Māori experts have met in Wellington to help realise the potential for two Māori education initiatives which, one Rotorua principal says, will be a really great help.

Associate education minister Kelvin Davis hosted a group of 12 Māori language experts in Wellington yesterday, to work on two education initiatives flagged in this year's Budget.

The group will help the government develop the parameters for Te Ahu o te reo Māori and Te Kawa Matakura.

"There's huge potential for this if we get it right," Davis said.


"The demand is there. The teaching workforce has a number of teachers who have good capability in te reo and are looking for ways to improve their confidence to use it every day in their classrooms."

The think tank was a one-off and Davis said the level of expertise available for the workshop was impressive.

"We mustn't be afraid to ask for help, particularly when there's an unparalleled wealth of knowledge available at our doorstep."

Rotokawa School Principal Briar Stewart said she thought the resources would really support teachers who were growing in te reo competency.

"It is something schools struggle with.

"For us, it's about heightening children's awareness and understanding of te reo beyond just greetings or basic classroom instructions."

Stewart said having additional access to tools, like Te Ahu o Te Reo Māori, would broaden both children and teacher's vocabulary.

"With this being very well planned and researched we're going to get access to a really good quality resource."


She said, in her opinion, learning a language was "so powerful".

"The importance of language is huge and particularly when we're talking about indigenous languages, they're so important.

"It's about growing beyond the casual way we use it now and growing it out even further."

Stewart said there had been criticism that the Māori language wasn't used overseas and so was less worthwhile to learn than other languages.

"When you travel around Europe every border you cross there is a different language, whether that's Finnish or French or German.

"There it isn't unusual for children to be bilingual or even trilingual."

Te Ahu o Te Reo Māori
• A package of initiatives to support teachers to use te reo Māori in the classroom.
• It will target teachers who are already teaching te reo, and those who have the potential but not the confidence.
• Teachers will have access to tailored courses, peer networks and resources to increase their capability, proficiency and confidence to deliver te reo Māori in the classroom.

Te Kawa Matakura
• Will target two groups of rangatahi; those in their final years at wharekura and secondary school, as well as 16 to 25 year olds that no longer attend formal education but display a high level of Māori language proficiency and strong leadership skills.
• Te Kawa Matakura will provide a platform for children to learn and grow in an environment steeped in tribal bodies of knowledge alongside Māori expertise, wisdom and guidance.
• The key learning areas will include mōteatea, hītori Māori, karanga, whaikōrero and karakia.