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Ministry of Education.

Contact PB4L

If your query relates to PB4L training opportunities in your region, please email your local Ministry office. You can find contact details here.

For all other queries, further information and guidance on PB4L initiatives, you can contact us at PB4L@education.govt.nz.

Kaupapa Māori: Huakina Mai

Māori students are an important focus of the PB4L suite

Māori enjoying education success as Māori means having an education system that provides all Māori students with the opportunity to realise their own unique potential and succeed in their lives as Māori.

In addition to culturally enhancing existing programmes, Positive Behaviour for Learning will contribute to the New Zealand evidence base through supporting and evaluating programmes developed by Māori.

The Ministry has developed cultural enhancement frameworks to be responsive to a range of Māori-specific issues. The frameworks acknowledge and are responsive to the three principles inherent in the Treaty of Waitangi: partnerships, protection & participation.

Huakina Mai – combines whole-school and restorative practices approaches with a Kaupapa Māori world view.


What is Huakina Mai?

Meaning "opening doors", Huakina Mai is a kaupapa Māori behaviour initiative that promotes whānau, schools and iwi working together to build a positive school-wide culture, based on a Kaupapa Māori world view. This initiative is supported by a growing body of practice-based evidence that school and student/whānau success are improved by strong genuine relationships, teachers' knowledge of and caring for, their students.

It was developed by the University of Canterbury in partnership with the Ministry and Te Tapuae o Rehua, on behalf of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, and trialled with the support of Māori educational community, Iwi Māori, academia researchers and practitioners, whānau and exemplar schools. It is about getting it right for Māori, particularly those experiencing learning and behavioural challenges in schools.

Huakina Mai helps whānau, schools and iwi to work together to build a positive school-wide culture that celebrates, affirms and advocates for the attainment of Māori aspirational outcomes for all students and their whānau. It is multifaceted and incorporates community immersion; developing systems within the wider school whānau; a teacher pedagogical framework; social skill learning; and restorative practices for students and staff.

Huakina Mai is a model that is able to be adapted for individual school communities. In order for schools, whānau, and communities to implement interventions, they need to contextualise and personalise aspects of the programme to suit their own local unique needs and strengths.

The programme has been trialled in selected Christchurch primary schools in partnership with the University of Canterbury, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu and Te Tapuae o Rehua. The trial ran  during 2013–2018, over three tranches in eight schools, including testing the model for possible expansion.

What is involved?

The aim of Huakina Mai is to enhance learning outcomes and experiences for Māori students and their whānau by supporting schools, students, whānau and iwi to build a whole school approach to enhancing positive behaviour based on strong relationships, authentic engagement, power sharing, culturally responsive behaviour management systems, processes, practices and pedagogy (ways of teaching and learning).

Huakina Mai aims to provide a flexible and culturally responsive implementation model which reflects and fits local context, iwi education plans and the aspirations of mana whenua (local Māori).

Videos and transcripts

Introduction to Huakina Mai


Download the transcript for this video:

Transcript - Introduction to Huakina Mai (PDF, 42 KB)

Mahi tahi - Implementing Huakina Mai


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Transcript - Mahi tahi - Implementing Huakina Mai (PDF, 38 KB)

Whanaungatanga - 'Next level relationships’


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Transcript - Whanaungatanga - 'Next level relationships’ (PDF, 43 KB)

Ako – Learning together at Mairehau Primary


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Transcript - Ako – Learning together at Mairehau Primary (PDF, 43 KB)

Te Ira Tangata - 'Māori succeeding as Māori’


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Transcript - Te Ira Tangata - Maori succeeding as Maori (PDF, 39 KB)

Kotahitanga – Working as one at Tuahiwi School


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Transcript - Kotahitanga – Working as one at Tuahiwi School (PDF, 37 KB)

Mana ōrite - Relational and restorative responses


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Transcript - Mana orite - Relational and restorative responses (PDF, 44 KB)

Links to recommended resources

Schools implementing Huakina Mai will find the following resources particularly helpful.

Education for Māori: Relationships between Schools and Whānau
A report from the office of the Auditor-General on a five-year programme investigating how well the education system supports Māori students to achieve their full potential.

Inclusive Education Guides
A series of guides detailing strategies and resources to help educators recognise, plan for, and meet the needs of the diverse learners in their school community. The guides on developing an inclusive classroom culture, on behaviour and learning, on supporting Māori students, and on partnering with parents, whānau, and communities, are particularly relevant for Huakina Mai.

Ka Hikitia
A cross-agency strategy for the education sector, in which Māori enjoy and achieve education success as Māori as they develop the skills to participate in te ao Māori, Aotearoa, and the wider world.

Kauwhata Reo
A new tool based on a Māori world view and developed by mātanga Māori (Māori experts). The tool enables kaiako and ākonga to access te reo Māori resources on one central platform.

Partners in Learning: Good Practice
A report presenting case studies of eight schools that were highly successful in engaging with their parents, whānau, and the wider community. The report also discusses key factors that contributed to the success of this engagement.

Restorative Practice Kete
Book 1 of this kete provides an overview of New Zealand education’s approach to restorative practice, Book 2 unpacks the restorative essentials, and Book 3 explores a range of restorative circles. Books
 2 and 3 also provide a series of modules for schools to use to build their understanding and practice within restorative practice.

Ruia School-Whānau Partnerships
The Ruia School–Whānau partnerships site supports principals and school leaders to improve outcomes for their Māori students by working in educationally powerful ways with Māori. The site includes an interactive self-review tool for evaluating partnerships and identifying ways to improve them.

Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners
A key document for teachers, school leaders, and boards of trustees, helping them to evaluate and build their practice in relation to supporting the learning and wellbeing of their Māori learners.
Te Mana Tikitiki
Te Mana Tikitiki uses tikanga and te reo Māori to build resilience, self-esteem, and confidence to uplift the mana of young Māori learners and improve their learning and achievement. It is a home-grown, evidence-based behaviour intervention programme implemented in partnership with mana whenua. At the time of this guide’s publication, the Te Mana Tikitiki kete was still in development.

Teaching for Positive Behaviour
A practical resource by Tracy Rohan that supports teachers in all New Zealand primary and secondary schools to embed culturally sustaining practices and to understand and draw on effective strategies to enhance students’ behaviour, engagement, participation, and learning.

The Hikairo Schema for Primary: Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning
A self-paced guide that allows teachers, whānau, and students to collaboratively co-construct goals and outcomes relevant to their learning contexts. The Hikairo Schema: Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education Settings is a companion guide.

Wellbeing at School
An NZCER website that provides schools with self-review tools for building a safe and caring climate that supports inclusion and deters bullying.

Huakina Mai articles and research

Huakina Mai – a whole-school approach to wellbeing and belonging (Education Gazette, 3 September 2020)
Teachers and the principal at Mairehau School in Canterbury share their experiences of using the Huakina Mia approach to teaching and learning.

You can find out how to create as sense of belonging, what it takes to become Huakina Mai school, and explore resources.

You can also print a copy of the article or save it as a PDF.

Huakina Mai: A whole school strength based behavioural intervention for Maori (University of Canterbury 2012)
Authors Catherine Savage, Angus Macfarlane, Sonja Macfarlane, Letitia Fickel, and Hēmi Te Hēmi set out to study existing knowledge and practice within the sector, to understand and act upon the research findings, and to give reasoned attention to converting the knowledge into practice.

Visit the University of Canterbury's website to download a PDF of the full research article that was supported by University of Canterbury School of Teacher Education.

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