in late 1989 to help satisfy the growing demand within our community for kōhanga reo. In 1990 we became the sixth kōhanga reo in Palmerston North. Although Palmerston North is an educational centre, it is not unfortunately a Māori cultural hub and there are very few native Māori speakers living in the area. Ironically, it is the scarcity of Māori culture and language in the district that has provided the environment that has allowed Mana Tamariki to develop and flourish.

  • Our goals
    • Mana Tamariki embraces the goals of the National Kōhanga Reo Trust, which give primacy to Māori language and culture. Our declared objectives illuminate our core values. We aim to uphold the concept of “Mana Tamariki”, which is defined as “children’s status”, “empowerment of children”, and “young people’s authority”. Mana Tamariki places the children as the central focus of all activities in each learning environment.

      • “Children’s status” means that children will be imbued with knowledge and skills appropriate to their level of development.
      • “Empowerment of children” means that children will develop to their full potential.
      • “Young people’s authority” means that Mana Tamariki will actively involve young people in the implementation of these objectives and encourage their participation in decision-making.

      We have a holistic view of human development, recognising that cultural, physical, and emotional well-being are as essential as intellectual and creative development.

      We promote and uphold an indigenous Māori spiritual dimension.

      We recognise the right of Māori with special needs to their ancestral language and culture, and we commit to provide for them.

      We aim to develop the students’ confidence, creativity, self-esteem, pride in being Māori, and a love of learning.

      We aspire to standards of excellence for each learning environment and each individual student.

      In recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi, tino rangatiratanga/Māori self-determination is a core element of our organisation.

      We aspire to engage with Māori families to focus on the learning, growth, and development of their children.

      Child and whānau-centred learning in our environment provides a framework that upholds tino rangatiratanga.

      In 1995, we opened our kura kaupapa Māori, a total immersion Māori language school. Our kura kaupapa Māori now also includes a wharekura, a secondary school section.

  • The journey
    • Our journey in the Kaupapa Māori Learning and Assessment Exemplar Project began in 2003 when Te Kōhanga Reo o Mana Tamariki agreed to participate. We had already begun a developmental journey exploring assessment through the learning stories approach. It would be fair to say that we had a rocky start and the project really set us in motion. The major impact was that involvement in the project provided Mana Tamariki with a forum where we could discuss our efforts with everyone else in the project. Drawing upon the views of others at hui allowed us to consider the theories that were constantly emerging.

      Our first narratives strictly followed the learning stories approach. There were no photos. The stories were recorded on one A4-size page of documentation. They were linked to the learning dispositions as described in the learning stories approach. The learning dispositions were, in turn, linked to Te Whāriki. Despite this, our stories seemed dry and uninspiring, and often focused on the children’s developmental stages rather than on the learning that was taking place. This was a stage in the development of our understanding. We continued to share our learning with whānau at monthly meetings. Parents listened and contributed but they too were trying to understand the processes that the staff were following. At this point we did not feel competent and this impacted on our confidence in articulating our understanding of the process.

      Not long after we joined the project we purchased a digital camera. The project gave us some assistance to do this and also provided us with our first USB key. The addition of a digital camera launched the staff into a new aspect of professional development – technological advancement. Not only did we add digital documentation to our stories but we also learned about downloading photographs. We trialled different digital filing systems. We printed directly to a photocopier and we maximised our use of the USB key.

      As we were getting our heads around the technology, we were also becoming more familiar with the learning stories approach and with formative assessment. We were concurrently trying to align our analysis of the learning that was taking place with a Māori world view. To do this we trialled several systems of analysis or frameworks created from Te Aho Matua, the philosophical document that guides kura kaupapa Māori. We also uphold this philosophy in our kōhanga reo. Initially we maintained a dual focus on the learning dispositions that link to Te Whāriki, along with Te Aho Matua. It was then that we moved to recording our learning stories on A3-size paper. In this format they lent themselves more easily to the collective approach to assessment that suited the Mana Tamariki whānau. More people could group around a story to discuss it and that meant whānau could bounce ideas off each other in a way conducive to our way of functioning.

      We now have a quite a file building up – evidence of the extensive trials and adaptations we have undertaken. We hope it will continue to expand because that will mean we are still learning and striving to improve. We have learned that we cannot “master” assessment. As with a Māori world view, the process is continually emerging and our understanding is constantly evolving. The realisation that each learning story fulfils numerous purposes has astounded us. One story becomes an assessment of learning and teaching for all, a language resource, a documentation of history, a planning tool, a report, a piece of evidence for external agencies – and the list goes on.

