Curriculum leads are ready to connect

Issue: Volume 100, Number 8

Posted: 30 June 2021
Reference #: 1HAMeZ

Curriculum leads | kaihautū marautanga are looking forward to partnering with teachers and kaiako to design quality learning experiences for all ākonga.

The curriculum leads | kaihautū marautanga in Wellington at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke for a kanohi ki te kanohi hui.

The curriculum leads | kaihautū marautanga in Wellington at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke for a kanohi ki te kanohi hui.

The Ministry of Education has recruited a team of 38 talented and resourceful educators to provide curriculum support to teachers and kaiako through the Government’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. 

The curriculum leads | kaihautū marautanga are a new curriculum service that is responsive and accessible to teachers and kaiako. This service is being developed with teachers and kaiako and the curriculum leads are ready to start making connections in early learning services, kōhanga reo, schools and kura across the country. 

Wellbeing is the outcome of a well-designed responsive learning experience and curriculum leads, as a frontline support to teachers, will partner with them to achieve this outcome. In addition, curriculum leads will be able to guide teachers through new curriculum wellbeing supports and resources.

Well-designed curriculum experiences: 

  • involve ākonga and their whānau
  • reflect the languages, identities, and cultures of ākonga
  • consider the local context of each learning setting 
  • ensure ākonga are supported to make progress.

How did this new role come about?

This role started in August 2020 with funding from the Government’s Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. The Ministry engaged with the sector to create the job description for the roles. This was refined, and recruitment began in November 2020. The first curriculum leads were on board by 18 January 2021.

There are now 38 regional curriculum leads in place in the regions. Four are senior curriculum leads who are specialists in their pathway – early learning services, Māori medium, primary and secondary schooling. This new way of working alongside teachers and kaiako will see the curriculum leads build educationally strong connections across their region, helping connect teachers with the right curricula support. 

What does a curriculum lead do? 

Curriculum leads | kaihautū marautanga partner with teachers and kaiako to ensure all ākonga experience a rich and responsive curriculum that supports wellbeing, which is essential to thriving and flourishing in learning. The curriculum leads’ work will help support the government’s strategic objective of increasing the wellbeing of children and youth.

Curriculum leads are about the whole system learning together and from each other. They are there to help teachers and kaiako to use and make sense of the national curricula frameworks and supports so they can design great learning opportunities for ākonga. This will mean that ākonga will experience what is intended in the national curricula in a way that is relevant to them, their whānau and their community.

Curriculum leads can also help kaiako to make sense of curriculum wellbeing supports (e.g. the mental health guidelines, Te Kōreroreo l Talking Together, Early Learning or Te Ira Tangata). To do this, they could support teachers and kaiako to interpret and understand resources and help them tailor these to their unique context and for their ākonga.

How will they work with you?

Curriculum leads | kaihautū marautanga will work with you to determine what you need. They can help you to build knowledge and skills and connect you with people, resources, and places. They can provide three levels of support:

  • Self-directed.
  • Guided.
  • Supported. 

Meet your curriculum leads

Loretta Schmidt, curriculum lead 

Loretta Schmidt, Curriculum Leader

Loretta Schmidt, Curriculum Leader

secondary – Invercargill

Why did you apply to become a curriculum lead?

I was part of the Kōrero Mātauranga in Christchurch and heard ākonga say they didn’t see themselves or understand why they were learning what they were learning. The community and whānau questioned this too. I felt an immediate connection to the kaupapa of the curriculum lead role and wanted to support the wellbeing of our Māori and Pacific ākonga. 

As a Māori and Pacific teacher, I took responsibility for looking after my community and youth. As a mentor and careers advisor for Pacific students, I guided them at school and transitioning into work or further study. I strongly believe in hauora and I love education. I believe that this role will enable me to make a difference for our ākonga.

What is the most important part of your role?

Working with kaiako to help them develop their own flavour of curriculum for their ākonga. Influencing change for the better and giving our ākonga a chance to be successful in their own skin. 

How will your job make a difference for kaiako?

I believe I will be able to have those hard conversations and challenge kaiako to do better and to expand their scope to give ākonga relevant and meaningful learning opportunities.   

Why is local curriculum | marua-ā-kura important?

Local curriculum or marau-ā-kura is important because ākonga need to see themselves in the curriculum, to be relevant, meaningful and they need to have a sense of belonging. Whānau must have input because it helps shape the futures for our children. This will help ākonga be more engaged, more successful and will enhance their wellbeing and wairua.

What is the biggest opportunity for the pathway?

To make a difference for not only our ākonga and their whanau, but for our kaiako too. Making a difference for our kaiako means every student will be engaged and impacted. A kaiako plants the seed that flourishes so ākonga reach their potential. The smallest change can make a difference.


