Whare Wānanga – Bilingual Unit

Tēnā koutou e kaha nei ki te poipoi i te reo Māori i roto i tēnei akomanga
Me mihi atu ki ngā whānau nā koutou te mahi nui ki te ārahi i ā tātou tamariki e ruku nei i te mātauranga.
He taonga te reo, he taonga anō ngā tikanga. He taonga ngā tamariki.
Nō reira, e ngā whānau, kia kaha koutou ki te hāpai ake i te reo Māori hei tikitiki mō ngā māhunga o ngā tamariki mokopuna. Ki ngā ākonga, whāia, naomia te taonga nei, e pakari ai, e pārekareka ai tā koutou takahi haere i ngā huarahi o ō koutou nā ao, otirā, o te ao nui tonu.
Kia hora te marino
Kia whakapapa pounamu te moana
Kia tere te kārohirohi i mua i tō huarahi.
Nāku noa
Matua Takurua rāua ko Whaea C

Bilingual philosophy

In today’s diverse world, our school acknowledges the need to engage bilingual learners within clear educational parameters. Students who learn Te Marautanga o Aotearoa within Te Whare Wānanga will be provided with a foundation of cross-cultural understanding and knowledge to:

  • respect, develop, and preserve Te Reo Måori within their learning environment; and
  • further develop their identity and character as productive citizens.

This class adds context to their place as students within Westland High School, and helps them gain awareness of national and international human dynamics.

Levels of immersion

The bilingual class at Westland High School offers Te Reo Māori at an immersion levels 1-2.

According to students’ background, knowledge, and speaking experience, an appropriate starting level is a 50/50 model. This model uses 50% Te Reo Māori and 50% in the English language for the first trimester and then progresses to a 70/30 allocation of languages respectively and then 90/10.

The aim is to strengthen cultural identity among students and develop bilingualism, and increase the number of native and/or heritage speakers in relation to their proficiency and goals. The language of instruction would increase to a 90/10 model.

Infusing Te Reo Māori.

Toi te kupu, toi te mana, toi te whenua.
Guard the permanence of language, mana and land

The present focus is developing: speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills in Māori. We move to building vocabulary, learning basic rules and terminology of Māori grammar. A basic understanding of Māori culture helps students communicate in an accurate, effective, and informed manner in a variety of sociocultural situations. Students work with enrichment language – education models to develop understanding and working knowledge for proficiency in te reo Māori. One route to proficiency is through the use of authentic Māori literature. That is literature focused on Māori custom, celebrations, values, and traditions from authors like: Kāterina Mataira, Hone Taare Tikao, Hone Tuwhare, Witi Ihimaera, Alan Duff, and Sidney Moko Mead, who help focus on Māori children and their lives. By using Māori literature in the classroom, students learn their culture has relevance in personal academic learning, and is appreciated, and also learn about other aspects of Māori culture that may not be familiar.


Mā te tuakana ka totika te teina; Mā te teina ka totika te tuakana
By the elder’s actions the younger will find the right path. The reverse is also true. The younger
keeps the elder on the straight path, because of the responsibility the older one bears

To infuse Māori culture in the classroom, is to engage community. Parents, whānau members, and members of the Māori community, will be invited, to come and share stories, experiences and customs with students. By working in groups and being kapa haka members, students learn from each other about the content objectives and being accepting of all people.


Mā tāu rourou, mā taku rourou, ka ora ai te iwi
With your contribution and my contribution, the people will thrive

As kaiako Māori, we want to inspire students to be the best they can be, to reach their highest potential and strive to great things. Together – students, whānau, staff and the community – will strive to ensure the whare is: a safe haven, a positive and supportive environment, conducive to learning achievements. Students will participate fully in the learning process, they are encouraged to ask and answer questions, attempt new approaches, make mistakes, and ask for assistance. There are no wrong answers as participation is a strong part of students learning process.


Whaia te pae tawhiti kia tata; Ko te pae tata, whakamaua kia tina
Pursue your goals to the furthest horizon; use new skills to achieve further goals

Regular get-togethers over whānau kai followed by hui mātua and or noho marae are planned. These informal hui will strengthen relationships, discuss whānau goals/aspirations for students, and develop a collaborative support system.


Tamati ākonga i te kainga, tau ai i te marae
A child educated to be strong in their own identity stands as a chief of the land

Students identify and are proud of their tribal affiliations To instill teamwork, personal development, and leadership skills, students will have opportunities to study diverse tribal and hapu perspectives. To innovate, students will find inspiration in their own cultural figures that share a goal of improving lives. We intend to involve whānau in discussions to identify gifted and talented Māori children. Then to activate school programmes to support them.


He kāpura iti i te ngāhere, mura katoa te pae rae
A small flickering flame in the forest burns to the furthest horizon

Discussions on barriers to student learning are explored and clarified in classroom meetings. These meetings will be a regular part of class. Students sit in a circle with the kaiako and discuss matters concerning the class. Discussions in classroom meetings focus on two things: (i) identifying problems, and (ii) seeking solutions to problems.
Students are encouraged to write/talk to tuakana or kaiako about individual concerns affecting learning and to include possible solutions, which together we can explore.


E kore te kakano e ngaro, i ruia mai i Rangiatea
A seed born of greatness will never be lost

Students are seated in groups of 2-3 per table. The students and teacher are easily visible and accessible to one other. Each group elects a kaea (leader) and learning groups offer the following advantages:

Sense of belonging for all students.
Motivation for students to work on behalf of the group.
Stronger students meet their needs for power and friendships by helping at risk students in the group.
At risk students have needs met by contributing to the group.

Students are freed from over-dependence on the teacher by helping each other.

Kotahitanga – Roles and Responsibilities

It is important to provide students with a clear definition and understanding of their role, function, and responsibilities in the classroom. This will provide a good understanding of the job and tasks they are to perform as individuals and within group settings. The focus is for students to feel they belong, have power, have a sense of freedom, and have fun. Lists will be regularly evaluated. Lists are a tool to define inter-relationships between kaea (class leaders), class members and kaiako.

Kapa haka

All students of Te Whare Wānanga are expected to participate fully in Westland High School’s Kapa haka group.

Classroom Description

The class is made up of students with varying capabilities. It is an exciting job to accommodate each and every one of these students. They are all approximately around the same age.

Ko tōku reo, Ko tōku te tuakiri tangata.Tihei uriuri, tīhei nakonako
Your voice, My voice. It is an expression of identity. Behold, the message and messenger
-Tuteira Pohatu


A number of factors were considered when planning homework, as some students have whānau/sport commitments (i.e. looking after younger siblings or helping grandparents) no internet access at home, have to travel by bus to school and/or have no access to the town library. Dependent on individual circumstances, students negotiate their homework and make a commitment to live up to it.

Interventions for struggling readers and writers

Te Whare Wananga offers five interventions to assist ākonga who are struggling with literacy, reading or writing. These are to:
Increase students’ opportunities for structured and independent writing.
Target reading and writing groups to individual and group needs.
Conduct reading and writing surveys as indicators of students’ self-perception of their reading/writing ability
Teach strategies and provide opportunities to inspire students to read and write for fun, for a purpose and to foster positive attitudes.
Provide authentic texts and choices of reading material.