This version is as per October 2022. Feedback on it has now closed and the final version will be live for 2023

Whiria Te Ako will be our cornerstone for how we design programmes, facilitate learning, teaching, rangahau research for our ākonga and kaiako at work, on-campus and via distance. It has been developed to ensure ākonga remain at the centre and find value as they undertake vocational training with Te Pūkenga.

Consideration has been given to our Charter, the Minister's expectations, and research into ākonga and kaiako. Over 70 taura here (champions) from across the network were involved in the development, with representation from our kaiako and kaimahi, Iwi, employers, industry and the community.

Whiria Te Ako includes two core elements which are interwoven together:

  • central fundamental guidance
  • local and regional variation

Te Pūkenga Whiria Te Ako diagram

Download Whiria Te Ako here.

The 24 intersections within Whiria Te Ako each have detail behind them. You can head here to understand more about each area or download this table here.

Click here if you are interested in looking at some of the supporting research for many of the focus areas and descriptors within Whiria Te Ako.

Explaining Whiria Te Ako

The purpose of Te Pūkenga is to provide excellent quality educational opportunities that support ākonga, employers and communities to gain the skills, knowledge, and capabilities that Aotearoa New Zealand needs now and for the future. Ākonga and their whānau are at the centre of all that we do.


Whiria Te Ako is the proposed name for the Learning and Teaching Framework of Te Pūkenga. This denotes a transformative approach to Ako, where Mātauranga Māori is privileged and informs and provides context to all parts of learning and teaching in accordance with the proverbial phrase:


Whiria te taura mātauranga o tēnā whare, o tēnā whaitua, hei kete whakairo.

He whakamaunga kanohi mō ngā iwi. Whiria te ako, nau mai te wānanga.


Weave together the strands of knowledge of the individual whare, of the individual regions into an intricately fashioned kete. A source of pride and inspiration, that is admired by all.

Weave together the learning and teaching, welcome the collaboration.


Whiria Te Ako is founded upon both traditional and contemporary understanding of the thematical genealogy of existence, the reciprocal relationships between Atua, Tūpuna and Taiao, the balance of Tapu and Noa and maintenance of Mana.


Whiria Te Ako considers three key tenets as embodiments of the above, in its approach to learning and teaching, that being Tangata centred, Ngā Uara driven and Te Ao Māori worldview.


The three tenets portray a fundamentally Māori understanding of existence, Te Aho Kura, a body of knowledge originating from Māori ancestors, including the Te Ao Māori worldview, values, beliefs and perspectives, Māori creativity and cultural practices.


Read more about the formation of Whiria Te Ako here.

Bringing the framework to life

Whiria Te Ako is a concept that provides for nationally recognised practises, while allowing for regional responsiveness and local relevance.


With Whiria Te Ako Aho Tāhuhu ā-Motu, we describe the high-level guiding themes and ideas, which have emerged throughout the process of listening and iterating. These draft Te Aho Tāhuhu-ā-Motu (national) statements are now visible in this iteration and we are seeking feedback on them.


Throughout the design process the need to allow for regional and discipline-related differences has been front of mind. This will be achieved through the provision of Te Aho Tāhuhu-ā-rohe spaces, designed to allow for the sharing, and contextualisation (to region and discipline) of practices and resources.



Reflecting on the recent experience of New Zealand with Covid-19 Dr Ashley Bloomfield said (paraphrased) “The thing we underestimated was our communities – give them the resources and information to do the job.”


We see the role of the proposed Te Pūkenga Academic Centre as being one of supporting regions, delivery sites, and Proposed Ako Delivery Networks, in partnership, to be flexible and innovative while enabling their kaimahi to deliver consistent learning and teaching.


Rather than designing everything in detail centrally, we acknowledge that implementation will best find meaning in the contexts of both region and discipline. Substantially the way in which resources will be available to regions and disciplines is a function of the Operating Model and therefore subject to ongoing consultation.


However, the information is largely a function of Whiria Te Ako and its implementation. Whiria Te Ako Aho Tāhuhu ā-Motu give high level guidance, but also need to have sufficient support to operationalise these in specific contexts.


