About Us

Our History

Ngaio Te Kōhanga Reo (often called Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngaio) is situated in the suburb of Ngaio, in the Tarikaka Street Railway Settlement, Te-Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington).

The property was initially leased from New Zealand Railways, with the purchase of the property taking place in September 1989. The Kōhanga has been operating in this area since 1983, initially from local whānau homes and then from Ngaio School before moving to the present location (58 Tarikaka Street) in 1984. The property has since paid off as of the beginning of 1997, and is now freehold. Ngaio Te Kōhanga Reo Trust has a charitable, non-profit status.

Through the 1990’s, Whānau of Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngaio have steadily built up the reputation of the Kōhanga which has resulted in increased services, and longer hours of operation. In 1998 the Whānau initiated the first stage of a three-stage renovation plan toward upgrading the facilities to enhance the learning environment and to increase quality standards. This concluded With the extension of the building in 2004 to accommodate more tamariki, and the recent re-development of the back section.

Local community groups have supported Kōhanga initiatives over the years, which have enabled our Kōhanga to become an established and respected part of the Ngaio community. One aim of the Kōhanga is to meet a vital need within the community in terms of offering the only immersion Māori early childhood education option.

Our Philosophy

A key aim of Te Kōhanga Reo o Ngaio is to provide high quality care in a positive learning environment for tamariki within a kaupapa Māori framework, based on tikanga Māori i roto i te reo Māori. Whānau believe this can be achieved through:

  • Co-operative teamwork and consensus in all decision-making within Kōhanga whānau;
  • Commitment and input from all whānau involved to support whānau kaupapa;
  • Positive working conditions and relationships for kaimahi;
  • Having experienced and motivated kaimahi;
  • Having an excellent curriculum based on Te Whariki and Te Korowai guidelines for meeting the holistic needs of our tamariki;
  • Providing a stimulating environment and quality equipment designed to promote learning;
  • Establishing good communication networks within the whānau, with various support groups and the wider community;
  • Providing opportunities for further training and development for kaimahi and whānau.

What is a Kōhanga Reo?

“I roto i nga tikanga, i roto i te puna aroha”

Te Köhanga Reo is a total immersion te reo Mäori whänau (family) programme for mokopuna (young children) from birth to six years of age to be raised within its whänau Mäori, where the language of communication will be Mäori. The operation and decision making of each Köhanga Reo is the responsibility of the whole whänau within the guidelines set down by Te Köhanga Reo National Trust Board. The Trust board and the whänau Köhanga Reo administer the kaupapa to ensure the safety and well-being of the mokopuna and the whänau and to ensure the survival of te reo Mäori.

The literal translation of the words ‘Köhanga Reo’, ‘language nest’, indicates that the retention of the Mäori language is one of the central objectives of the Köhanga Reo movement. The kaupapa of Te Köhanga Reo is based on total immersion in the language and culture which promotes learning within an appropriate cultural context, drawing on Mäori styles of learning and teaching. In this context wairua is an integral component.

Köhanga Reo centres provide a location and a purpose for people of all ages to meet and work together. The Köhanga Reo kaupapa is powerful in drawing people together to support each other and work towards the ultimate goal of a bilingual and bicultural nation.

The programme reaches young families who would not otherwise have taken part in early childhood services. Through Trust training branches it has provided opportunities for young Mäori to gain knowledge and skills and the confidence to enter and speak out in new spheres. The autonomy of the Köhanga reo within the kaupapa has meant that the Köhanga Reo whänau have had to acquire new administration and management skills in carrying out their responsibilities for the programme.

Köhanga Reo have been established in every district to ensure that every family has access, these centres. This will provide a place for learning Te Reo me öna tikanga Mäori and environment of whänaungatanga where the mokopuna will be nurtured within the bosom of the whänau, where Te Reo Mäori will prevail and where love and care will spring from the whänau.

Te Whariki

Te Whäriki defines learning outcomes for Köhanga Reo. Part of Te Whäriki sets out the ways in which the principles and strands will be put into practice in ngä Köhanga Reo.

Te Whariki is founded on four principles:

  1. Whakamana (empowerment)
  2. Kotahitanga (holistic development)
  3. Whänau Tangata (family and community)
  4. Ngä Hononga (relationships).

The strands and dimensions from which the curriculum “mat” is woven arise from these basic principles. The five strands are areas of learning and development and the four dimensions are aspects of people’s development.

Aims of Kōhanga

The policy of Te Köhanga Reo is comprehensive: it is education for life. It covers cultural, spiritual, social, economic, and educational aspects. Te Köhanga Reo aims to reaffirm Mäori culture through whänau development, thus restoring Mäori self-determination. In particular, it aims to achieve this goal through the organisation of local Köhanga Reo on a whänau model.

The aims of Te Köhanga Reo are:

  • Children will learn the Mäori language and culture, including the spiritual dimension, through immersion;
  • Language and cultural learning will be fostered and supported for all members of the whänau o te Köhanga Reo;
  • Members of the Köhanga Reo will learn within the whänau setting, a range of skills that supports the philosophy;
  • Collective responsibility for the administration and operations of the Köhanga Reo will be fostered through whänau development;
  • It is essential that all the people involved will develop a sense of being accepted and belonging;

The content, context and control of learning will be Mäori.