CK9qg2AUAAAyuhBTe Reo Māori is a taonga – a national treasure – and yet it’s declining on a national level. The latest 2013 Census reveals only 4% of the national population can speak Te Reo well enough to hold a conversation. This shows the urgent need for Te Reo to be promoted and supported.

At present, 70% of Māori school students in Auckland are getting very little or no Te Reo, meaning the majority of Māori students are missing out on the social, economic and cultural benefits to be gained by learning Te Reo Māori.

Working alongside community, council and iwi groups, COMET Auckland plays an active role in discussing and advocating for the best strategies to promote Te Reo Māori in Tāmaki Makaurau, with an increased emphasis on quality, early childhood learning to support Māori learners and whānau.

Te Reo revitalisation has become an important topic of conversation at the Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum, which COMET’s Māori Education Manager Hauāuru Rawiri leads and facilitates. The TMEF platform is used to discuss effective strategies to identify what is working in our communities and what can be developed further.

A TMEF hui held in November included over 20 iwi representatives, the Education Review Office, Te Puni Kokiri, the Ministry of Education, Serco, Auckland Transport and Auckland Council, and it was agreed that Te Reo revitalisation is a community issue and is addressed more effectively with a single focus from across the sector.

The TMEF hui in May discussed government and community engagement strategies, language resilience and how policy can support Māori education.

The hui in May also identified four focus areas which were:

• Empowering communities – supporting community initiatives around Māori education.

• Speaking Te Reo – encouraging Māori to be comfortable in participating and speaking Te Reo in immersion environments.

• Best Learning – identify broad strategies that foster effective iwi cohesion.

• Te Ataarangi – maintaining Te Reo proficiency outside of immersion environments.

One further action towards supporting Te Reo Māori revitalisation this year has been support for a collaborative project led by Auckland Transport, with Kiwa Digital and Pukekohe North School, to develop a fantastic new resource that became available in Māori Language Week 2015.

He Rā Ngahau Mā Te Whānau I Runga Tereina, or Whānau Fun on the Train is a digital book available in both Te Reo Māori and English, and is a valuable resource for local Māori cultural history and Te Reo language.

The book is about a whānau from Pukekohe who go by train on a day trip to Eden Park to watch the Dick Smith NRL Auckland Nines. Along the way the whānau teaches us Māori history of Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) by sharing stories about sites of significance such as maunga (mountains), events and traditional names for train stops. The app can be downloaded free and is a wonderful resource for schools and kura, and also for families wishing to strengthen and celebrate Te Reo Māori with their children.

To read the full report, click here.



The Learning Auckland leadership table was fortunate to host Lisa Rodgers, Deputy Secretary for Evidence, Data and Knowledge at the Ministry of Education, in August 2015. Lisa gave us a detailed presentation on the cradle to career pathway for young people in Auckland, to inform our planning for future Learning Auckland actions.

Lisa and her team had conducted analyses specifically for this session, around the Learning Auckland measures, so the presentation included data that is not easily available from other sources. The data gave us a rich picture of what is happening for Māori, Pasifika and new Aucklanders and the MOE’s insights about the choke points – where children and young people are not currently successful.

In order to bring wider viewpoints to the discussion around the data, the leadership table extended an invitation to members of the Tāmaki Makaurau Education Forum and RAISE Pasifika. Lisa’s presentation was followed by a rich question and discussion time, and we will be collating questions and comments from participants and passing these on to Lisa for further data requests, and to the leadership table as they plan their next steps.

You can view the presentation here

If you’d like more information on Learning Auckland, please contact Alison Sutton, COMET Auckland’s Manager, Literacy, at

Why Fathers should encourage their kids to read

books_blue_photography_pink_abstract_hd-wallpaper-1879901COMET Auckland manager for literacy and family learning Alison Sutton spoke to about the gender gap in literacy and oracy, and how we can help combat it this Father’s Day and Tuesday’s International Literacy Day.

In Auckland primary schools, 81% girls are reading at or above the standard level for their age, compared to 72.6% of boys who are reading at the same level.

These figures are significantly lower down in South Auckland areas captured by Auckland Council’s The Southern Initiative programme, with only 58.9% of boys reading at or above the standard for their age.

“Those figures are really worrying, because the gaps in literacy between girls and boys widen as young people go through their education journey,” said Alison.

As these boys grow into adulthood, this can result in a lack of the basic literacy skills needed for adults to do their jobs, said Alison, and can have a negative impact on their children’s reading.

“We need to build the literacy levels of parents and caregivers so that our young people can get the best start in school, and adults can thrive in their work,” she said.

There’s a call for an increased focus on literacy for boys and men across the country, so in keeping with the Father’s Day and International Literacy Day theme, COMET Auckland is encouraging fathers and father-figures to spend more time talking, reading and singing with their kids.

