Riariakina ō Rongo Hirikapo

Funding year: 
2 years
University of Waikato
Cross sector
Project start date: 
January 2014
Project end date: 
January 2016
Principal investigator(s): 
Margie Hohepa
Research team members: 
Vanessa Paki and Sally Peters
Research partners: 
Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka and Tōku Māpihi Maurea Kura Kaupapa Māori. The researchers from the Kōhanga are Tere Gilbert (tumuaki), Tirau Anderson and Te Manu Pohatu (kaiako). The Kura researchers are Laura Hawksworth (tumuaki) and Dorie Olliver (kaiako)

Project Description

This is a collaborative cross-sector research project involving kōhanga-, kura- and university-based researchers. It focuses on tamariki moving from kōhanga reo to kura classrooms and will examine the development of an ‘akoranga whakawhiti’, transition programme that will be based at Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngā Kuaka in Hamilton.


The overarching research question for this project is:  Pehea rā te āhuatanga me te kounga o ngā whakawhitinga mai i te kōhanga ki te kura mō ngā tamariki, whānau, kaiako me te hāpori?—What do effective transitions from kōhanga to kura look like, feel like, and sound like, for tamariki, whānau, kaiako and the community? 

The project aims to provide important new insights into learning and teaching in Māori-medium settings and into ways of enhancing transitions from Māori-medium early childhood education to Māori medium classrooms. The project aims to do this by investigating four aspects of kōhanga to kura transition, which have been developed alongside the four principles of Te Whāriki:

• Whakamana: Opportunities tamariki are given to take responsibility for their own learning and assessment;
• Ngā hononga: The extent that the collaborative kaupapa integrates kura wāhanga ako to foster emerging understandings of tamariki;
• Whānau tangata: Roles that parents, wider whānau and kaiako have, as transitions for kōhanga tamariki are also in effect transitions for parents and whānau;
• Kotahitanga: Ways the akoranga whakawhiti supports learning and development by building on existing working theories and interests of tamariki.

Why is this research important?

There is relatively little research on the transition experiences of tamariki and their whānau in Māori medium education contexts.  Transition to kura is of major significance to both kōhanga and kura as they reflect whānau aspirations. The first kura kaupapa Māori sites developed out of kōhanga whānau desires for ongoing kaupapa Māori education for their tamariki through te reo Māori. Successful transitions to kura for tamariki in kōhanga reo settings are critical, as there is evidence that efforts to regenerate te reo Māori in kōhanga reo and in Māori medium early childhood settings may be being lost at the school gate.

What we plan to do

The project will survey other Waikato kura and kōhanga to find out about their transition programmes and to see what can be learnt from this for designing an akoranga whakawhiti. This will provide base-line understandings of the range of kura transition strategies in the region. Following this survey, the project will develop the characteristics of a unique akoranga whakawhiti—transitions programme. The curriculum in the programme will be planned from a blend of Te Whāriki, Te Marautanga o Aotearoa and Te Marautanga-ā-Kura. An ongoing action inquiry cycle will follow from the initial development of the programme. Kaiako researchers will collect information through classroom observations and learning portfolios, and through formal interviews and informal conversations with tamariki. Parents/whānau, and kaiako will also be interviewed about their experiences and views of transitions.

Analysis Plan
Qualitative and quantitative data will be analysed collaboratively. Kaiako will hold research hui up to twice a term to share and discuss information and data that they collect about teaching and learning in the transition programme.  Interviews will be analysed thematically to identify key factors that facilitate, or impede, effective transitions from kōhanga to kura.  Programme documents, classroom observations and research hui discussions will be analysed to identify ways in which wāhanga ako are integrated in planning, and compare these with ideas and theories that emerge out of research hui discussions, and with actual practices in the akoranga whakawhiti.