Raising Māori students' achievement in Te Taitokerau

Publication Details

This publication is a summary of the Evaluation of Te Putahitanga Matauranga. Te Putahitanga Matauranga (TPM) is an education improvement and development project aimed at raising Māori students' achievement in Te Taitokerau (the Far North). TPM encompasses 78 schools in the Far North from Cape Reinga to Towai.

Author(s): Margie Hohepa, Kuni Jenkins with Jo Mane, Dale Sherman-Godinet and Sharon Toi, The International Research Institute for Māori and Indigenous Education, University of Auckland. Report prepared for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: February 2004


What is Te Pūtahitanga Mātauranga?

Te Putahitanga Matauranga (TPM) is a partnership between Te Reo o Te Taitokerau (TRoTT), representing Iwi, and the Ministry of Education (the Ministry), representing the Crown. TPM was formally launched on 10 June 1999 at Tauwhara Marae in Waimate North.

This partnership emerged out of serious concerns about the quality of education in the Far North of Aotearoa New Zealand. TPM encompasses 78 schools in the Far North Local Territorial Authority area, from Cape Reinga to Towai. TPM has grouped these 78 schools into 10 takiwa based on Te Taitokerau Iwi and hapu boundaries, and one other group based on Kura Kaupapa Māori schools.

Prior to TPM, various reviews and reports had identified serious issues with the quality of education being provided in many Far North schools, particularly for Māori students. When the Ministry was investigating how to intervene in the education problems facing areas of the north, its schooling improvement projects had moved strongly in a co-operative direction. A partnership approach had evolved where schools, communities and the Ministry worked together to assist schools. Schools facing similar challenges were being clustered together to address governance, management, curriculum delivery in their respective schools and their relationships between schools and communities. The Ministry had also become involved in establishing education partnerships with Iwi groups in other parts of the country.

Meanwhile, in Te Taitokerau, the major focus of Te Runanga o te reo o Te Taitokerau - a Secondary Schools Kaiako Māori collective - was to maintain and regenerate te reo Māori me ona tikanga. Other work underway centred on the development of a Taitokerau Māori Education Authority. There were also concerns about the very visible underachievement of Māori students in the rohe.

The decision to address schooling problems and educational underachievement in the north through an Iwi-Crown partnership rose out of these conditions. The first step the Runanga took as a partner was to form itself into a new charitable trust, Te Reo o Te Taitokerau (TRoTT), in August 1999. It brought te reo Māori teaching professionals together with representatives from hapu and Iwi, but had little in the way of resources and established structures and systems. It was faced with the challenge of developing its capacity and capabilities as it began its role as a working partner alongside the Ministry.


  1. The interpretation given to this name is `Excellence in Education through Unity'. The name is derived from an important maunga of Te Taitokerau, Te Puputahitanga (known today as Putahi), meaning the place where many people would gather, build houses, grow food, and harvest fish from Omapere, the lake near the centre of Te Taitokerau. It is also a place where, in the past, Māori leaders met to discuss and make decisions for the benefit of their people.
  2. In Te Taitokerau, takiwa refers to traditional geographical areas, districts or boundaries.
  3. Te Taitokerau stretches from Cape Reinga to Tamaki in Auckland. The fact that TPM effectively cuts out part of Te Taitokerau has emerged as an area of debate during this study. TRoTT has put energy into developing relationships with Tai Tokerau Iwi organisations outside the TPM area.
  4. Education Review Office (1998) Schooling in the Far North. Wellington: Education Review Office
    Education Review Office (1999) Good practice in the Far North. Wellington: Education Review Office
    Children, Young persons and their Families Agency (1998) Strengthening Families - Northland Initiative
  5. For example, the Strengthening Education in Mangere and Otara (SEMO) schooling improvement project.

Where to find out more

Contact Us

Information Queries
For all queries related to the reporting publication and use of data please email:
Information Mailbox