Māku anō e hanga tōku whare: I will build my own house

Project Leaders:  Ngārewa Hāwera and Leeana Herewini

Project Dates: March 2018- March 2020

Why was the research undertaken?

This research was undertaken to explore pāngarau (mathematics) teaching and learning in a Māori Medium (MM) Modern Learning Environment (MLE).

What were the main goals of the research?

The research questions negotiated for this project are as follows:

  • What are kaiako views of teaching and learning pāngarau for Years 4–6 in this MLE?
  • What are ākonga views about the challenges and advantages of learning of pāngarau in this MLE?
  • How can kaiako leverage the affordances of this MLE to strengthen the engagement, and achievement by ākonga in pāngarau?

What was/were the main methodology/ies used to capture data?

Action research was embedded in the project under the umbrella of Kaupapa Māori as part of the circular process followed by kaiako as they sought to inquire into their practice in order to support and improve learning in pāngarau for tamariki in their MLE/PMK.

Data collection methods
  • Online surveys were used to give all ākonga in the MLE/PMK a voice and to generate quantitative data. Survey questions focused on exploring ākonga attitudes to learning and teaching pāngarau in a large room with 99 other learners and 6 kaiako..
  • Classroom observations by researchers were conducted in both years of the study in order for them to better understand the nature of teaching and learning pāngarau in this MLE/PMK.
  • Hui were initiated with kaiako and ākonga to explore pertinent ideas.
  • A focus group methodology was selected as the most appropriate mechanism for generating some qualitative data.. Focus group kōrero with ākonga were undertaken separately to those with kaiako and questions for semi-structured kōrero and other hui with kaiako were designed to explore their thinking about past, current, and future teaching practices, as well as goals for ākonga learning and engagement.

What do you consider to be the key findings from the research

One finding from the research project is the naming of a MLE as a Puna Mātauranga Kiritoa (PMK).  The name PMK locates and conceptualises a MLE in one Māori Medium (MM) setting as a place or Puna (source of learning) where Matauranga (education) is important, and the notion of Kiritoa, requiring participants to be strong and resilient is promoted.

Our findings identify three key areas for consideration when designing, establishing, and developing a PMK. Collaboration, fostering productive learning pathways and the use of technology are significant components that warrant attention when strengthening the teaching of pāngarau in a PMK.

  • Mahi ngātahi or collaboration is an essential element that highlights the way in which ākonga and kaiako can work effectively in a PMK.
  • Teacher pedagogy is an important factor affecting children’s engagement and learning in pāngarau in a PMK.
  • Hangarau Matihiko, which is promoted as a key feature of a PMK, requires further development in a MM context.

What groups and/or organisations would be most interested in your research results?

  • Māori Medium Settings,
  • Schools that wish to become an MLE or ILE

Implications for practice

Work together with colleagues while promoting collaboration amongst ākonga.

Consider and manage noise levels for positive student interactions that are essential for learning pāngarau.

Explore the use of investigative tasks to enhance student engagement and self-management skills while strengthening learning in pāngarau.

Promote student choice and hangarau matihiko as key factors for encouraging student engagement, self-management and learning.

Review and incorporate strategies for teaching mixed ability groups.



Kura ā-Iwi: Research presentation at Kura-ā-Iwi National Conference in Rotorua. Māku anō e hanga. 1 August 2019

Faculty of Education Research Colloquium.  Maku anō e hanga: Kaiako views. 27th September 2019

New Zealand Association Mathematics Teachers: NZAMT16-16th NZAMT Biennial Conference: Research presentation: Keynote Address. Embracing Ako. Māku anō e hanga—Kaiako views. 2 October 2019.

Research presentation to Māori medium teachers and facilitators. Invited by the University of Auckland. Māku anō e hanga. 9 December, 2019.


Hāwera, N., & Herewini, L. (in press). Student voice: Learning mathematics in a modern learning environment. Mai. A NZ Journal of indigenous scholarship.

Hāwera, N., & Herewini, L. (2020). Teacher inquiry in a Maaori medium modern learning environment. SET: Research Information for Teachers. NZCER.

In progress:  

Pedagogy and partnerships in innovative learning environments: Case studies from New Zealand contexts. Co-editors: Noeline Wright & Elaine Khoo, The University of Waikato.Te Puna Mātauranga Kiritoa: Pedagogical dispositions of teachers navigating the spaces of a kura kaupapa Māori ILE Authors: Leeana Herewini, Ngārewa Hāwera and Bronwen Cowie, The University of Waikato.

Media outputs

Radio Wātea interview–available online.