This lesson plan demonstrates my own content knowledge of Te Reo Māori (1a, 3b, 4e). I believe that my accurate spelling and pronunciation throughout the lesson fulfils 6e. This assignment also demonstrates my knowledge of and respect for Māori myths and their associated tikanga (6e).

Assessment Task 3 – Planning Assignment

Mark Received: 


(cohort mean:80.8%)

Answer to EDPROFST 601 – Assessment Task 3

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  1. Māori Focused Topic for Teaching

The topic for this paper is Māori Myths and Legends. Mythology is the most powerful of all story forms (Huber, 2013) and it was used by Māori to explain creation and natural phenomena (Biggs, 1866; Reed, 2004). These stories were passed down verbally for many generations with significant variations existing amongst tribes (Patterson, 1994).

An activity that will develop students’ appreciation for the Māori oral tradition is “Chinese whispers”. This activity will provide students with the opportunity to realize the fallible nature of oral traditions and demonstrate that original meanings can easily change (Hanson, 1989). Vansina (1985) supports this claim, stating that oral stories of the past are inseparable from contemporary prejudice. Adopting a critical approach to make sense of historical information is a key competency identified in the New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007).

Mythology was also communicated through dance, song, and art mediums. Trinick & Dale (2015) believe that traditional songs are infused with Māori knowledge and singing them can positively enhance learning potential. Lockmiller (2010) supports this claim, stating that rhythm makes it easier to memorise language and meaning. There are many Māori songs, such as those on the Winitana, Roberts & Arps (2005) album and Hei Waiata, Hei Whakakoakoa (Ministry of Education, 1992), that feature Māori language and mythology. In combination with Kapa haka, singing waiata enables students to be culturally connected (Trinick & Dale, 2015).

The most “mainstream” legends will be explored as they provide a plethora of teaching resources. Some sources claim there was a “high god” in Māori mythology, called Io (Lockmiller, 2010; Smith, 1913). However, this will not feature in any lessons as recounts of this tale are seemingly obscured with Christian agenda’s, notably, that their existed an awareness of their biblical god within Māori tribes prior to the arrival of missionaries (Simmons, 1976; Hiroa, 195l; Johansen, 1958).

The most widely accepted Māori creation story, as reported by Bests (1942), is that humans originated from two gods – Rangi and Papa. These gods were held in a tight embrace, so Tāne, their son, separated them which created light (Grace, Grace, & Potton, 2003). This tale could be used to introduce the Māori words for various colours and the science behind how light creates colour can be explored. Additionally, greetings, that are specific to a time of day (e.g. pō mārie), can also be taught.

Māori myths and legends are intertwined with many social traditions. Smith (2008, p.57) claims Māori believed “gods taught people how to live in every situation.” Therefore, conflict only arises when people act outside the rules set by the gods. A person breaking the rules shames the entire whanau as there was no notion of individualism (Gallagher, 2008). The tikanga of community accountability ensured social cohesion and strong whanau bonds.

Evidence of Māori myths influencing tikanga is also present when exploring tapu. Māori believed that the gods communicated through the master carvers (Lockmiller, 2010). For this reason, the carvers and their art are considered tapu. Furthermore, in Māori tradition, it is immoral to step over a sleeping persons’ head or pass anything over the head of another because it is the most tapu part of a person (Walker, 2012). Therefore, Māori myths can be used to teach students various tikanga of Māori culture.

Māori myths are also closely linked to New Zealand’s unique flora. In the Māui legend, Mahuika hid the seeds of fire in native plant species (Metge, 1999). This tale could be used to teach the Māori words for native plants. Additionally, students could call out the names of plants during a bush walk, to reinforce the language.

Te Ika-a-Māui will be the focus of this paper. In this legend, the hero Māui fishes up the north island of New Zealand (Gossage, 2005a). The well received Walt Disney Picture, Moana (Clements, Hall, & Williams, 2016), depicted Māui in a culturally sensitive and accurate manner (Daniels, 2017). In addition to the positive reception from children (Cordwell, 2016), teachers can leverage from the current enthusiasm surrounding Māui by introducing Te Ika-a-Māui in the classroom. Interesting learning activities related to this legend include – (1) visiting the aquarium and using te reo Māori to describe physical characteristics of fish, (2) performing a play that re-enacts this legend using te reo Māori, and (3) creating your own myth to explain an environmental phenomenon.