      Currently we produce our stories in A3 format with colour pictures. We adorn the walls of the kōhanga with documentation in an attempt to invite the children’s reactions and responses as well as adults’. We store the documentation in A3 clear files so that the whānau, including children, can revisit the stories as they choose. External feedback about the way we document the stories is mostly positive. However, we still feel that we have a long way to go. I’m not sure if it is a route we are travelling or a circular path that we keep traversing, deepening our understanding with every round. We look forward to continuing the journey and further developing our theories and ideas about how we can better understand the way in which children learn and grow.


  • Te aroha o te tuakana
    • Te aroha o te tuakana

      Ko Jalen te tuakana o Devon. Nō te tīmatanga o Devon i te kōhanga reo ka kite mātou i tētahi āhuatanga rerekē i roto i a Jalen.

      “Tēnā rā koe Jalen. Nō te ata nei ka mīharo au ki a koe e whakaatu ana i tō aroha ki tō teina, ki a Devon. I noho koe i tōna taha mō tētahi wā roa. I te wā i tīmata a Devon ki te heke haere ki raro, nāu anō a ia i hiki ake kia pai anō ai tana noho.”

      Ngā hua i puta

      • Te manaaki me te atawhai a te tuakana.
      • Te rongo a te teina i te aroha o tōna tuakana.

      Te pae tata

      Kia whai wāhi a Jalen rāua ko Devon ki te noho ngātahi, ki te tākaro ngātahi i ia rā.

      Te pae tawhiti

      Kia whāia tonuhia tēnei kōrero e ngā kaiwhakaako mā te tuhituhi, mā ngā whakaahua me ngā kōrero.


      Ngā hononga ki te tauparapara: Ways of knowing

      This exemplar clearly reflects the knowledge Jalen brings to the kōhanga reo. He displays a depth of understanding about whanaungatanga and in particular his role and responsibility as the older sibling or tuakana (Mōhiotanga). This exemplar demonstrates the whakataukī “Ka hē mai te taina, mā te tuakana e whakatika, ka hē mai te tuakana, mā te taina e ārahi”, which suggests that if the younger falters, the elder child will be there to support and guide, and if the older sibling wanes, the younger child will be there to teach him patience, tolerance, and compassion (Mātauranga). This is evident in the way in which Jalen sat for a long period of time and gently helped his brother down into the sandpit to play with the others. Knowing his brother was safe and secure was obviously one of Jalen’s goals, (Māramatanga).

      Ngā āhuatanga o te tamaiti: Ways of being

      Jalen, as tuakana, displays certain traits of aroha or unconditional love for his taina. He also provides arāhitanga, guidance, and manaaki, care, which are concepts based on whanaungatanga. The way in which Jalen nurtures the mana and mauri of his taina is evident in this exemplar. This enhances his own mana or potential power, and his abilities. Jalen defines his place (as tuakana) in time (the here and now), space (between him and his taina), and locality (in the sandpit). Because of Jalen’s spiritual and emotional balance or taha wairua, he is able to carry out his role as tuakana effectively.

      Tikanga whakaako: Ways of knowing

      This exemplar captures the intimacy between tuakana and taina. Whaea Miria’s assessment of this situation focuses on the strength that Jalen exhibits in the manaaki of his taina. Whaea Miria’s allowing Jalen to take responsibility for his taina, without adult intervention or support, is a fine example of trust and ako in action. Future planning will focus on building and strengthening this relationship by allowing Jalen to spend time each day with his taina. This exemplar indicates that:

      • Assessment involves making visible learning that is valued within te ao Māori.
      • Assessment is about articulating the kaupapa and mātauranga that underpin practice.
      • Assessment is something that happens during everyday practice.

      He hononga ki Te Whāriki

      Whakamana - Empowerment

      Ko te whakatipu i te mana o te mokopuna te tino taumata hei whainga mā tātou. Ko tētahi o ngā whāinga o Te Kōhanga Reo o Mana Tamariki kia noho ko te tamaiti hei pū matua mō ngā kaupapa a te kōhanga reo, arā, ko ngā ngohe i ia akoranga e kiia nei ‘te aroākapa a te tamaiti’, ‘te tuku mana ki te tamaiti’ me te ‘rangatiratanga o te tamaiti’. E hāngai ana tēnei ki te mātāpono o te whakamana kei roto i Te Whāriki.

