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Whakamanahia te reo Māori

Enhancing te reo Māori proficiency of graduates from Initial Teacher Education programmes to teach in Māori-medium settings

What level of te reo Māori proficiency should a graduate from an approved Māori medium teacher education programme have to begin their teaching career? 

Te Pouherenga Kaiako o Aotearoa began a project to develop a framework to guide assessment of student teachers prior to their graduation.

The Whakamanahia te Reo Māori project is driven by the Education Council’s Māori Medium Advisory Group.  It has encompassed a three phased approach involving:

  • Phase one: An environmental research report (He Tirohanga Hōtaka) on the influences that effect te Reo Māori competence of graduates
  • Phase two: An international and national literature review (He Tirohanga Rangahau) of research on second language acquisition and pedagogy
  • Phase three: The development and piloting of a draft te Reo Māori proficiency framework (Te Kohikohinga o ngā Taonga mahi).

Project Timeline 


Revisions and refinements

In 2014 revisions were made to the draft te reo Māori proficiency framework based on the findings of Frances Goulton as researcher and Hineihaea Murphy as developer.



Piloting the draft framework

Three MMITE agree to participate in a pilot of the draft Te Reo Māori Proficiency Framework. They will use it to guide the selection and development of assessments for student teachers prior to their graduation.

Frances Goulton of Aronui Ltd begins her role as researcher.


Decisions made

It was agreed that:

- entry for all candidates into MMITE programmes would be set at level 2 NCEA Te Reo Māori
- exit level decisions would be supported by Te Reo Māori Proficiency framework

Hineihaea Murphy of Haemata Ltd drafted the proficiency framework in consultation with Te Rōpū Kaihautū and Te Reo Kaiako Ngaio.

It was decided that the proficiency framework would be piloted in 2013, in four MMITE.

Hineihaea Murphy would provide some support to the providers to use the draft proficiency framework. A researcher would be contracted to gather findings from the teaching staff who were piloting the framework.


Phase three: Te Reo Māori proficiency framework

The Council agrees that Phase Three should be the development of Te Reo Māori Proficiency Framework for use when assessing student teachers’ te reo Māori proficiency. This phase would involve extensive consultation.

They agreed to convene two groups to support this work. Te Rōpū Kaihautū was the steering group for this phase. Te Reo Kaiako Ngaio was the Reference Group with whom the developer would also work.

They decide to seek a contractor to create the framework. Haemata Ltd became the contractor.


Phase two: Literature Review published

The Council approved that the report Whakamanahia Te Reo Māori Research Project – He Tirohanga Rangahau (A Review of Literature) by Dr Mere Skerrett be published.


Literature Review

In 2009 research questions were agreed upon and

“What does the New Zealand and international literature reveal about these questions:
What are the instructional and contextual factors that are most likely to influence the level of te reo Māori proficiency gained by graduating kaiako, and how these factors can best be addressed?
What are the issues in defining and assessing the relevant te reo Māori proficiencies, and how these issues can best be addressed?”

This review was undertaken by Dr Mere Skerrett University of Canterbury conducted the research.


Planning phase two

In 2008, The report, He Tirohanga Hotaka (sometimes referred to as the Haemata report) was published and released at a workshop for ITE providers and for key agencies on December 16, 2008.

At the 16 December hui to launch the Haemata Report, the draft research question was discussed for the Literature review of phase two.


Phase one: Environmental scan report published

In October the Council approved the first phase of this research that was an environmental scan undertaken by Hineihaea Murphy of Haemata Ltd.


Research project

An initial scoping group was formed. They recommended that a research project be established to take place in two phases.

The first phase was an environmental scan to describe te reo proficiency requirements of current MMITE programmes.

In 2006, the Council agreed to support a proposal from Māori medium Advisory Group to scope a research project on te reo Māori proficiency in Māori medium initial teacher education (MMITE).




As part of the research, two publications were developed:

He Tirohanga Hōtaka (PDF, 653KB)

An Exploration of Issues and Influences that effect Te Reo Māori Competence of Graduates from Māori Medium ITE Programmes by Hineihaea Murphy, Sheridian McKinley and Nicola Bright. 

He Tirohanga Rangahau (PDF, 1.61MB)

A review of literature on the instructional and contextual factors likely to influence Te Reo Māori proficiency of graduates from Māori Medium ITE programmes by Dr M. Skerrett.


Latest news: the pilot

The draft Te Reo Māori Proficiency Framework is currently being piloted in three Māori medium initial teacher education institutions.

Developing the framework

In 2012, Hineihaea Murphy of Haemata Ltd developed the draft framework to guide the development and/or selection of te reo Māori exit assessments for student teachers graduating from Māori medium ITE programmes. The framework is intended to be used by Māori medium ITE providers to inform their assessments to ensure that prior to graduation, their student teachers meet the necessary te reo Māori proficiency requirements for teaching in Level 1 and/or Level 2 kura/school settings[1] and early childhood education immersion settings.

Te Rōpū Kaihautū/the Steering Group for Phase Three of this project has provided guidance to Hineihaea on the development and content of Te Reo Māori Proficiency Framework. He Reo Kaiako Ngaio / a Reference Group of te reo Māori experts including ITE providers has also informed and provided feedback to Te Rōpū Kaihautū and Haemata Ltd throughout the development of the draft framework.

The final version of Te Reo Māori Proficiency Framework will be implemented from 1 January 2015.

Continuing the development

Those ITE providers piloting the draft framework are receiving professional learning support from Hineihaea the developer to assist them in using the draft framework.

Frances Goulton has also been contracted to research the piloting phase so that her findings along with the understandings Hineihaea gains from the development work will inform any changes and refinements that need to  be made to the draft before the final version is created.



[1] Level 1 programmes are 81%-100% te reo Māori as the language of instruction.  Level 2 programmes are 51-80% te reo Māori as the language of instruction.