Overall, the activities mentioned throughout this paper will provide students with memorable learning experiences, building their Māori knowledge and te reo Māori proficiency.

  1. Three Abstracts and Ten Resources
1.      Ministry of Education. (2010). Te kete ipurangi. Retrieved 10 April 2017, from

Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI) is an online professional resource for New Zealand teachers. TKI is a bilingual website, featuring both Māori and English text. The site is primarily used by teachers as a source of specific teaching ideas and resources (Ham & Wenmoth, 2002). It contains curriculum materials, lesson plans, and other resources to enhance teaching.  Funded by the Ministry of Education, TKI is New Zealand’s largest storehouse for educational-related content (Anderson, 2004). One key advantage of this website is that the content is tailored to the New Zealand curriculum and features topics relevant to the children of the small nation.

Furthermore, the website is sub-divided into learning areas, including – Te Reo Māori in English-medium Schools. In this section of the site, teachers can find te reo Māori curriculum guidelines, lesson plans, success stories, and school strategies. The abundance of ideas and resources covers all of the curriculum achievement objectives. Moreover, the Te Kete Ipurangi teaching philosophy is aligned to current research, affirming that success is founded on the quality of student-teacher relationships (Feekery, 2016).

2.      Crown, P. (2009). Rereahu chronicles: rare and precious gems. Te Kuiti, New Zealand: Maraeroa C Inc

“Rereahu Chronicles: rare and precious gems” (Crown, 2009) is a book that features ten Māori mythological stories. The author, Crown (2009), is a New Zealand historian that acquired these stories from his grandparents. The stories had been passed down through many generations of his family. Rereahu Chronicles is a bilingual resource, consisting of an English version on one side and Māori on the other.

The first myth, Tāne -Kaha, is a story about the creation of the native New Zealand coniferous tree, of the same name. Through color, technique, and detail, the illustrations capture the essence of traditional Māori life. Crown explains the trees useful qualities, drawing attention to the Māori tikanga that a community is linked to the land (Orbell, 1998; Walker, 2012).

Nine more myths, enriched with old-time Māori traditions and culture, are featured in this book – (1) Pure-Ora-O-Kahu, (2) Ko Rere-Ahu, (3) Tu-Taka-Moana Rāua Ko Rangi-Pare, (4) Ko Te Kanawa Rāua Ko Tū-Te-Tawha, (5) Tē Matenga O Te Pehi, (6) Hāware Te Tipua, (7) Te Miri O Rukutia, (8) Te Taenga Mai O Te Kooti, and (9) Ko Pera Rāua Ko Te Tōpu. All of these stories feature Māori tikanga and are linked to Rereahu, a Māori iwi, and their historical land.

3.      Tipene, T. (2016). Māui – Sun Catcher. Auckland, New Zealand: Oratia Books.

“Māui – Sun Catcher” by Tipene (2016) is a modern retelling of the Māori myth about how Māui slowed the sun. Tipene’s graphic children’s novel features Māui as a schoolboy who lives in the city with his mum and four brothers. The problem Māui faces is that the days are too short, so with the support of his brothers, he catches the sun.

Key features are the bilingual text – both Māori and English. This provides students with the opportunity to read and listen to the Māori language with an English translation and illustrations available for support. Additionally, the novel has lively dialog, rhythm, and rhymes. These text features encourage expressive reading. Also present in the novel is personification (of the sun), stylized illustrations, traditional Māori symbols, and use of repetitive structure. The subtext of the novel is that conflict can be resolved through the tikanga of korero.

4.      Gossage, P. (2005). The Fish of Māui. Auckland, New Zealand: Reed Children’s Books.
5.      Anderson, D. (2009). Harakeke: Enhancing Māori Student Engagement and Achievement in a Mainstream Primary School. Retrieved from:
6.      Gossage, P. (2005). How Māui found the Secret of Fire. Auckland, New Zealand: Reed Children’s Books.
7.      Kahukiwa, R. (2012). Ngā Atua. Wellington, New Zealand: Mauri Tū.
8.      Hyland, Q. R. (2003). Illustrated Māori Myths and Legends. Auckland, New Zealand: Reed Books.
9.      Hohepa, P. (1989). Te ika a Māui. Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand: Te Ropu Mahipukapukakura.
10.  Duncan, T. (2009). Ōku tae Māori = My Māori colours. North Shore, New Zealand: Puffin Books.