If you’re interested in reading the full article click here, or if you want to know more about oracy programme Talking Matters, click here.

Help promote Talking Matters this International Literacy Day

Talking MattersSupporting parents to help their kids learn is the key to getting more children reading successfully and getting the best start in education.

Oral language is the foundation for literacy, so we’re using International Literacy Day – Tuesday 8 September – to promote the importance of talking, singing, storytelling and reading to children.

Before we can read and write, we have to speak, listen and understand, so children need to be exposed to an abundance of language in their everyday lives.

A great way to grow children’s brains is through conversational turns – where the conversation goes back and forth between the adult and child at least five times (this is more than asking them questions).

Here are seven things you can do to support literacy and oracy on International Literacy Day:

  • Dedicate the day to storytelling – invite a couple of parents to tell stories about their lives, or to tell the legends of their families and cultures
  • Read aloud – read to your own kids or have them read to you or each other. Have every class read at the same time
  • Create a random act of reading – grab a pile of books and take your children to read in the public such as the park, a café, or even on the footpath
  • Spread the word – tell parents a couple of simple, free and easy ways to help grow their children’s brain by talking, singing and reading to them. One great idea is to make a collaborative digital book with your children
  • Have a book swap next week – bring in books from home, ask other parents to do the same, and have a book swap
  • With Father’s Day coming up this Sunday, ask all the Dads or father-figures you know to read to their children, and post a photo of it on social media
  • Spread the word to your staff at work by having a short training session about the importance of oral language and consider how as an employer you might help improve literacy for your own staff

Keep up with us online

We will be posting facts, stats and updates about International Literacy Day and Talking Matters on Twitter – you can follow us here.

If you’re on Twitter, use #TalkingMatters in your tweets to help get our message across.

If you want to know more information about Talking Matters click here, or check out the links below for some recent interviews and articles on oracy and literacy:


Auckland-Council-logoAuckland Council’s Long Term Plan, which sets out key areas of expenditure and focus for the next ten years, is currently out for consultation.

We encourage you to have your say on the issues that affect education and learning in the city.

One of these issues is the proposal to dramatically reduce COMET Auckland’s funding, which means we are at risk of losing 43% of our budget.  We are concerned that this would compromise the quality of service we provide, and could ultimately threaten our existence altogether.

If you wish to make a submission to Auckland Council in support of retaining full funding for our work, you can access background information and suggested messages here. We also have these key points and statements summarised in a one page document, which you can access here.

Submissions can be made via email or by taking a survey on the council website. For social media users, Auckland Council is also taking submissions via Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #LTP2015 and by tagging @AklCouncilSubmissions close at 4:00pm on 16 March 2015.

There is also an opportunity to chat with board members about local proposals and issues in the budget. A list of ‘Have Your Say’ events can be accessed here.

For more information on the Auckland Council’s long term plan, please click here.

For the full March 2015 newsletter, please click here.


Whānau Ara Mua, our own family learning programme is thriving. Last week 122 adults, mostly Maori and Pasifika students crossed the stage and received their qualification, a Level 2 Certificate in Family Learning and Child Development. The 80% graduation rate is a huge achievement for these tertiary priority learners, and a testament to the strong pastoral care provided by Solomon Group. It is wonderful to see how the programme has changed the lives of these students, and the lives of their families. Almost all participants are sole parents on benefits, who are looking to both better support their children and build their own employability and confidence.

I now understand some of the school curriculum and where my children should be for their learning age.

I am now making time for my children and we are now all spending more time with each other. We talk a lot about our problems or about what we did during our day; we also give my two year old son a chance to talk as well, which is great.

Whanau Ara Mua has given me and my family a brighter future

Next year Whanau Ara Mua expands to 220 places in 12 sites across the city. For information about the new sites or connecting learners to the programme, contact

For the full November newsletter, please click here.


Last month, the Auckland Financial Literacy Network hosted its meeting at the Ruapotaka Marae, with a focus on culturally appropriate ways to support financial well-being for Māori.
We would like to extend an invitation to our next financial literacy meeting, hosted by COMET Auckland and the Commission for Financial Literacy and Retirement Income, on Friday 17th October, from 9:00am – 12:00pm on the 8th floor of the Deloitte Building in Auckland CBD (80 Queen Street, Auckland).We discussed some of the issues that Māori face in understanding money, healthy pathways for increasing wellbeing through managing money and why culture is important when teaching financial literacy to whanau.
For the full September COMET Auckland Newsletter please click here.

Maori Education Snapshot

We are pleased to announce our latest resource A snapshot of Māori Education in Tāmaki Makaurau 2013 is now complete and ready to be put to good use. Click here to view the snapshot.

