E pub Reo Tupu Kei te ako a Arahia Arahia is Learning Maori v5
Kei te Ako a Arahia | Arahia is Learning Pukapuka

Teacher Support Materials

Storyline / Kiko

This story is about a Māori girl who is learning different skills at school – but especially how to speak Māori to her koro (grandfather).

Achievement objectives / Whāinga paetae 

Students should be able to:

  • 1.2 introduce others 
  • 2.5 communicate feelings
  • 3.1 communicate about routines

Te Aho Arataki Marau mō te Ako i Te Reo

Learning context / Kaupapa 

This story relates to the topic of Taku akomanga/My classroom/ (Unit 2) in He Reo Tupu He Reo Ora.

Assessment / Aromatawai

The learning intentions and success criteria below will help determine students’ progress.

The format of the rubrics is similar to that in He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora, allowing for student self-assessment, as well as assessment by:

  • other students (tuākana and tēina)
  • teachers
  • whānau (as a way of engaging families and promoting a partnership between home and school).

The three tohu/symbols in the rubrics indicate different steps of learning, as depicted in this poutama pattern.

poutama pattern

Proverb / Whakataukī

Tangata ako ana i te whare, te tūranga ki te marae, tau ana. 

A child who has been taught well at home will stand comfortably on the marae.

Good values from home will stand well in the community, and indeed throughout life.

Cultural knowledge / Tikanga re ako

  • Ako means to teach and also to learn so there is a reciprocal relationship. 
  • Embracing the principle of ako enables teachers to create a learning environment where each student feels that their contribution is valued and they can participate to their full potential.
  • Ako includes building productive relationships such as teacher/students, student/student, teacher/whānau – where everyone is empowered to learn with and from each other. 
  • This also includes tuakana/teina relationships in the classroom where both parties are learning from each other. This Māori proverb highlights this reciprocity: 

Mā te tuakana, ka totika te teina.

Mā te teina. ka totika te tuakana.

From the older sibling, the younger one learns the right way to do things. 

From the younger sibling, the older one learns to be tolerant. 


  • Ako is particularly relevant in the context of English-medium primary schools, where the teachers are not necessarily experts in te reo, but are open to learning from others (including students and whānau). This includes the need to know where students come from and build on their cultural capital (i.e., culture counts).
  • Other words containing ‘ako’ are: 
    kaiako (teacher), ākonga (student), akomanga (classroom), akoranga (educational course), ākona (the command for ‘learn!’ e.g., Ākona te reo Māori = Learn Māori!)
  • Ako is one of the cultural competencies in Tātaiako, i.e., taking responsibility for one’s own learning as teachers, and that of Māori learners. (See Ako and PTC 4, 6, 8, 12.)

Pre-reading / I mua atu

Before reading the story, talk with students to discover:

  • their previous experiences in relation to the picture on the front cover, as well as their knowledge of people’s roles on the marae
  • their prior knowledge of relevant vocabulary, language structures, and Māori concepts.

Flashcards / Whakaahua

You could create flashcards to show images of the following content words:

paoro – ball

pikitia – picture

pukapuka – book

pakiwaitara – story

ringaringa – hands

porowhiu – throw

peita – paint

pānui – read

tuhi – write

horoi – wash

kōrero – speak

Other words / Ētahi atu kupu

Other words in the text include: 

mahi – to do

nui – great 

taku – my (singular)

mōu – for you 

ki te … – to … (verb)

tēnei – this

Grammar / Wetereo

This story includes the following language structures:

  • present tense word order, e.g., 
    Kei te (verb + subject)
    Kei te ako ia (S/he learns)
  • third person singular ia = s/he
  • conjunction ‘ā’ to join two sentences/clauses.

Follow-up / I muri mai 

Second language tasks/activities

Once students are familiar with the text, you can facilitate some of the second language tasks/activities below, working to your students’ strengths and interests. The aim is to extend their proficiency and use of te reo in meaningful contexts. 

While facilitating these tasks/activities, remember that you don’t have to be the expert. As conveyed in the Māori concept of ako, you may be in the position of being a learner alongside your students. In fact, some students may want to take the lead. Ka pai tēnā. Nō reira, kia kaha.

For general information on common task types, see He Reo Tupu, He Reo Ora. Choose ‘Using tasks and activities’.


Students match strips of text to appropriate flashcard images. 


Students match the nouns on the flashcards to the verbs on the flashcards horoi + ringaringa (wash + hands).

Cloze activity (written or oral)

Create gaps in the story for students to complete.

A cloze is a good way to help students notice the grammar of te reo Māori, as well as improve their prediction skills and encourage them to make intelligent guesses from context and picture clues, e.g., deletion of nouns. For example:

peita _____

pānui _____

kori _____

The gaps in a cloze can represent a consistent part of speech such as nouns or pronouns. Alternatively, words can be deleted at random, for example, every third word. 

You can make a cloze exercise easier for students by: 

  • telling them how many letters there are in the missing word 
  • providing the first letter 
  • giving them a list of words to choose from. 

A cloze task can be extended to incorporate listening and speaking, where you read a piece of text and stop at each missing word, so students can suggest an appropriate word to fill the gap.

