Whānau Engagement

Te Reo, Tikanga, Whānau Engagement and our role as Treaty Partners



Tu Tangata

Stand Tall

Hukanui Kura has worked hard over the last few years to work with families and whānau to better support outcomes for our Māori learners and our wider school.

Recent collaborations with our whānau group have resulted in; the development of the Hukanui Learner Profile, which has been created with a Te Ao Māori lens, the quarterly whānau hui, development of our aspirational Tiriti Plan, the redevelopment of our school uniform and our shared learnings through Te Pae Here Community of Learning and through the support of Ngati Wairere.

Hukanui School has approximately 15% of its students identifying as Māori who are affiliated with iwi and hapu from across Aotearoa. This again adding to the richness and strength of our whānau.

In 2022-23 our kura has and will continue to place emphasis on exploring local histories and context, developing Waikato Tainui Tikanga, teaching Te Reo to level one and beyond and ensuring that Māori learners are supported to achieve equitable outcomes.

Some of the initiatives we facilitate to develop learnings, understandings and engage include;

  • Junior, Senior Kapa Haka

  • Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori open days

  • Matariki Celebrations

  • Regular Pōwhiri or Mihi Whakatau

  • Inquiry learning through Electives- linking to overarching Māori themes and values

  • The development of our Hukanui Māori learning progressions

  • Boys Writers league, to engage reluctant boys

  • Trips to local places of significance

  • Training for staff in; Tikanga, cultural sustaining pedagogy, unconscious bias, colonisation and the confiscations

  • Engagement with whānau, collaboration with Te Pae Here

  • Whānau Hui and partnership activity

Hukanui School Promoting Equity and Excellence 2022-24

(Education and Training Act 2020)

  • Treaty of Waitangi Strategic Planning Requirements

  • Cultural Diversity and Māori Dimension

Hukanui School will ensure that the experiences, cultural traditions, histories and languages of all New Zealanders are celebrated, recognized and valued. The school will develop culturally sustaining practices, equitable outcomes and procedures that reflect our; rich cultural diversity, the unique position of Māori, Tainui Tikanga, Ngati Wairere and acknowledge the place of Pacific Island communities in New Zealand Society.

In recognizing the unique position of Māori culture and Te Ao Maori, Hukanui School will; provide instruction in; The Aotearoa NZ Histories, Tainui Tikanga Māori and Te reo Māori. The school will build trusting and meaningful relationships with local iwi (Tainui) and Hapu.

Valuing our Cultural Diversity

  1. Staff are fluent in their understanding of Tataiako; Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori.

  2. ESOL and NESB programmes developed to support students with needs.

  3. Learning contexts and themes reflect the cultural diversity, Tikanga o iwi of our local community and its history.

  4. Policy and procedure align accordingly.

The Unique Position of Māori Culture

  1. Students empowered to learn through; physical environment, pōwhiri, waiata, engagement, Kapa Haka, marae visits and local content and inquiry context.

  2. Te Reo is a weekly program feature.

  3. Each child will reach level 1 (min) in the English Medium Māori Curriculum

  4. Te Tiriti o Waitangi acknowledged and acted upon. Tikanga, Te reo, Mana Whenua fostered.

Māori Views and Concerns

  1. Te Tiriti o Waitangi underpins all bicultural practice.

  2. Whānau, local Kaumatua and Ngati Wairere are increasingly engaged in regards to ensuring student and teacher success. (Whakatupuranga 2050)

  3. School actively involves the Māori community through; camps, Kapa Haka, hui, marae trips, sports, wananga etc.

  4. Celebrating culture for all.

Incorporating Te reo and Tikanga Māori

  1. Regular PLD for staff is provided. All staff are familiar with and promote success through Ka Hikitia.

  2. All students are taught Tikanga a iwi and Te reo Māori

  3. Māori students enjoy success and support as Māori Learners.

  4. Teachers understand culturally sustaining pedagogies. Local histories will be taught as part of our inquiry curriculum.

Where does the Name Hukanui School Come from?

Like with all historical questions, perspectives, stories and recollections people's perceptions can differ depending on who you talk to. From our records and discussions we have explored; literal translations, connections to Hukanui (marae and area), the association to the Hukanui Oaks and stories from Ngati Wairere, we understand the following:

Here is a summary of our stories thus far…..

Origin of name: Originally called Hukanui, with huka being Māori for "foam, frost or snow" and nui meaning big; in this neck of the woods it means "heavy frost”.

Gordonton (Māori: Hukanui) is a village and rural community in the Waikato region of New Zealand's North Island. It is located southeast of Taupiri on State Highway 1B. The area was initially called Hukanui, which means "heavy frost" in the Māori language. It was renamed to Gordonton after John Gordon, who was a manager for the New Zealand Land Association in the Waikato from 1886.

