Curriculum Statement



‘Tōku awa koiora me ōna pikonga he kura tangihia o te mātāmuri’


The Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson Curriculum Statement is based on Te Awa o Waikato as the symbolic metaphor of life long learning as it journeys through the Waikato and passes sites of significant events in Waikato history.


The River is a living embodiment of our tribal identity and as such is a living taonga. Students are kaitiaki of the River and therefore responsible for their own life-long learning journey. The journey in education ebbs and flows just as the River does in its flow to the open sea.


Students enter as young children in Year 1 and embark on a learning journey that sees them exit Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson on the cusp of teenage-hood with physical, intellectual, social, cultural and spiritual skills and knowledge ready for the next phase in their journey toward becoming young Waikato Tainui adults ably prepared to contribute on the national and international stage.


The waka that traverse the waters of the Waikato symbolise the richness of knowledge that will be attained during the learning journey from many local, regional, national and international sources to ensure a well-provisioned journey. Waka are guided by Korotangi the sacred talisman who led Tainui waka to Aotearoa from Hawaiiki with Waiwawa as our guiding taniwha. They are symbolic of traditional knowledge and our Waikato heritage.


The kaihautu symbolise the many people involved who contribute to the rich store of knowledge that the child enters and exits with. At times the kaihautu may be teachers in the kura and at other times they may be parents, Boards of Trustees members, leaders, kaumatua and experts from outside the kura. We are all responsible for ensuring that our students succeed and that the waka they embark on are well positioned and ably led. All adults that students come into contact with should be regarded as kaitiaki of the Kīngitanga and Waikato Tainui.


Turangawaewae mō te Kīngitanga


The formal schooling journey begins at Turangawaewae symbolising the heart of the Kīngitanga under the leadership of Kīngi Tūheitia. It is here that the programme-planning phase begins with each teacher developing a rich programme relevant to the needs of the students as determined by Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson with alignment to Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. The teacher fills the waka with appropriate people and resources to make the learning journey that traverses both te ao Māori and te ao Pākehā capturing knowledge from both and utilising skills learned from both.


On the journey there are three significant landmarks which house symbolic kete of learning:


Te Kete Mātauranga Māori


‘Ko Taupiri te Maunga’


Te Kete Mātauranga Māori is placed at Taupiri. It contains traditional Māori knowledge across all learning endeavours and is underpinned by te reo o Waikato me ōna tikanga. From this kete, teachers along with the students can select areas of knowledge and assessment that best fit the programme developed at Turangawaewae.


Topics of study reflect the needs of the student as determined by the whānau, marae, hapu and iwi; the talents and expertise of teachers; and draw on iwi expertise and resources to ensure authenticity. All learning is through the medium of te reo Māori.


Preferential areas to study: significant Waikato Tainui landmarks, events, customs and practices and figures in Waikato Tainui history especially with regard to the establishment and maintenance of Turangawaewae Marae i.e. narratives of determination, perseverance and commitment


Te Kete Mātauranga Tauiwi


‘Ko te Pou o Mangatāwhiri’


Te Kete Mātauranga Tauiwi is placed at Mangatāwhiri where British troops invaded the Waikato in July 1863. It is the point of te whakaeke o te Pākehā ki roto o Waikato. It is where the two worlds collided! It is a significant landmark in a number of ways and it symbolises the need to equip students’ with knowledge, skills and strategies to be able to also function effectively in the Western World.


The kete contains traditional Western knowledge across all fields of learning and is underpinned by the English language and customs. It complements Te Kete Mātauranga Māori while concomitantly meeting the needs of traditional mainstream curricula and qualifications. Learning is bilingual from Year 6 to Year 8 i.e. English as a formal subject of study is introduced at Year 6.


Preferential areas to study: continued literacy and numeracy development in both Māori and English, exploring the digital divide, career guidance, advice and planning


Te Kete Mātauranga Koioranga

Te Paina

‘Te Nohoanga o te Pani me te Rawakore’


Te Kete Mātauranga Koioranga is placed at Te Paina, the original stronghold of Te Puea. It was from here that she moved the families to Ngāruawāhia to fulfil the prophecy of her tupuna Kīngi Tawhiao – ko Ngāruawāhia tōku turangawaewae!


The kete contains traditional and modern knowledge across the fields of mathematics, higher learning and tribal affairs. It contains Western and Māori knowledge across a number of fields that encourages students to choose career pathways that contribute to iwi growth and development.


Preferential areas to study: ‘Mahia te mahi hei painga mō te iwi’, retaining/restoring mana whenua, mana moana, indigenous creativity and resourcefulness


‘Tamaki Ararau, Tamaki Makaurau’


Each teacher anchors the waka at Pūkaki, renown as a national and international trading post. It is here that the learning journey is evaluated, bolstered and refined in preparation for the student’s next leg into the wide world. Achievements and qualifications have personal and whānau, marae, hapu and iwi benefits.


Preferential areas to study: bridging the divide to secondary education (and beyond), developing relationships with tribal entities and other indigenous nations


Te Puaha o Waikato


Te Puaha is the outlet of the Waikato River to the open sea and the world as students complete their (secondary) education journey and look forward with hope and promise to realise their goals and aspirations.