      A major goal of Te Kōhanga Reo o Mana Tamariki is to uphold the concept of Mana Tamariki, which places the children as the central focus of all activities in each learning environment and which is defined as “children’s status”, “empowerment of children” and “young people’s authority”. This aligns with the principle of whakamana in Te Whāriki, which states that “to whakamana or empower a child is to uphold the child’s mana. Children must be supported, respected and given choices in order for them to reach their potential.”

  • He Māori rānei tēnei?
    • He Māori rānei tēnei?

      Nō te ata nei ka pātai mai a Whaea Brenda, “Ko wai kei te hiahia ki te tā i tētahi āhua Māori?” Tere tonu te whakautu a Maia, “Ko au, ko au! Māku e tā.”

      “Ko tēnei tētahi tohu Māori, nē?” te pātai a Whaea Brenda ki a Maia.

      “Āe, he tohu Māori tōnā,” te whakautu a Maia.

      Kātahi a Whaea Brenda ka mea, “Tōnā, tāngia mai he āhua Pākehā.”

      Anei te āhua Pākehā i tāngia e Maia. “He koru anō?” tā Whaea Brenda.

      “Āe, he rite tonu te Māori me te Pākehā engari he nui atu te Pākehā,” tā Maia ki a Whaea Brenda.

      “He nui atu?”

      “Āe, he maha ngā mea Pākehā kei ngā wāhi katoa o te tāone.”

      Ka hipa te wiki kotahi, ā, i te papa tākaro, ka noho a Maia rāua ko Whaea Brenda ki te kōrero mō te āhua o te papa tākaro.

      “He papa tākaro Māori tēnei, Maia?” te pātai a Whaea Brenda.

      Ka roa a Maia e whakaaro ana kātahi ia ka mea, “He Māori, he Pākehā hoki.”

      “Ko ēhea wāhanga he Māori, ko ēhea wāhanga he Pākehā?” te pātai a Whaea Brenda.

      “Koia! He koru, he Māori,” tā Maia.

      Ka pātai anō a Whaea Brenda ki a Maia, “Nā reira, he papa tākaro Māori tēnei?” Ka whakaaro anō a Maia kātahi a ia ka mea, “He Māori mehemea ka mahi Māori ngā tāngata. Ki te haere mai taku māmā ki konei ka Māori te papa tākaro. Ko āna mahi he Māori nā reira ka huri tēnei hei wāhi Māori.”

      Ngā hua i puta

      Kua hōhonu ake te mōhio o te kaiwhakaako ka pēhea te tamaiti ki te waihanga ariā e pā ana ki te tuakiri me te ahurea.

      Te pae tata

      Kia haere tonu tēnei momo rangahau.

      Te pae tawhiti

      Kia tātarihia ngā ariā o ngā tamariki hei hāpai i te noho ki roto i te reo Māori me ngā tikanga Māori.


      Ngā hononga ki te tauparapara: Ways of knowing

      This exemplar focuses on Maia and her interpretation of te ao Māori and te ao Pākehā. When asked to draw a picture of something Māori she chooses to draw a koru. By doing this, Maia indicates that she knows that Māori symbolism can be used as a tool to represent her views (Mōhiotanga). In this exemplar Maia is asked a number of questions. These challenge her thinking, yet when asked to draw something Pākehā, she still draws a koru, although slightly differently (Mātauranga). In this exemplar, Maia is also asked to decide whether the playground is a Māori or a Pākehā place. After much thinking she concludes that the playground would become a Māori place if there were Māori people who did Māori things there, at the time, just like her mum (Māramatanga).

      Ngā āhuatanga o te tamaiti: Ways of being

      Maia has obviously the confidence to express her views, both visually and orally. Her mauri or life force is evident in the way she actively seeks answers to the questions. In this exemplar, Maia is able to theorise about her world, which is embedded in te ao Māori. Maia radiates potential and her environment enhances her mana and emotional well-being or wairua.

      Tikanga whakaako: Ways of doing

      Whaea Brenda poses a range of questions in order to gauge how Maia would differentiate between te ao Māori and te ao Pākehā. She allows Maia to use her own ideas to answer these questions. Maia’s answers are respected by Whaea Brenda. By drawing attention to the same types of questions in different contexts, Brenda is able to gauge the depth of thinking behind Maia’s ideas. This exemplar draws on Maia’s experiences from beyond the kōhanga reo. It establishes the learning that is taking place within different cultural contexts. This exemplar indicates that:

      • Assessment is based on the child’s ways of seeing and knowing the world and on her ways of being and interacting in the world.
      • Assessment is about understanding and considering the child’s learning within a Māori cultural context.
      • Assessment involves making visible learning that is valued within te ao Māori.
      • Assessment acknowledges the child’s right to be and to act as Māori.