The local Hukanui Marae is a meeting place of the local Waikato Tainui hapū of Ngāti Makirangi and Ngāti Wairere. It includes Te Tuturu-a-Papa Kamutu meeting house.

It is believed that Hukanui School could have derived its name from the road and the great ‘Hukanui Oaks’ that sit parallel to the school. This being a progression from the area, Marae name Hukanui and the first Oak that sits in Hukanui Park in Gordonton planted in 1914.

There is also some who suggest that the Hukanui area was extensively covered in Manuka and when this flowered the area appeared as though it was covered in snow. Thus the name ‘Hukanui.’


Our connections to Ngati Wairere- The Origins

Ngati Wairere - The renowned warrior Mahanga was a descendant in direct line from Hoturoa, the captain of the Tainui canoe. Mahanga lived at Purakau Pa, located at the confluence of the Waipa river and Kaniwhaniwha stream, south of what is now Whatawhata. He had two daughters, Waitawake and Tukotuku. Kokako was a Chief whose origins linked back to another canoe, the Mataatua canoe. It is believed that he was responsible for the drowning of Tuheitia, Mahanga’s father. As a result Mahanga and Kokako were continually in dispute. Kokako had several children, the most famous being a son named Tamainupo. Mahanga’s daughter Tukotuku married Kokako’s son and they settled at Te Kaurere, a papakainga along the banks of the Waitetuna River that runs near the Raglan deviation. Tamainupo and Tukotuku had only one son, Wairere. The birth of the son was so significant that Kokako performed the baptism of Wairere and later made peace with Mahanga at Purakau Pa. To mark Wairere's birth the ancient name of the river was changed from Te Awanui O Taikehu to Waikato. Waikato means "to pluck water" and refers to the motion of sprinkling water on the child during the Tohi (baptism ritual). Wairere's baptism ritual was performed at Taipouri Island near Huntly. In later life Wairere had several wives who produced several sons, daughters and numerous descendents. In his old age, Wairere travelled southwards to the Taupo district and married Hikataupo a Chieftainess of the Ngati Tuwharetoa ‘Nga Iwi O Tainui’ – (The traditional history of the Tainui people), Jones and Biggs, 1995. and died there. From Wairere and Hikataupo descend the dynasty of Te Heuheu, the paramount chiefs of Ngati Tuwharetoa of the Lake Taupo Districts.

What does the term Tu Tangata mean?

The concept of Tu Tangata is well known to Māori and literally means “stand tall”. It is based on the philosophy that encourages young people to stand up and be counted, and take responsibility for their futures.

This aligns beautifully to our affiliation with the mighty oak and acorns that surround our kura and our aspirations for our ākonga.

What does our Whakatauki (proverb) mean and what are its origins?



Those with a good family foundation and proper grounding in their own culture and heritage will find satisfaction and contentment in life.

This aligns with our Stand Tall, Tu Tangata motto, has connections with our school oak logo and reinforces the aspirations contained within the Hukanui Learner Profile. It is also a timely reminder that our own accomplishments are often the reflection of the work and efforts of many.

Whakatauki (Māori proverbs) represent the wisdom guiding Māori culture. They are a poetic form of the Māori language often merging historical events or holistic perspectives with underlying messages that are influential in Māori society.

What are the origins and meaning of our Koru design?

This koru design was created by Hukanui children in collaboration with local whanau and gifted to the school as part of our Elective programme. It was traditionally a part of our school Kapa Haka unforms and has featured on the boys shorts and shirts over time. It is now beginning to feature more prominently as a taonga in our school again and can be seen reflected in our classrooms, communications, Learner Profile Values, school uniform and website website.

A breakdown of the elements and values contained within this koru can be found below.

Resources to support whānau and engage learners.

To support Te Reo learning in the home we encourage our families to visit the following sites and resource tools:

The Ngati Wairere website https://www.ngaapuna.org/

Which gives us access to resources, learnings and stories from our local area.


The Toku Reo Māori Language Learning workshops- A great tool for self learning and language acquisition. 100 lessons from greetings to pōwhiri.

Māori Dictionaries

Check out some of the online Māori dictionaries available.

Māori Dictionary


A Dictionary of the Māori Language


Check out these fantastic online versions of the Te Huinga Raukura boxed sets of multimedia resources available on the Mātauranga Māori website. There are flipbooks with audio as well as teacher support material and student activities available to download as PDFs.

https://www.maorilanguage.net/ The aim of this website is to help learners with the basics of Te Reo. It contains written, audio, and visual content

https://tewhanake.maori.nz/ A comprehensive set of resources for learning and teaching Māori language.