Cloze activity (written or oral)

Create gaps in the story for students to complete, e.g., deletion of verbs:

_____ pakiwaitara

_____ haka

_____ ringaringa

Cloze activity (written or oral)

Create gaps in the story for students to complete with a range of word types:

_____ paoro

tākaro _____

He nui _____ aroha mōu

True/False (Kei te tika/Kei te hē) (listening or reading)

Students decide whether a spoken or written statement about a picture in the book is true or false (kei te tika/kei te hē). If a statement is false, the students have to make it correct.

For example, if they are looking at a picture about reading books:

tuhi pakiwaitara 

Students would need to say it’s false, then provide the correct statement: 

pānui pukapuka

With this task, the students’ ability can be extended from phrases to sentences. 

For example, if they are shown a picture of a ball being thrown, along with the false sentence Kei te ako ia ki te tākaro poiwhana, they would need to correct it with the following sentence: Kei te ako ia ki te porowhiu paoro.

Multi-choice (with visual cues)

Hold up a flashcard and ask the students to read or listen to 2 to 4 statements about the picture – only one of which is accurate. 

For example, show the picture of washing hands and provide students with some phrases from which they can choose the correct one:

kori tinana

mahi haka

horoi ringaringa

peita pikitia

Reversioning (written or oral)

Students personalise the story by giving it a new title – Kei te ako au ki te … (I am learning to …). For example:

Kei te ako au ki te waiata/kaukau/whio/piu. 

(I am learning to sing/swim/whistle/skip.)

Kei te ako au ki te tiaki whenua/mahi poi/manaaki tangata/ whana paoro.

(I am learning to look after the environment/do poi/look after people/kick a ball.)

Listen and draw

Students work in pairs. Each one has a grid with six numbered boxes. They tell their partner what item to draw in which box, e.g., paoro (ball/s), pikitia (picture/s), ringaringa (hand/s), pukapuka (book/s), peita (paint/s), haka.

For example: 

Tuhia he paoro kei roto i te pouaka tuarua. 

Draw a ball in the second box.

Some useful language for this activity includes:

pouaka box
pouaka nama rua box number 2
He aha? What?
kei roto i te pouaka in the box
tuatahi, tuarua, tuatoru first, second, third 
te pouaka tuawhā the fourth box
he a/some
Haere ki te pouaka tuarima Go to the fifth box
He aha kei roto i te pouaka tuarua? What’s in the second box?
Tuhia! Draw!
Tuhia he ringaringa! Draw a hand!
Mini book

Print the mini-book template (with instructions) so every child in your class can take home a mini version of this story to read with whānau.

Songs / Waiata

The following waiata will support the kaupapa of the reader: 

Kei te ako au i te reo Māori (I’m learning Māori) listen to the second song on the link.


Kei te ako au. Kei te ako au. Kei te ako au i te reo Māori

Kei te ako au. Kei te ako au. Kei te ako au i te reo Māori AUE


You can reversion the song by using verbs, e.g., Kei te ako au ki te VERB. (I’m learning to VERB):


Kei te ako au. Kei te ako au. Kei te ako au ki te waiata/ pānui/tākaro/tuhi e/haka e.

Kei te ako au. Kei te ako au. Kei te ako au ki te waiata pānui/tākaro/tuhi e/haka e. AUE


(I’m learning to sing/read/play/write/perform the haka.)

Using the big books in early childhood

In English-medium ECE settings, where Māori language is a natural part of the programme (as recommended in the Mana reo strand of Te Whāriki), the big books for Reo Tupu stories can be used for shared reading with tamariki. 

These stories will allow teachers to weave Māori language and culture into their everyday activities, demonstrating the value they place on te reo and tikanga Māori. This is especially important for enhancing identity, sense of belonging, and well-being. The audio component of the e-books will support teachers and tamariki to pronounce te reo Māori correctly. 

Stories / Pakiwaitara

The following stories are relevant to the kaupapa of this reader: 

Buchanan, C. (2007). Nā Haki Tēnei. In the kit “Te Huinga Raukura. Amokura”. Wellington: Learning Media (re the possession of classroom objects).

Te Awa, M. (2001). He Taniwha. Wellington: Huia (re a girl drawing a picture).

Te Awa, M. (2009). Taku Akomanga. Wellington: Learning Media (re classroom objects).

Te Awa, M. (2001). Te Wāhi Pai. Wellington: Huia (re different activities in the classroom).

Acknowledgements / He mihi

The author would like to acknowledge the teachers she has worked with over the years, inspiring her to create these books. Ināianei kua mātātupu. Ka tuku mihi hoki ki te whānau Laison nō Taranaki me te whānau Takotohiwi nō Ngāti Awa, who nurtured her in te ao Māori; ko te tino koha tēnā.

She also acknowledges with fondness her Māori tutors during decades of learning, particularly Hirini Mead, Tamati Kruger, Wiremu Parker, Keri Kaa, and Ruka Broughton. Also her two non-Māori mentors and role models, Mary Boyce and Fran Hunia. All these people have added to her kete. Kua whetūrangitia ētahi engari kāore e warewaretia ō rātou mahi maha ki te akiaki i a ia. Hei whakamutunga, ka tuku mihi ki āna mokopuna me āna tama – te pū o ēnei pukapuka.


Kei te Ako a Arahia | Arahia is Learning Teacher Support Materials PDF

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