Seven ‘toolkits’ are being developed for implementation by Proposed Ako Delivery Networks and the national/regional support structures which will evolve as the Operating Model details are confirmed.


These toolkits will, upon maturity, contain a mixture of;

  • digital environments
  • templates
  • process and decision-making guides
  • rubrics to assess options against
  • and connections to relevant internal and external sources of information.

Initial versions of these will be offered to groups working with newly unified programmes as they move towards nationally coordinated development and delivery. Feedback from these groups will be used to both refine the toolkits and reflect on Whiria Te Ako Aho Tāhuhu ā-Motu they give life to.


The development of the proposed seven toolkits is an ongoing piece of mahi and will provide opportunity for interested kaimahi to be involved.

Our Journey

Looking back: The journey to co-create this framework has been ongoing for the last 12 months. The journey demonstrates the need to respond to change along the way and to the many people who have been involved in this mahi.

 Whiria Te Ako Timeline of the journey. Along the bottom of the page, there is a thick horizontal line that is grey and then changes into a washed out medium green. Along the line there are horizontal black thin lines that are spaced specifically indicating the time between each event. On the top of the vertical lines, there are green headings that display the month and year. Underneath this, there is black text that describe what the event was.

Download the Whiria Te Ako journey image here.


Looking ahead: The development of Whiria Te Ako is ongoing and we anticipate creating more elements which are interactive and are able to be taken and then personalised or adapted to fit in response to local needs.


The holistic, reciprocal process of learning and teaching that incorporates ways of knowing, knowledge systems, beliefs, values and practices that are Tangata centred, Ngā Uara based, and underpinned by a Te Ao Māori worldview.


Mātauranga Māori

Māori ways of being, doing and knowing underpinned by a body of knowledge with a whakapapa Māori.  Mātauranga Māori encompasses a Māori worldview of values, beliefs and perspectives. It informs accepted norms and behaviours and is reflected in both traditional and contemporary Māori cultural practices.  Mātauranga Māori is dynamic in accordance with the distinct bodies of knowledge in the expression of the kawa and tikanga of respective hapū, iwi, waka and/or rohe perspective. Where Mātauranga Māori is present, Te Reo Māori and Tikanga Māori are mutually inclusive.


Te Aho Tāhuhu ā-Motu (Formerly referred to as Tikanga)
Te Aho Tāhuhu ā-Motu provides guidance as to the fundamental knowledge, skills, attributes, etiquettes, processes and procedures that all Te Pūkenga ako will demonstrate. These fundamentals are promises that all ākonga, their whānau, Te Tiriti partners, communities and employers can hold us accountable to.


Te Aho Tāhuhu ā-Rohe (formally referred to as Kawa)
Te Aho Tāhuhu ā-Rohe acknowledges the regional and local nuances to knowledge, skills, attributes, etiquettes, processes and procedures that require specific responses. Te Aho Tāhuhu ā-Rohed provide examplars and resources that can be adjusted to reflect this.


Disabled ākonga
We often use the term ‘disability community’. In the Te Pūkenga National Strategic Action Plan we have used the term ‘disabled ākonga’.


The following from this action plan explains why:

‘The New Zealand Disability Strategy   states that ‘disability is not something individuals have.  Instead, ‘disability is the process which happens when one group of people creates barriers by designing a world only for their way of living, taking no account of the impairments that other people have. In this plan we have used the term ‘disabled ākonga (learners)’, to make the point like the Te Rito report has shown, that people with impairments are often ‘disabled by their environment’, rather than inferring that they are ‘disabled’ themselves or by their impairments.


Disabled ākonga include those with permanent impairments, those with impairments resulting from long or short-term injury or illness, the Deaf community and those with learning disability, neurological or cognitive difficulties, mental health conditions and other hidden impairments. These impairments often last for 6 months or more. It is important to remember that disabled ākonga are diverse like the rest of our community. They include Disabled ākonga Māori, people with different impairments, Pacific ākonga and those from other cultural groups, women, international students, LGBTQIA communities, migrants, at-risk youth and older people, etc.

To download a PDF version of this webpage, click here.