Ka Hikitia — Managing for Success 2008-2012: Strategy approach

Ka Hikitia - Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008 - 2012 takes an evidence-based, outcomes-focused, Māori Potential Approach.

The strategy has been designed to concentrate on what the evidence shows will achieve a transformational shift in the performance of the education system for and with Māori. This is why the strategy takes a 'narrow and deep' approach in its focus areas, goals and actions, rather than encompassing everything and spreading the focus too thinly to achieve significant change.

It's also why the Maori potential approach and ako sit at the heart of the strategy's approach.

Māori Potential Approach

The cross-Government policy framework called the Māori Potential Approach was developed by Te Puni Kōkiri.

Te Puni Kōkiri

Ka Hikitia — Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008-2012 draws on the policy framework, giving it expression in an education context.

The framework is a policy approach endorsed by the research evidence, independent academics, Māori and ministry staff.

The Māori Potential Approach emphasises partnership, working together and sharing power.

It's an approach that supports Māori self development and self determination and it represents a move away from deficit, failure, problems and risks.

The Māori Potential Approach is about identifying success and building on it and seeing opportunities and realising potential.

Māori Potential Approach in education

Less focus on...More focus on...
Remedying deficit Realising potential
Problems of dysfunction Identifying opportunity
Government intervention Investing in people and local solutions
Targeting deficit Tailoring education to the learner
Maori as a minority Indigeneity and distinctiveness
Instructing and informing Collaborating and co-constructing

The Māori Potential Approach takes a broad view of success and a broad view of the pathways to achieving success. It seeks to enable Māori to live as Māori within te Ao Māori, within New Zealand and within the wider world.

It's an approach that fits well with and reflects other important shifts occurring across the education system where education success is viewed more broadly.

In education, the approach means recognising the potential of every Māori student, acknowledging that being Māori is an advantage and understanding that all Māori learners are inherently capable.


Ka Hikitia — Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008-2012 emphasises the importance of ako  — effective and reciprocal teaching and learning — for, and with, Māori learners and the conditions that support it.

Evidence shows that high-quality teaching is the most important influence the education system can have on high-quality outcomes for students with diverse learning needs. Evidence also shows that effective teaching and learning depends on the relationship between teachers and students and students’ active engagement.

The concept of ‘ako’ describes a teaching and learning relationship where the educator is also learning from the student and where educators’ practices are informed by the latest research and are both deliberate and reflective. Ako is grounded in the principle of reciprocity and recognises that the learner and whānau cannot be separated.

The key aspects of ako are:

  • Language, identity and culture counts — knowing where students come from and building on what students bring with them.
  • Productive Partnerships — Māori students, whānau and educators sharing knowledge and expertise with each other to produce better outcomes.

Taking a ‘personalising learning’ approach that puts every student and their achievement at the heart of education and recognises that one size does not fit all.

Personalising learning is about partnerships focused on learning and about a whole education system where everyone sees themselves as having an important role to play and accepting the associated personal and professional responsibilities.

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