      He honga hi Te Whāriki

      I roto i tēnei tauira, ko ngā mahi whakawhiti kōrero i waenganui i te kaiako me te tamaiti i whakaohooho i a ia. Mēnā ka whakaatu te pakeke i tōna tino hiahia me tōna aronui ki te ako, ka heke ērā āhuatanga ki te tamaiti.

      In this exemplar the way in which the kaiako interacts with the child impacts on the way in which the child participates. If adults exhibit a desire for, and love of learning, then the children will share the desire to learn.

  • Te parāoa rēwena
    • Te parāoa rēwena

      Kei te tunu parāoa ngā tamariki. Mā te pani i ngā paepae ki te pata kia kore ai te parāoa e piri ki te paepae.

      Kua ruia te parāoa puehu ki runga i te tēpu mā te hītari. Ākuanei ka tīmata ngā tamariki ki te pokepoke.

      Mā rau ringa e oti ai.

      Kua mutu te pokepoke. Kua tata ki te rānui. Kua tahuri ngā tamariki ki te whakapaipai i te wharekai.

      Me kaua te toenga o te īhi e maka atu. Ka tiakina kia ora pai ai hei hanga parāoa anō ā tētahi atu wā.

      Kua taha te kotahi haora me te haurua, ā, kua rewa te parāoa. Ka rau atu ki te umu kia maoa.

      Ka tangohia te parāoa i te umu, ka rere te kākara ki ngā tōpito katoa o te whare. Ka tapahia kia tuari ki te whānau.

      “Anei tā tātau e Pā,” te kōrero a Korakotaiwaha.

      “Anei te parāoa nā mātou i tunu”, te kōrero a Taarewa-i- te-rangi ki tōna pāpā.

      Ngā hua i puta

      Te hono ki ngā mātua tūpuna.

      Te manaaki.

      Te koha.

      Te harakoa.

      Te pae tata

      Kia tunu parāoa anō ngā tamariki.

      Te pae tawhiti

      Kia whānui atu ngā wheako taka kai.


      Ngā hononga ki te tauparapara: Ways of knowing

      This exemplar describes a learning experience that requires the children to work together and alongside their kaiako. The children have a perception of what they know, and of what they can and can’t do (Mōhiotanga). Throughout the experience the children show the ability to be involved, to concentrate, and to focus on the process (Mātauranga). The learning experience begins with everyone being involved in bread making and then leads on to their cleaning the whare kai and eventually to their delight in sharing the cooked bread with their koroua. This completes the process (Māramatanga).

      Ngā āhuatanga o te tamaiti: Ways of being

      This exemplar portrays collective action and the sharing of responsibilities among the children and the kaiako. Such a situation facilitates expressions of social identity and obligations or whanaungatanga. The mana and mauri of the group is maintained through the accomplishments of each individual, which in turn enhance the mana and emotional well-being, or wairua, of each child.

      Tikanga whakaako: Ways of doing

      This learning experience reflects continuity for the children. There are links between the kōhanga, the home, the marae and the wider world. The experience builds on the children’s interests and on an area of familiarity to them. The adult provides support with the bread making but allows cleaning the whare kai to be entirely the children’s responsibility. This suggests that the adults in this place are confident that the children are able to take responsibility for their own learning. The presence of koroua in this exemplar links the world of the mokopuna and that of their elders. This is a good example of how adults assess children’s learning within a social context. This exemplar indicates that:

      • Assessment is based on the children’s ways of seeing and knowing the world and on their ways of being and interacting in the world.
      • Assessment involves making visible learning that is valued within te ao Māori.
      • Assessment is a vital aspect of early childhood education in that it is about articulating kaupapa and mātauranga that underpin practice.
      • Assessment implies that there are aims or goals for children’s learning.
      • Assessment is something that happens during everyday practice.

      He hononga ki Te Whāriki

      Kotahitanga - Holistic development

      E rua ngā tukanga ki tēnei wāhanga. Ko te whakatakoto mahere hei poke parāoa, ā, ko ngā mahi poke parāoa hei akoranga hōu. Ko ētahi atu ko te tautuhi i ngā rautaki hei whakakoi, whakakaha, whakatoitoi ā-tinana, ā-hinengaro, ā-wairua, ā-waiora anō hoki i te tamaiti.

      There are two inseparable processes shown in this exemplar. These are the planning for and the making of bread as a learning experience, and identifying suitable strategies to stimulate, encourage, and motivate the physical, intellectual, emotional, and social well- being of the child.