A new curriculum for Māori language immersion schools is being rolled out nationally after being trialled by some kura kaupapa around the country.
Based on six leading principles it aims to embed Māori knowledge and ensure tamariki are receiving instruction in and through te reo Māori.
Te Marautanga o Te Aho Matua, the new curriculum for Māori language immersion schools, encapsulates the six principles that were in the foundation document over 30 years ago.
The principles are unique to kura kaupapa in that they acknowledge Māori knowledge of nature and the universe as an integral part of learning.
Toni Waho, the tumuaki of Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa, said kura kaupapa were pleased they would finally have a nationally recognised and accepted document that respected the special way kura kaupapa educated tamariki:
"Kura will no longer have to work in this dichotomy of being legally required to take on board the New Zealand curriculum framework,Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, which doesn't have this approach, which has the cut-up, sliced up, seven subject approach to learning.
"And we're now being released from that and able to stand confident in what we know has been right for our children, and this document will pave the way to enabling our part of the education system to really flourish", he said.
Mr Waho said the new curriculum for kura kaupapa differed from the mainstream one in several ways, by including the spiritual dimension of a child from an holistic view point:
"We are completely different, our marautanga is completely different, we don't divide learning into seven subject areas.
"We take an holistic approach to learning and look at the essential elements of learning for the Māori child through the experiential base one would expect a Māori child to engage in throughout their life."
Rawiri Wright is the principle at Te Kura Kaupapa o Hoani Waititi in west Auckland - the very first Māori language immersion school - which will be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.
It was also the first kura to set itself up based on Te Aho Matua principles.
He said those schools that had trialled the new curriculum were excited for it to become the official document that all kura kaupapa would teach from:
"Kura have been trialling different aspects of the marautanga and they enjoy they love what they do, and they're good at what they do.
"And so the marautanga is going to help them [the teachers]. It's going to be another tool, another way for them to love what they do - even more.
"And to be able to continue to practise the art of great teaching, so, yeah, there's a high level of excitement", he said.
Mr Wright said the new curriculum brought together what kura kaupapa had been doing well for three decades:
"The marautanga itself is a collection of kaupapa, of topics that different kura around the country have been delivering and so we've brought them together in order to make them available to kura kaupapa aho matua, nationally", he said.
Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa will be launching the curriculum at its annual general meeting in March in Kaitāia.