TeRiini Kapa-Henare, curriculum lead  
Māori medium and early learning – Tai Tokerau

TeRiini Kapa-Henare, curriculum lead

TeRiini Kapa-Henare, curriculum lead

He aha koe i tono ai hei kaihautū marautanga? Why did you apply to become a curriculum lead?

Ko taku tino kai ko te noho me te whakarongo ki ngā kōrero me ngā wheako o te hunga Māori mō tōna whakatupuranga. He ātaahua ngā kōrero e whakaari mai ai te whakatangata a tēnā a tēnā ki tōna anō ao.

I tērā wiki i Tunatahi (Dargaville) i tūtakitaki au ki tētahi whānau, ko te tono rātou ki te pūtea o Te Aho Ngārahu hei waihanga rauemi mō ngā taitamariki o te kōhanga reo me ngā kura o tō rātou anō rohe. Ko te tuhi pukapuka, ko ngā kāri kōrero anō e pā ana ki tō rātou kuia me tōna whakatupuranga. Nā tō rātou kuia i whakatū ai he kōhanga reo ki tōna kāinga, ka mutu i whakawhiwhi ki a ia he Tohu Whakapakari he ahakoa kīhai ia i kōrero Māori mō ōna 20 tau. 

Taku mīharo nui ki ngā kōrero i puta mai mō tō rātou kuia. I hoki aku mahara ki taku whakatupuranga me taku waimarie i tupu ake au i ngā rekereke aroha o ōku whaea kēkē. Nā rātou taku reo Māori i whakatō kia titia iho ki tōku ngākau, nā rātou taku wairua i māia kia tū pakari ai ahau ki taku taha Māori, ao Māori; ki taku taha Pākehā, ao Pākehā anō. Kia mātua mōhio pū rā anō ahau, he mokopuna ahau nā te tupuna rangatira a Rāhiri. 

Ko rātou ko ōku whaea kēkē aku kaiako matua, ko rātou ngā kaiako rongonui o tōku nei ao. Nā rātou ahau i nanao atu ki ō rātou panekoti, ki te whakarongo ki ngā kōrero huri haere ana i ngā pātū o ngā wharenui. Ka pātai mai rātou ki a au ki ōku anō whakaaro, he ahakoa taku tamariki noa. Nā te haumaru o tēnā momo wāhi ako kua tau ki roto i a au koirā he āhuaranga tika mō te ako, koinei he āhuaranga pai mō te hunga tamariki kia taea ai e rātou te noho ki ngā kōrero ā ōna mātua ki te whakarongo, ki te whai whakaaro ki ngā kaupapa, ā, kia kōrerohia ōna whakaaro ki mua o te tangata pēnei i a au.

I love to kōrero with people and hear their stories. Last week I visited a whānau in Dargaville who were interested in applying for the Te Aho Ngārahu funding by creating resources for kōhanga reo and kura. They have a concept of writing and talking about their kuia, her life’s journey and how she became a kaiako and started her own kōhanga reo that was situated on her whenua after many years of not speaking te reo Māori.

I sat with this whānau in their home, sharing stories, recording ideas, listening to them reminisce, laugh, cry, sing and tell me about what they had already accomplished so far. This reminded me of my own upbringing and how immensely emerged I was with love for who I am as a Māori kōtiro, a daughter of a Pākehā woman and Māori father constantly exposed and reminded of how amazing it is to be a mokopuna of Rāhiri. 

My most valuable and influential kaiako have been my aunties; they gave me confidence, planted the seed of te reo Māori into my soul, and always let me sit beside them inside our whare tupuna while listening to the rich kōrero taking place. They would ask me what I think and would involve me in their kōrero, no kaupapa was out of bounds. I always felt safe with them. This is where my most influential learning memories come from. 

What is a local curriculum | marau-ā-kura?

The curriculum leads | kaihautū marautanga can help you create great learning opportunities for your ākonga. They can offer support to introduce and guide you through new curriculum wellbeing supports. You can connect with one through your local Ministry of Education office(external link).

A local curriculum | marau-ā-kura is the way that you bringthe curricula to life at your early learning service, kōhanga reo, school, or kura. It should:

  • Be responsive to learning priorities, identities, languages, cultures, interests, strengths, and aspirations of your ākonga, their whānau and community
  • Include the cultural narrative of local hapū and iwi 
  • have a clear focus on supporting the progress of all learners
  • Integrate Te Tiriti o Waitangi into teaching, learningand curricula design
  • Help learners engage with the curricula as confident and connected lifelong learners. 

The curriculum leads | kaihautū marautanga in Wellington at Te Wharewaka o Pōneke for a kanohi ki te kanohi hui.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 12:52 PM, 30 June 2021

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