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Success Of Tapuwaekura Pilot Sees Sport NZ Invest $4.5 Million To Help Kura Across Aotearoa

Wednesday, 28 June 2023

Sport NZ Ihi Aotearoa is investing $4.5 million to expand the pilot initiative Tapuwaekura throughout Aotearoa. Along with the expansion, Tapuwaekura will be renamed Mātaiao, which means to observe and learn from the environment.

Mātaiao is the culturally distinctive pathway within Healthy Active Learning, a joint Government initiative between Sport NZ, Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand and the Ministry of Education.

Mātaiao aims to improve the wellbeing of tamariki and rangatahi through healthy eating and drinking and quality physical activity. It is specifically focussed on supporting kura kaupapa Māori, wharekura, kura ā-iwi and full immersion units within some English medium schools. At its core Mātaiao nurtures a thriving taiao (environment) through reconnecting ākonga (learners) with the languages and environmental knowledge of atua Māori.

The initiative was launched as a pilot three years ago, in partnership with Ngā Pākura Ltd, who assisted in delivering it to 34 kura and 192 kaiako in seven regions across the country. Results from an evaluation study* found that ākonga showed improvements in engagement and learning, behaviour and physical wellbeing.

The success of the pilot means up to 50 kura will benefit from the new investment.

Sport NZ Group Manager, Kahui Rautaki Māori, Tanya Wilson welcomes the expansion of Mātaiao and is excited by the opportunities it will provide tamariki in Aotearoa.

“Mātaiao assists kura to adopt and integrate the principles of Atua Matua – a Māori Health Framework – in strategy, planning and teaching practices for cultural, educational and physical benefits.

“Kaiako (teachers) are supported to implement a Te Ao Māori approach through whakapapa and mātauranga Māori, while Mātaiao, which means to observe and learn through the environment, helps connect tamariki to the environment for better health and wellbeing outcomes.

“Mātaiao has helped strengthen our working partnerships with other national and regional Māori education and recreation bodies. The expansion of the initiative will enable Sport NZ to establish new relationships.”

The evaluation study found that both kaiako (teachers) and ākonga are:

  • More active and are improving their physical wellbeing
  • Increasing their knowledge and making stronger cultural connections with their local environment in ways that resonate for them
  • Engaging their whānau in the Mātaiao experience
  • Kaiako have observed that ākonga have:
  • Improved engagement in learning
  • Improved attendance
  • Improved behaviour, that is, fewer behaviour related issues.

Dr Wayne Ngata, Director of Ngā Pākura Ltd, who has worked closely with kura during the pilot phase, says Mātaiao helps kaiako to observe, engage with, and learn from different environmental phenomena and integrate these into their curriculum.

“We have seen shifts in the knowledge, practice and physical activity of kaiako and ākonga during the pilot stage and welcome the further support from Sport NZ to scale the Mātaiao approach for more kura over the next few years.”

While Ngā Pākura Ltd will continue to provide national leadership and oversee national implementation of Mātaiao, the initiative will be delivered to Tāmaki Makaurau kura by Toi Tangata, a Māori agency which develops, delivers and champions kaupapa Māori based approaches to physical activity and nutrition.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Sport NZ to deliver the Mātaiao kaupapa,” says Toi Tangata Kaiwhakahaere Matua (CEO), Darrio Penetito-Hemara.

“The Mātaiao kaupapa exemplifies our dedication to Māori-led solutions and our collaboration with Sport NZ will ensure the approach is authentically grounded in te ao Māori. We are excited to continue moving towards a future where hauora through te ao Māori is not only prioritised but deeply embedded in the fabric of our society.”