Tau Mai Te Reo | The Māori Language in Education Strategy (English)

Kia tau te reo ki roto i te rāngai mātauranga. Growing te reo Māori through education & growing education through te reo Māori to protect and promote the Māori language for future generations.

Tau Mai Te Reo is a cross-agency strategy for the education sector. The agencies include: Ministry of Education; Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu; Education New Zealand; Education Review Office; New Zealand Qualifications Authority; The Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand; Tertiary Education Commission; New Zealand School Trustees Association.

The education sector includes all early learning, schooling, and tertiary education provision.

Tau Mai Te Reo sets out the goals we are seeking to achieve and provides a framework for coordinating our programmes and services that support Māori language in education. It builds on the previous Tau Mai Te Reo, published in 2013. 

Through our education system, we will provide breadth and depth of Māori language in education.

All learners will be able to develop some level of Māori language skills to support our national identity, while learners in Māori Medium education will be able to develop very high levels of Māori language proficiency and use as they undertake their teaching and learning through te reo Māori. 

Tau Mai Te Reo strategy [PDF, 677 KB]

Guiding principles

He taonga te reo

The Māori language is a taonga of iwi and Māori and an integral part of our national identity as New Zealanders.

It is important to give practical effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi through Māori language in education.


Māori learners thrive when their identity, language and culture is embedded into their learning and they have a strong sense of belonging.

Te Whare o te Reo Mauri Ora

The Crown and Māori have important roles to play in supporting the Māori language. It is important to work in partnership and support strong relationships between learners and whānau, educators and others.

He reo kōrero, he reo ora

It is important to grow the number of New Zealanders with Māori language skills and to grow the environment where conversing in te reo Māori in every day contexts is a social norm.

He huarahi ako

Māori language learning is a life-long journey across many pathways. It is important to ensure learners achieve excellent education outcomes through this journey.

Tau Mai Te Reo informs and is informed by the overall Education Work Programme:

Go to the Education Portfolio Work Programme 

Our 30-Year Education Vision and Objectives

The 30-year vision and objectives form the core of our overall approach to education.


Whakamaua te pae tata kia tina – Take hold of your potential so it becomes your reality.

We are descendants of explorers, discoverers and innovators who used their knowledge to traverse distant horizons.

Our learning will be inclusive, equitable and connected so we progress and achieve advances for our people and their future journeys and encounters.

Whāia te pae tawhiti kia tata – Explore beyond the distant horizon and draw it near.


  • Learners at the centre: Learners with their whānau are at the centre of education.
  • Barrier-Free Access: Great education opportunities and outcomes are within reach for every learner.
  • Quality Teaching and Leadership: Quality teaching and leadership make the difference for learners and their whānau.
  • Future of Learning and Work: Learning that is relevant to the lives of New Zealanders today and throughout their lives.
  • World class Inclusive Public Education: New Zealand education is trusted and sustainable.

To create change it is important to embed Tau Mai Te Reo into this framework to ensure we are aligning vision, purpose and action within our education system to grow te reo Māori through education and to grow education through te reo Māori.

Ka Hikitia: A cross agency strategy for the education sector

Ka Hikitia provides direction and an organising framework for Māori education within the context of the overall Education Work Programme.

Maihi Karauna: The Crown’s Māori language strategy

The Maihi Karauna is a whole-of-government Māori Language Strategy. It sets out the vision and actions for growing te reo Māori.

Together with the Maihi Māori – the Māori Language Strategy for iwi and Māori developed by Te Mātāwai – it forms Te Whare o te Reo Mauri Ora as envisaged in Te Ture mō te Reo Māori (Māori Language Act) 2016. 

Together, Ka Hikitia and the Maihi Karauna seek to:

  • Grow the number of New Zealanders with Māori language skills through the education system, and
  • Support Māori language learners to achieve excellent education outcomes.

Tau Mai Te Reo is a companion strategy to Ka Hikitia and should be read in conjunction with it.

Māori language in education encompasses: Māori medium education (immersion and bilingual settings), and Māori language in English medium settings.

Mapping the Maihi Karauna onto Tau Mai Te Reo

The Maihi Karauna has three outcomes and three audacious goals. We have mapped these outcomes and goals onto the Tau Mai Approach:

Tau Mai Approach – Mihi Mai Te Reo

Our education services will support learners to value, acquire and use Māori language words, phrases and other forms (for example, waiata and haka) that are used on a regular basis in New Zealand society.

  • Maihi Karauna Outcome: Aotearoatanga / Nationhood
  • Goal: By 2040, 85% (or more) of New Zealanders will value the Māori language as a key part of national identity.
  • Theory of change: Whakanui – Create the conditions for te reo Māori to be valued.

Tau Mai Approach – Kōrero Mai Te Reo

Our education services will provide Māori language to support learners to develop the ability and confidence to talk about a range of things in the Māori language.

  • Maihi Karauna Outcome: Mātauranga / Knowledge and Skills
  • Goal: By 2040, one million (or more) New Zealanders will have the ability and confidence to talk about at least basic things in the Māori language.
  • Theory of change: Whakaako – Create the conditions for te reo Māori to be learned.

Tau Mai Approach – Tau Mai Te Reo

Our education services will ensure learners can access Māori Medium education services in order to develop high levels of Māori language proficiency and use.

