Aumiri Pounamu: Developing Māori language, pedagogy and cultural knowledge

06 December 2019

Teachers and educators have an innovative opportunity to develop their knowledge of te reo Māori, tikanga Māori, Māori pedagogies and culturally responsive practice through a pilot suite of new courses.

  • Pounamu and fern

Developed by the UC School of Teacher Education in collaboration with Mātauraka Mahaanui, the Aumiri Pounamu courses will be available from Term One, 2020. Mātauraka Mahaanui support the development of cultural narratives for educational spaces and assist in embedding Ngāi Tahutanga and mātauranga Māori (Māori world view) into school curriculums. Mandated by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, Mātauraka Mahaanui innovate the inclusion of Māori and Ngāi Tahu content in the spaces, curricula, hearts and minds of education providers in Greater Christchurch and assist in raising their bilingual capacity and the achievement of Māori learners.

These courses will be delivered bilingually and are a good staircase into later postgraduate study in the Hōaka Pounamu programme. The name Aumiri Pounamu (polished greenstone) locates the courses geographically within Te Waipounamu. It likens the ongoing effort of kaiako in supporting and guiding learners, to the polishing of Pounamu. Through perseverance and care over time, the radiant light and sparkle of the Pounamu can be seen. 

"We want to actively support teachers in strengthening confidence and competence in te reo Māori me ōna tikanga, and the courses are informed by kaupapa Māori pedagogical knowledge," says programme coordinator Kay-Lee Jones.

Mātauraka Mahaanui’s guiding whakataukī is: ‘Ekea te Pae Kahukura – Ascend to the heights of excellence’. Mātauraka Mahaanui provide advice and guidance to build the education sector’s focus on; accelerating Māori language provision and enhancing Māori learner outcomes across Waitaha.

"Hīkaka mātou e pā ana ki te hononga ki Mātauraka Mahaanui me te ara mātauranga hou, we are very excited about the new bilingual pathway for kaiako in collaboration with Mātauraka Mahaanui," says Kay-Lee.

"The reviews on the impact of their mahi including Ka Poupou Reo o Tahu and Ka Tau Te Waiora have been excellent. We are very excited that the University of Canterbury is going to work in partnership with Mātauraka Mahaanui to deliver a condensed version of Ka Poupou Reo o Tahu in a course called Te Pātaka Reo o Tahu."

The Aumiri Pounamu courses provide professional development opportunities for qualified early childhood, primary or secondary kaiako, as well as tertiary educators who hold an adult teaching qualification. They will study the courses part-time (over two years) during term time.

"The enrolment numbers in the courses will be kept low so that we can work as a whānau and succeed as a whānau. This will be a safe space to gain a better grounding in te ao Māori and mana whenua knowledge whilst also being supported as a fellow-teacher, colleague and whānau, he waka eke noa – we are all in the waka together," says Kay-Lee.

The courses offer flexible delivery options to suit working teachers and involve noho marae experiences, day wānanga and night classes. Seven courses will be offered within this pilot, including three 15-point courses and one 30-point course in year one with a further three 15-point courses in the second year.

"These courses are valuable for professional development and will assist teachers who may want to move from English medium education to Māori medium education, or leaders in the space of Māori language and cultural development within their centres, schools, learning spaces," says Kay-Lee.

In the future, these courses are planned to be developed into a graduate diploma qualification. For now, the courses are offered through a Certificate of Proficiency qualification.

An entry assessment to ascertain the level of te reo Māori fluency will occur, however this is not to put anyone off or rule any potential kaiako out, it is just to gauge reo capacity (this can be discussed with the programme coordinator). The first course Whakapiki i te reo aims to strengthen te reo Māori capability, making it an ideal starter for interested teachers.

To find out more about the courses email:

Kay-Lee Jones
Programme Coordinator

and visit the Aumiri Pounamu webpage