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Underpinned by Atua Matua, Mātaiao is a Kaupapa Māori initiative supporting kura and kaiako (teachers) to implement a Te Ao Māori approach through whakapapa and matauranga Māori to connect tamariki to te taiao (the environment) for better health and wellbeing outcomes.

Led by Sport New Zealand Ihi Aotearoa, in partnership with Ngā Pākura, and supported by the Ministry of Education, Mātaiao is a culturally distinctive pathway within the Government’s Healthy Active Learning initiative.

As a pilot initiative, Tapuwaekura has supported select kura kaupapa Māori, wharekura and kura ā-iwi across Aotearoa since 2020. In 2023,  Tapuwaekura was expanded throughout Aotearoa. Along with the expansion, Tapuwaekura was renamed Mātaiao, which means to observe and learn from the environment.

At its core Mātaiao nurtures a thriving taiao through reconnecting ākonga (students) with the languages and environmental knowledge of atua Māori.

Enhancing learning through te taiao

In the video above, ākonga (students) at Te Kura o Te Muriwai in Gisborne Tairāwhiti are igniting their passion for learning through connecting with te taiao. The kura is one of 34 across the motu supported by Mātaiaio.

Mātaiao website (External)


Underpinned by Kaupapa Māori-centred evaluation practices, Te Paetawhiti Ltd and Associates have led the evaluation of Tapuwaekura, focused on understanding:

  1. What is important when implementing Tapuwaekura.
  2. What difference Tapuwaekura has made for tamariki, kaiako and kura.

Sport New Zealand Ihi Aotearoa would like to acknowledge Ngā Pākura, Te Paetawhiti and the kura involved in the evaluation of Tapuwaekura.

Mā te rongo, ka mōhio, mā te mōhio, ka mārama, mā te mārama, ka mātau

From listening comes knowledge, from knowledge comes understanding, from understanding comes wisdom

Total Number of Kura Engaged in Tapuwaekura 

Total number of Kura engaged in Tapuwaekura

Atua Matua Framework

This video by Waka Huia describes Atua Matua.


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