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Frequently asked questions

About the curriculum

Curriculum in the classroom

Questions for whānau and parents

Questions for students

Keeping informed

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About the curriculum

Where does the reo Māori curriculum guidelines fit into the NZ Curriculum?
The Reo Māori curriculum sits within the "Learning Languages" area of the curriculum.

Why is it not an essential learning area like English? In the old curriculum it was an essential learning area, why change it?
In the Curriculum Stocktake project, it was clear that schools wanted a simpler system. It was decided to combine all languages, except for English, into the same area. Te Marautanga o Aotearoa covers all curriculum areas in te reo Māori.

Is it compulsory to offer reo Māori?
No, however, since it is an official language of New Zealand and an intrinsic part of the country’s heritage, we would hope that all schools choose to provide some Māori language learning to their children. The reo Māori curriculum guidelines provides, for the first time, some guidelines to schools for the teaching and learning of te reo Māori.

Isn't there already a Māori language curriculum?
Yes. The Ministry of Education's Te Marautanga o Aotearoa sets levels and outcomes for schools where children learn almost entirely in the Māori language, that is, immersion units, kura kaupapa Māori and wharekura.

The reo Māori curriculum guidelines targets the needs of students and teachers in primary and secondary schools where English is the main language of instruction. Even though Māori has been taught as a subject for years in some New Zealand schools, there has never been a curriculum to guide the teaching.

Why develop a curriculum?
For several reasons, and here are some.

For many years, teachers and the Māori community have been calling for the development of a curriculum for the teaching and learning of Māori in schools.

More than 85 percent of all Māori students are in schools where the main language of instruction is English.

In 2003 a stock-take of the New Zealand Curriculum recommended that, by 2008, schools will be required to offer a second language to their year 7–10 students.

Another reason is that Māori has been an official language of New Zealand since 1989. Te Reo is increasingly one of the ways that New Zealanders use to celebrate "being a Kiwi", for example, performing the haka.

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When did work begin on the curriculum?
Work on the curriculum began in 2003. The first draft was trialled in five regions. After feedback was analysed, the second version was drafted and distributed for further consultation. The draft was then distributed nationwide so that teachers could incorporate it in their teaching in 2007. Feedback was called for by mid 2007 with the final version published in March 2009.

  • For more information refer to the section on background.

Who was involved in developing this curriculum and its strategy?
The curriculum writers and the curriculum advisory group comprised:

  • second language learning/teaching experts
  • native speakers of te reo
  • English-medium teachers
  • professional development advisers
  • a materials design expert.

The work has been overseen by a sector reference group, which is made up of academics, teachers, union representatives, Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, Te Puni Kōkiri, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Education Review Office and private contractors. The group meets twice a year to advise on the direction and implementation of the Ministry of Education's reo Māori strategy.

Where has the money come from for this curriculum? Have they taken money from kura and wharekura?
No money was taken from kura or wharekura. In October 2003, recognising that there was a need to improve the teaching of Māori language in schools, a budget bid was approved that supported the growth and development of te reo and tikanga Māori in primary and secondary schools.

Funding was made available for:

  • the development of a framework (with clear learning outcomes for eight levels of achievement) for the teaching and learning of te reo Māori in schools
  • the building of English-medium teacher capability in te reo Māori.

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In the classroom

Can all schools use the curriculum? How do I use the curriculum?
The curriculum is written for primary and secondary schools where English is the main language of instruction. It is expected that primary schools will use the first two levels of the curriculum, while secondary schools will find the rest of the curriculum more appropriate for their students.

I am a teacher but I do not speak Māori. Can I still use the curriculum?
Yes. It is designed for use in an English language environment and can be used by teachers with different Māori language abilities. The curriculum may be used by a teacher with no reo experience, for example in a multi-cultural class in a central city school. It may also be used by a native speaker of Māori teaching in a rural or area school.

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Can teachers use both Māori language curricula?
There is sufficient flexibility for teachers to use one or both.

Who's assuring the quality of reo being promoted by the curriculum?
The Ministry of Education has worked very hard to find the best people to do the job and also to consult with the right people in all areas of the Ministry's reo Māori in schools strategy. The curriculum has been developed by writers, trialled in schools and critiqued by a curriculum advisory group and others.

As well as the Year 7–8 multimedia package, there are online materials to support the eight levels of the curriculum. These materials have been developed to help teachers with their planning, teaching and assessing. Teachers will be able to manipulate the online material so that it can be tailored to their students' needs.

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For whānau and parents

What difference will this reo Māori Curriculum make for my child learning Māori at school?
The reo Māori curriculum is a new tool that will help teachers plan their reo Māori lessons, for use from primary school up to secondary level. While Māori is one of New Zealand’s official languages and it has been taught in schools for many years, there have never been any curriculum guidelines for the subject. Teachers are also able to tailor the resources to suit the needs of their students.

Is Māori language compulsory now? Does my school have to provide Māori language lessons to my child?
No. Te reo Māori is not compulsory. Many primary schools try to incorporate Māori language into their learning. Some secondary schools let their students do Māori by correspondence, if it is not a subject they can offer within the school.

We are not Māori but we would like our children to have some knowledge of the Māori language, what should we do?
Talk to the school and let them know. They may already have a Māori language programme incorporated into their school curriculum. Otherwise you could encourage them to set one up. There are lots of basic Māori and bilingual resources, for example posters, books, tapes/CDs and other resources for you to have at home.

Our tamariki are Māori and we want them to be able to learn te reo Māori at school, what can we do to make sure they get it?
Again talk to the school about their existing Māori language programme. A good place to start would be to ask if they know about the reo Māori Curriculum and when they plan to implement it.

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For students

What difference will this make for me in Māori class?
The reo Māori curriculum will help teachers plan their programme so that students can move from one planned level to the next. Surprisingly, this has never been available before.

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Keeping informed

Where can I look at the curriculum?
It is available from the Te Reo Māori in English-medium Schools page from the Te Kete Ipurangi website. A print copy has been distributed to all English-medium schools.

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