Ministers welcome commitment to te reo in English-medium schools

  • Hon Kelvin Davis
  • Hon Jenny Salesa

Associate Education Ministers Kelvin Davis and Jenny Salesa have welcomed schools’ commitment to tikanga Māori and te reo Māori. 

 A New Zealand Council for Educational Research report Ākonga Māori in English-medium primary and intermediate schools, released today, shows a majority of principals recognise the importance of te reo Māori and tikanga Māori for all students.

Nearly half of principals surveyed said te reo Māori and tikanga Māori were embedded in their school in a way that supported Māori students’ wellbeing, almost all principals agreed their school valued te reo Māori and most principals felt they actively promoted te reo Māori in their school and local community.

“The majority of principals see te reo Māori and tikanga Māori as having value for all students and although not all schools are implementing it at a level higher than basic greetings at the moment, more and more are,” Mr Davis says.

This upward trend from 2013 is putting more pressure on principals in English-medium to recruit teachers fluent in te reo Māori.

“We know Māori students do much better when education reflects and values their identity, language and culture, whether this is in Māori or English medium schools. That’s why getting high-quality te reo Māori teachers into these kura is a priority for this Government,” Mr Davis says. 

“Several initiatives in the Government’s $9.5 million teacher supply package, including the extension of the Voluntary Bonding Scheme, the expanded Teach First NZ programme and funding the Teacher Education Refresh programme, will support more te reo Māori teachers into our schools and more Māori medium teachers into our wharekura.

“There is only a first step. Increasing recruitment and retention of te reo and Māori medium teachers over the longer term is part of my work programme in Māori education.” 

Associate Minister Jenny Salesa congratulated schools and principals for their stronger focus. 

“More English-medium schools are incorporating tikanga Māori and te reo Māori than ever before, and this better supports Māori students.”  

“Ensuring teachers are skilled in te reo Māori is a priority. The Government is committed to a future where New Zealanders from every background have been given the opportunity to learn to use te reo Māori in everyday conversations. Building the number of teachers who can support our young people to do so is an important first step.

“By encouraging use of the Māori language, iwi, whānau, Te Mātāwai and the community can all contribute to an inclusive and successful Aotearoa, that welcomes diversity.”

The NZCER report is available at: