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Te Kauhua

Te Kauhua is a project that supports school-based action research projects1. These projects help schools and whānau to work together in ways that improve outcomes for Māori learners.

Te Kauhua means the supports on a waka. In this instance, it was used as a metaphor for participants supporting each other on the same journey.

Schools’ projects are based on data they collect about their Māori learners. Projects may be curriculum-specific and/or of another nature that impacts on effective teaching. Schools support these projects by establishing an inclusive learning community, strong participatory leadership, and strong links to whānau.

Te Kauhua history

Over the past seven years, more than 30 schools and 350 teachers, principals, and communities have participated in Te Kauhua. Phase 1: The pilot phase was commissioned by the Ministry of Education in January 2001 and concluded in December 2003. Phase 2 began in 2004 and was facilitated, managed, and evaluated in schools, for and by teachers, using action research models. Each school appointed a project facilitator/s for the 2-year project duration. Phase 3 began in 2006, and in 2008 an evaluation of the project was commissioned by the Ministry. This evaluation will inform the Ministry about the current programme and possible next steps. For 2009, a contestable research fund was launched for action research extension projects. Six proposals were successful, involving eight Te Kauhua schools in extension projects over the 2009 school year.

What can we learn from Te Kauhua?

The schools involved in Te Kauhua have explored many different projects as a focus for their action research. For example Taihape Area School (TAS) has provided a case study for the NZConline website demonstrating how their school leaders, teachers, students, and parents/whānau/iwi have worked in partnership to undertake an extensive programme of change from 2006 to the present.

For more ideas you may wish to explore read the range of case studies produced by the different schools.

Te Mana Kōrero professional development programmes are also a good place to start exploring your school’s relationships with whānau. The clips from Te Mana Kōrero, along with key questions and reflections, are available here.


  1. Action research is a reflective process of progressive problem solving led by individuals working with others in teams or as part of a ‘community of practice’ to improve the way they address issues and solve problems.

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