Preferential topics of study: grooming the Waikato Tainui ideal graduate


Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson Curriculum



The Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson Curriculum statement is underpinned by the spirit of Sir Bernard Fergusson after whom the kura was named; and also the symbols that embellish the kura logo.


Sir Bernard Fergusson, Governor General of New Zealand and Dependencies 1962 – 1967, was steadfast and very vocal in his belief that Māori and Pākehā should recognise the resilience and vitality in one another and work together to forge a nation built on humanitarian values. He was by all accounts bilingual and his close association with the Kīngitanga dates back to when both his grandfather and father served as Governor General of New Zealand and Dependencies from 1873 – 1874 and 1924 – 1930 respectively. He represents all that is good about building bridges based on mutual respect and understanding.


The kura logo has the crown of Queen Elizabeth II as its head; the Christian cross is central; the book denotes learning; the Scotch thistle and bumble bee are the personal insignia of Sir Bernard Fergusson and symbolise the industriousness required of the bumble bee to achieve sweet success; Korotangi is the sacred talisman that protected and guided Tainui waka; the poutama is a traditional design depicting the upward journey to nirvana; and the motto ‘Kia kaha katoa’ composed by Mamae Takerei reiterates Sir Bernard Fergusson’s and Te Puea’s call to work together for the benefit of all.


Programmes of Work

Teaching and learning programmes are based on Te Marautanga o Aotearoa aligned with the Waikato Tainui Education Strategy 2008 – 2012 and identified student needs. Each kete holds Waikato Tainui specific topics of study that are developed into units of work with accompanying resource materials and assessment tools. Teachers are responsible for developing learning programmes that affirm students’ identities while concomitantly stretching them to become critical thinkers and learners.


Units of Work

Teaching and learning activities must engage learners in authentic learning experiences i.e. experiencing the learning rather than learning about an experience is crucial to engage learners. Activities must be supported with a rich assortment of resources including texts, visual and multi-media materials, guest speakers and authentic learning contexts that are appropriate and relevant to students at local, national and quite possibly international level. With the publication of the Waikato Tainui Education Strategy 2009 – 2012 there is an obligation to focus teaching and learning resources on the key journeys and align them with Te Marautanga o Aotearoa. This approach will add authenticity to student learning journeys.



Assessment will be aligned to the soon-to-be implemented Ngā Whanaketanga Rumaki Māori. However, teachers will also be required to gather evidence from naturally occurring kura and community events to build richer student profiles e.g. Y7 – 8 camp, Poukai, Coronation, field trips. Anecdotal observations from community members may also add to individual student profiles.


Virtual Learning Opportunities

It is envisaged that students will soon have the opportunity to access essential Waikato Tainui knowledge via a virtual portal. Accessing and contributing to the virtual portal by Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson along with other Waikato Tainui kura/wharekura will contribute to and consolidate tribal knowledge and capacity.


Whakatupuranga 2050

The tribal strategic blueprint has three primary developmental objectives that are directly relevant to the Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson curriculum:

Furthermore, to progress achievement of these developments in the next five years, the Education Strategy is specifically focussed on the following key learning journeys:

The clear intention of the Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson curriculum is to align itself with tribal educational aspirations while simultaneously meeting Ministry of Education requirements.


Mahia te mahi hei painga mō te iwi


This tongi by Te Puea Herangi was adopted by Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson as its Mission Statement:

“Do the work for the betterment of the people. I believe that this tongi of Te Puea's is the principle saying which re-enforces the following:

Manaakitia te iwi i.e. always provide hospitality (in the first instance for and to the people)

Whangaingia te tangata i.e. the people must be fed no matter who they are or where they are from

Kia mau ki te aroha me te rangimarie i.e. when all else fails, hold fast to the value of aroha, peace and good will.

Te Puea's determination to uphold the wishes of her uncle and mother is captured in the key principle. Forced by Mahuta to take responsibility of the people and provide for their needs; her mother Tiahuia's deathbed wish to her was to care for the people.

As a landless people all we had left was our faith that kept Waikato iwi strong. Waikato's belief in this faith called Kingitanga became its salvation.”


This interpretation of the tongi was given by Mamae Takerei (17th October 2006)


The tongi advocates a devotion to ensuring the welfare of all the people through industriousness, self-reliance and commitment.

Our Mission Statement also takes into consideration Tainui’s role as kaitiaki of the Kīngitanga and Tainui’s commitment to people as its major resource.

The curriculum is evolutionary in nature and changes after evaluation and reflection on an annual basis in order to remain current and relevant to our students, staff, community and the changing world we live in.



Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson continues to review its teaching and learning programmes in order to:

Internal Review and Alignment

An internal review of learning and teaching guidelines identified the need to develop a curriculum statement that aligned with the Marautanga o Aotearoa and indeed the Waikato Tainui Education Strategy 2008 – 2012. Rather than reinvent the wheel permission was sought and granted from the principal of Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga to adapt its curriculum statement to the Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson context. Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson remains indebted to Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga for the forethought that has gone into this statement. 

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson Strategic Outcome

The ideal Waikato Tainui graduate from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Bernard Fergusson is intellectually, physically, socially, culturally and spiritually enriched to further their educational journey to secondary school and beyond.

Broad Outcomes