Maori education snapshot

The Maori education snapshot is ready now

The snapshot offers useful information, statistics and recommendations on Māori education and skills in Auckland, covering ECE and Kohanga, school and NCEA achievement, transitions, language and some suggestions on how we can ensure rangatahi and tamariki get the best out of their education and are well-prepared for later life.

Snapshot highlights:

–         Of the 8,925 tamariki enrolled in ECE in 2012, only 13% were enrolled in te Kohanga Reo

–         NCEA Level 2 pass rates for Māori are improving, but there is still an achievement gap between Māori and non-Māori

–         27% of young Māori left school with no qualifications in 2011, compared to 13% of Auckland school leavers

To request hard copies of the Māori education snapshot, please contact Raewyn Hooper at or you can access the snapshot via COMET Auckland’s website here.

Spotlight on: Māori Education hui


Education hui are in full swing across Tamaki Makaurau

Tēnā koutou katoa

Tuia i runga, Tuia i raro, Tuia i roto, Tuia i waho

Tuturu ki ō whiti, Whakamaua kia Tina! Hui e.. Tāiki e!

Ngā mihi manahau ki a koutou i ngā āhuatanga o te tau hōu Māori.

Puanga ki te Uru, Matāriki ki te Rāwhiti.

Ngā Pou e Whā, ko te pae tāwhiti ka matapae, ka kitea, ka tutuki.

I te Rāhina 24 o Pipiri, i whakatūria ai e COMET Auckland te hui tuatahi mō ngā Mana Whenua o Tāmaki Makaurau. Ko te whāinga o te hui ka whiriwhirihia ngā kōrero kia whakaū He Kāhui Māori – hei Reo Mātauranga mō te rohe o Tāmaki Makaurau, arā mā te Māori, mō te Māori.

1. Kua whakaae te whakaū, engari ka whiriwhiri tonu te whakaaro whakaū o te Kāhui Māori – hei Reo Mātauranga mō te rohe o Tāmaki Makaurau

2. Ka waihangatia e ia iwi Mana Whenua tōna ake Mahere Mātauranga ka hāngai ki te Kāhui Māori – Reo Mātauranga o te rohe.

3. Ka tū tonu ngā hui ka mahingātahi, ka tohatoha ngā mōhiotanga mātauranga ki waenganui iwi Mana Whenua Māori.

E rua ngā rōpū Māori:

1. Ko ngā Mana Whenua Māori

2. Ko ngā Taurāhere/Mātāwaka Māori

Hei ngā marama e heke mai nei ka whiriwhiri kōrero, te whakarite hui mō ngā iwi taurāhere o Tāmaki Makaurau.

Mauri ora ki te whei ao, ki te ao mārama.

As part of our continued focus on improving education outcomes for Māori learners, COMET Auckland’s Project Manager for Māori Education, Hauāuru Rawiri, recently organised the first event in a series of hui, aimed at bringing iwi from around Tāmaki Makaurau together to shape a cohesive education plan for Māori.

Key points raised in the Mana Whenua Hui (Māori of the Auckland region):

–          The mainstream, Pākehā-dominant education system doesn’t fully recognise Mātauranga Māori

–          A comparative analysis of outcomes in Kura versus mainstream education should be carried out, to inform discussions of how to bring Mātauranga Māori into mainstream systems

–          There are opportunities to share practice among iwi and for Charter Schools to enable Mātauranga Māori to improve education outcomes

–          Participants at the hui also expressed the need to pathway education for older children according to their interests at Wharekura level.

Next steps for the Māori Education Plan:

Moving forward, we want to include all of the 19 Mana Whenua iwi in this important conversation, so we can share insight and knowledge and create a Vision and Mission to guide actions in the future.

Each of the Mana Whenua iwi have plans and aspirations for education and ongoing hui and workshops will be an opportunity to share those and to learn from each other which will then be fed back to the forum so that each individual group’s voice is strengthened while maintaining links between iwi.

Taurāhere (Māori who reside in Auckland but are not of the region) will be engaged over the next few months about their education plans and outcomes.

This will also ensure that all iwi of the region have the opportunity to work cooperatively together so that they can reach their potential with the establishment of a regional voice.


ImageThe Children’s Commissioner has published a highly useful report summarising the evidence about parent engagement in children’s learning.  The paper, Parents’, Families’ and Whānau Contributions to Educational Success, notes that families, educational settings and Government policies all contribute to the educational success of children. The report highlights the powerful opportunities for partnerships and collaboration – an approach COMET Auckland embraces wholeheartedly.

The report is simply presented with lots of evidence and information, and we recommend you read it if you are interested in learning and parent engagement. The report is summarised here and the full length version can be found here