Huakina Mai

Huakina Mai is a two-year project supported by the Ministry of Education (through PB4L) that supports teachers in mainstream schools, whānau and students to create strong learning relationships that enable Māori students to be successful, as Māori. Kaha Education are sub-contracted by Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to implement Huakina Mai.

In 2015/16 Huakina Mai was implemented in our three tuakana schools - Kaiapoi Borough School, Pegasus Bay School and Tuahiwi School. In 2017 implementation commenced in four new kura - Rāwhiti School, Parkview School, Marshland School and Christchurch East Primary School.

Huakina Mai is a relational based intervention that provides a strengths-based approach to supporting Māori students in mainstream schools. We know that Māori students learn best when they have strong learning relationships with their teachers, and when teachers and whānau work together to support their tamariki.


Great schools are continually improving and looking for ways in which to better serve their students. Huakina Mai is a programme that supports positive behaviour and assists teachers to implement strategies that will lead to positive change for students who are having difficulty. It is the responsibility of the adults in the school to create a positive environment so that all students have the opportunity to learn and be successful.

The ‘Mana ki te Mana Framework’ describes the characteristics of successful schools for Māori students and serves as the guide for bringing about change. Through staff hui, ‘Mana ki te Mana’ is frequently revisited to ensure teachers are provided the space to unpack and align their current practice to align to the tenets of the framework.

The Kaiārahi of Huakina Mai is Darlene Te Karu and she has an important role. She works alongside a group of committed teachers, school leaders and whānau members to lead change in the school. In Huakina Mai this vitally important group is called the Kaihoe Team.

Over two years the Kaihoe Team are supported by the Kaiārahi to gather and analyse data, identify priorities for development, plan professional learning and ensure that the community and whānau are engaged in and informed about Huakina Mai. The Kaiārahi’s role is to help develop the knowledge and skills of the Kaihoe Team so that they are able to continue this work when the Huakina Mai support is at an end. She also facilitates teacher professional development, guides teacher inquiry and supports school leaders and whānau.


Key staff: Darlene Te Karu (, John Leonard (
Key topics: Culturally Responsive Practice, Teacher Inquiry
Workstream: MOE funded through PB4L