Maori and Pacific Island learners

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Maori learners

Maori pedagogy (Mātauranga Māori) involves working with four aspects or domains of a person’s well being (cognitive - Taha Hinengaro, spiritual - Taha Wairua, physical - Taha Tinana, and family - Taha Whānau). These concepts were originally outlined by Mason Durie (1988) in Te Whare Tapa Whā in relation to health. This model pre-empts the assumption that teachers and tutors should only work within the cognitive domain.

To begin to understand these four domains of well being and four models of learning go to the Mātauranga Māori section on the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults website. Also, read a reflection by Helen Lindsay on her Blog post: Matauranga Maori and “A culturally responsive pedagogy of relationships", and follow the links given.

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  • View this presentation and discussion on Adobe Connect about Indigenous Learners led by Dr Kate Timms-Dean.
  • Read through the journal article on pages 17-23 in the He Kupu Whakataki journal. It is entitled: The Efficacy of the Whānau Group Concept in Supporting the Retention and Success of Undergraduate Māori Nursing Students.
  • Reflect on how you might adapt the Whanau Group method for your course.
  • Explore further the four models for applying Mātauranga Māori.
    • Te Whare Tapa Whā - a video explaining this model from a literacy and numeracy perspective.
    • Ako.
    • Tuakana-Teina.
    • Pōwhiri Poutama.
  • Decide how you might use one of these models to support your Maori learners and facilitate their success.
  • Designing learning activities that acknowledge diversity.
  • Add your discussion about this to your blog.

Pasifika learners

These learners are diverse but also have cultural commonalities, however, we should never assume one model fits all. It is important to get to know your Pasifika learners, not just the cognitive aspects but also sociocultural aspects that may affect their learning, so that you can facilitate a sense of belonging and readiness to learn.

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  • Watch the four videos in the Pasifika Learners playlist. These were developed by the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults.
Reflect on the material about Pasifika learners.
  • What can you do to develop rapport with your Pasifika learners and create a learning environment that is supportive for their success?


  • Durie, M. (1988). Whaiora: Māori Health Development. Auckland: Oxford University Press