  • Maihi Karauna Outcome: Hononga / Engagement
  • Goal: By 2040, 150,000 Māori aged 15 years and over will use the Māori language at least as much as English.
  • Theory of change: Whakaatu – Create the conditions for te reo Māori to be seen, read, heard and spoken.

Outcomes Domains to support excellent outcomes for Māori language learners

Te Whānau

  • Māori language in education supports learners and whānau to develop and use their Māori language skills in whānau settings to support intergenerational language transmission.

Te Tangata

  • Learners are able to readily access the level and type of Māori language in education that they aspire to. Learners will receive high quality education services that support excellent and equitable language learning outcomes.

Te Kanorautanga

  • Our education workforce will have the right people with the right skills in the right places to support the provision of Māori language in education to learners.

Te Tuakiritanga

  • Our education services will incorporate Māori language, identity and culture into all practices.
  • We will support Māori learners to develop the skills to participate in te ao Māori (and Aotearoa and te ao whānui), including the Māori language.
  • We will support all New Zealanders to value the Māori language as part of our national identity.

Te Rangatiratanga

  • Our education services will support Māori to exercise agency and authority over the provision of Māori language in education at all levels of the education system.
  • We will support Māori to develop and lead Kaupapa Māori pathways within our education services, including Ngā Kōhanga Reo, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Kura-ā-Iwi and Wānanga.

Education services includes early learning services, schools, kura, tertiary providers.

Key measures

Māori whānau, hapū and iwi are active partners with our education services in Māori language learning. We will measure and report with whānau, hapū, iwi and Māori.

Mihi Mai

  • More learners will participate in all levels of Māori Language in Education. This will support Aotearoatanga.
  • We will measure and report on the number of learners participating in different forms of Māori language in education.

Kōrero Mai

  • Learners in Māori language in education will increase their proficiency and use of the Māori language. This will support the Mātauranga and Hononga goals of the Maihi Karauna.
  • We will measure and report on the achievement of Māori language results through NCEA and NZQF achievement data, and connect this data with Māori language data collected by Statistics New Zealand.

Tau Mai

  • Learners in Māori Language in Education will achieve excellent education outcomes.
  • We will measure and report the education outcomes achieved by Māori Language in Education learners through NCEA and NZQF.

Key actions for the Ministry of Education and education sector agencies

Key Action – All Education Services have a Māori language plan.

Actions – June 2020

Stimulate demand among learners and whānau for Māori Language in Education


  • We are\ stimulating demand for Māori language in education.
  • We are work with agencies to promote Māori Language Week and other signature events (e.g. Te Matatini, Ngā Manu Kōrero, etc).
Give clear directions to education services about their roles in providing Māori Language in Education
  • We will require that education services are “taking all reasonable steps to make instruction available in tikanga Māori and te reo Māori” and with whānau, hapū, and iwi are “working to ensure that its plans, policies and local curriculum reflect local tikanga Māori, mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori” through the Education and Training legislation.
  • We will provide clear directions to education services about our expectations for the provision of Māori Language in Education through the National Education and Learning Priorities policy statement, the Tertiary Education Strategy, Te Whāriki and the National Curriculum (the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa).
  • We will develop and promote models of Māori Language Plans that can be used by education services.
Grow the education workforce to support Māori Language in Education
  • We provided additional funding for Kōhanga Reo kaimahi through Budget 2019 and 2020.
  • We will grow the supply of Māori Language in Education teachers through the Teacher Supply package within Budget 2019 (this has added to the suite of scholarships and awards for Māori language teachers and includes provision for a promotion campaign).
  • We are implementing Te Ahu o te Reo Māori to lift Māori language capability across the education workforce. We have also realigned our professional learning and development priorities to focus on strengthening the cultural capability of the education workforce.
  • We are providing the Māori Immersion Teaching Allowance (MITA) to recognise the additional skills and responsibilities required for the education workforce working in Rāngai Māori (Māori Medium).
  • We will develop a Rāngai Māori Education Workforce Strategy and an overall Education Workforce Strategy.
Provide high quality resources to support teaching and learning in Māori Language in Education
  • We will review and update Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and The New Zealand Curriculum.
  • We will make Māori language teaching and learning resources available to education services and learners and whānau through He Kauwhata Reo, an online portal for resources published by the Ministry of Education and other government agencies.
  • We will fund resource development at the national and local levels through Te Aho Ngārahu and other Māori language resource programmes.
Ensure that learners can access Māori Language in Education
  • We will work with Māori to strengthen Māori medium pathways as part of the Review of Tomorrow’s Schools.
  • We will strengthen network provision through the development of a National Māori Medium Network Plan and supporting local-level Māori language pathways.
  • We will continue to provide Māori Language Programme Funding for schools that deliver Māori medium education.
Provide system stewardship that supports Māori Language in Education
  • We will review Māori language funding in schooling.
  • We will review Māori language and mātauranga Māori funding rates in tertiary education.
  • We will strengthen our relationships with Kaupapa Māori organisations (including Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust, Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori, Ngā Kura-ā-Iwi and Te Tauihu o Ngā Wānanga) and support these organisations to engage with education agencies.
  • We will support iwi to engage in the governance and leadership of Māori language in education.
  • We will investigate opportunities to establish a Centre of Excellence for Māori Medium Education.
Support learners and whānau to build strong connections with Māori Language in Education services
  • We will investigate opportunities for strengthening connections between Māori Language in Education curricula and Māori language use in whānau settings to support intergenerational language transmission.
  • We will support whānau to navigate Māori Language in Education choices and pathways.

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