Māori and Education

Kuhu i te rangiora te whare whakaako he mohiotanga tapu katoa o te iwi. E karanga atu tenei ki a koutou katoa, haere mai, haere mai!

Who will teach our children te reo Māori tomorrow if it isn’t those of us who can speak it today? Te reo Māori is the cornerstone of our heritage. If you have Māori language skills then our tamariki need you now. However, if te reo and tikanga Māori are not your strengths, you’re needed just as much as a teacher and role model.

As a Māori early childhood, primary or secondary teacher, you’ll have the chance to make a difference to the future of young Māori. It is important we have more Māori teachers as they help to:

  • increase participation of whānau, hapū and iwi groups in education
  • raise expectations leading to higher educational achievement for Māori
  • show young people that educational success is real and achievable
  • develop capacity of Māori and their organisations to develop their own education programmes.

Māori Medium Education

Although most Māori students remain within the mainstream education system, increasing numbers are taking advantage of growing opportunities in Māori medium education. These include kōhanga reo (Māori medium early childhood education services), kura kaupapa (Māori medium schools) and kura reorua (bilingual and Māori language immersion classes in mainstream schools). 

This is one of the most important developments in New Zealand education and it has created a strong demand for speakers of te reo Māori at all levels of our education system. 

If you would like more information, check out Te Kete Ipurangi and the Ministry of Education websites.

Help to consider teaching 

There are several options for getting face-to-face advice, depending upon the teaching sector you are interested in. 

  • Ministry of Education's Early Childhood Teacher Supply Team. If you are considering a career in early childhood education, know someone who is, or have an interest in the recruitment of teachers, the Ministry's Early Childhood Teacher Supply Team can offer help and advice.       
  • Māori liaison officers at teacher education providers. These days most tertiary institutions, including teacher education providers, employ Māori liaison officers to help with course selection and ongoing support during your programme of study. Before enrolling, check out the Māori liaison support available at your provider.

Māori immersion curriculum

The idea of a Māori immersion curriculum has grown and been nurtured through kōhanga reo. It is now established for school-age children in kura kaupapa Māori (Māori language immersion) schools and in bilingual units and classes.


For Māori school leavers interested in teaching in early childhood, primary or secondary education, there are many teacher education options available throughout the country.

Māori considering becoming early childhood teachers now have options to study an ECE teaching qualification that is focused on te reo Māori, and te ao Māori. There is also a range of Māori medium primary teaching qualification options to choose from to either teach in a bilingual or full immersion setting.

For secondary teaching, a subject specialist degree is required plus a teaching qualification. 

If you think you have what it takes, check out our 'Getting Qualified' page. There's a huge range of study options to suit your lifestyle and interests. Some of these programmes of study focus on teacher education for Māori teachers and have set up whānau and study groups to help support Māori students.

What do Māori teachers say?

Māori teachers are now in real demand. Whether or not you're a speaker of te reo Māori, young Māori need Māori role models to teach and guide them. No matter what subject or level you choose, there are great opportunities for you in teaching. Many of these positions exist in rural areas throughout the country. You'll have the chance to make a real difference to the future of young Māori.  You'll also be able to extend your own skills. Teaching is one of the few careers that sets you up for life - whatever you decide to do in the future.

New Zealand Teachers Council New Zealand Education Gazette New Zealand Qualifications Authority Immigration New Zealand