Introducing The Māori Team 2021

It is our principal’s, Paula Farquhar, vision to give all teachers and students exposure and the opportunity to learn Te Reo and Tikanga Māori.

Great things don’t happen unless there is a group of people who are willing to support  this vision.  At Wairakei Primary School we have such a group of people in the Māori Curriculum team with each area of the school being represented.

E tu kahikatea, Hei whakapae uroroa

Awhi mai, awhi atu, tatou, tatou e

Kahikatea stand together; their roots intertwine,

Strengthening each other,

We all help one another and together we will be




Mel Isaaacson is from the Te Mihi team.

“Hi my name is Melissa Isaacson, and I am one of the Year 6 teachers in Te Mihi at Wairakei Primary School.  I am hoping to learn some more Te Reo sentences that I can use in my classroom with my children and share within my team.  I would also like the students in Te Mihi to be able to respond in Te Reo when asked a simple question.”



Ben Kidd is from the Aratiatia team.

“Kia ora e te whanau,

Ko Ben Kidd toku ingoa.

This is my second year at Wairakei Primary School and my second year on the Māori team. I'm really excited to be a part of the Te Reo Māori team for this year. I am hoping to develop my Te Reo by using it more naturally and in everyday conversations.  I also hope to instil a more rounded approach to tikanga into the classroom.”



Carla Ross is from the Ohaaki team.

“Kia ora, ko Carla Ross toku ingoa.”

I  teach year 4 in Room 1 at Wairakei Primary School. I am excited to be part of the Māori curriculum team for 2021. I aim to build on my own Te Reo knowledge by using more conversational language as well as building the children’s confidence in speaking and understanding  instructions as well as trying simple conversations in Te Reo . I am looking forward to a great year with an awesome team.”



Leanne Jackson is from the Te Huka team.

“Kia ora koutou. 

Ko Leanne toku ingoa.  I am a Year 1-2 kaiako and team leader for the Māori Team.  The more I learn about Te Reo and Tikanga Māori the more I want to learn. I enjoy supporting Matua Grant in getting our students' performance ready for the Ngāti Tūwharetoa Taiopenga Festiva. I also enjoy supporting our student leaders in learning the karanga and welcoming speeches for our Powhiri. I am looking forward to learning more about our local history and stories with the Tūwharetoa Cultural Development Programme.”



Susan Green is from the Poihipi team.

I have done various courses over my teaching career to learn Te Reo Māori and understand more about Tikanga Māori but feel there is so much more I could be learning and then teaching in the classroom.  Being part of the Māori team means making this a priority for myself and for my students and hopefully contributing positively to the school.



Jenna Foley is our Deputy Principal.

Tena koutou katoa

As a member of our Māori Curriculum Team I have enjoyed learning about the stories of our place. Returning to the area after 30 plus years away, and now bringing up my own children here, I am learning alongside the students of Wairakei Primary School about the importance of our unique place in the world. 



Paula Farquhar is our Principal.

My vision is to have every student at Wairakei Primary say their mihi to introduce themselves using Te Reo they have learnt at home or at school. They will know and understand the Tikanga of Tuwharetoa and feel connected to the Taupo rohi through their knowledge and understanding. Stories of the area will be retold by our students using visual art and language to express themselves and be woven into the daily learning programmes of our school.

Kāhore taku toa i te toa takitahi, he toa takitini

We cannot succeed without the support of those around us



Matua Grant is the kapa haka tutor,

He comes to Wairakei Primary School each week. Each team takes it in turn to learn waiata, haka, poi and takahanga wae wae (dance moves) and cultural knowledge. Matua Grant also takes taiaha lessons during the lunch break for those students who are interested in learning this skill. 

The Maori Team Goals for 2021 are:

  • To support teachers in integrating Te Reo and Tikanga Māori in their Te Reo  using simple phrases and karakia.

  • To support students and teachers with kapa haka engagement, skills and performance.

  • To support the development of Tūwharetoa Cultural Knowledge and Cultural Competency in the school.

Wairakei Primary School started 2021 with a trip in the Floating Classroom on Lake Taupo which Jenna Foley wrote about in an earlier blog. Kristy Northcroft shared with us the creation story of Tūwharetoa and how we could remember this story and retell it through Visual Art. There are some beautiful pieces of art throughout the school as a result of this. We are looking forward to hearing more stories from Kristy in the future.



Keywords: Te Reo, Mihi, Tikanga , Tūwharetoa