3.     Three Learning Intentions

·         We are learning to say (at least three) colors in te reo Māori.

·         We are learning to use descriptive words in a sentence to communicate physical characteristics, using te reo Māori.

·         We are learning to ask and answer questions about locations of places in the North Island of New Zealand, using te reo Māori.

These learning intentions are derived from the Ministry of Educations (2009) achievement objectives which states that students should be able to communicate about physical characteristics and location in te reo Māori. They are linked to the theme of Māori myths and legends, as color would not exist if Tāne had not separated Rangi and Papa (Grace, Grace, & Potton, 2003). Furthermore, the demi-god Māui pulled up a giant fish which became the north island of New Zealand.
4.     Two connected learning activities

Māori Theme Māori Myths and Legends Year level: 2
Topic Te Ika-a-Māui
One learning intention for your two learning activities We are learning to use descriptive words in a sentence to communicate physical characteristics, using te reo Māori.
Māori Language Curriculum Language Modes Whakarongo (listening):  understand specific detail and overall meaning in familiar contexts and in some unfamiliar contexts.

Korero (speaking): give short prepared talks on familiar topics.

Māori language and content Key vocabulary:








Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara










Kei hea a Taranaki?

Kei te parirau o te ika.

Kei hea a Kaitaia?

Kei te hiku o te ika.

Kei hea a Taupō?

Kei te puku o te ika.

Kei hea a Te Whanganui-a-Tara?

Kei te upoko o te ika.

Where is Taranaki?

At the wing of the fish.

Where is Kaitaia?

At the tail of the fish.

Where is Taupō?

At the stomach of the fish.

Where is Wellington?

At the head of the fish.

(Ministry of Education, 2009)

Socio-cultural, tikanga to be taught The spiritual, cultural and social life of the community is linked to the land (Walker, 2012).


Learning Activity 1 1.      Begin by Gauging the prior knowledge of students with a group discussion about what myths and legends are. Possible openers to stimulate discussion include – (1) explain to me what a myth is, (2) what do you know about Māori myths? and (3) what can you tell me about Māui?

2.      Briefly introduce Māori legends and myths with a summary of the creation myth. Emphasise how all life – humans, fauna and flora – have the same origin, which is why Māori believe people are strongly connected with the land.

3.      Read “The Fish of Māui” (Gossage, 2005a) to the class. Ask students “what did the story explain?” and discuss their responses.  Read the story again, however, this time inform students that you will be asking for the meaning of the following Māori words afterward – Nukarau (trickster), Atamai (quick-witted), Utu (revenge), and Karakai (magical incantation).

4.      Explain that the Māori word for fish is ika and introduce four new words that describe the physical characteristics of a ika -hiku (tail), parirau (wing), puku (stomach), and upoko (head).

5.       Collaborate with the students to create a movement for each new word (e.g. upoko = pat your head) and play a game of “Simon Says”, whereby the instructor says one of the words and the students have to do the associated movement.

6.      Hand out the worksheet named “lesson_plan_worksheet_characteristics” and have students cut out the labels and correctly attach them onto the fish. They may color in the fish once they’re done labelling.

Learning Activity 2


1.      Begin the lesson with a game of “Simone Says” (as described in Activity 1), to reinforce prior learning.

2.      Read “Te Ika a Māui” (Hohepa, 1989) to build students familiarity with the common phonetic sounds and words of te reo Māori.

3.      Teach students how to ask where a place is – Kei hea a [location]? Next, teach students how to respond with an answer (using fish characteristics) – Kei te [characteristic] o te ika.

4.      Provide students with several examples, pointing to the location on the poster “lesson_plan_poster”.  In pairs, have one student repeat the question and the other repeat the response.

5.      Give each pair the cards contained in the file “lesson_plan_location_cards”.

6.      Instruct them to work in pairs and – (1) distribute the yellow cards to player 1 and the blue cards to player 2, (2) player 1 then begins the game by reading outloud the card labelled “start”, (3) player 2 must then read outloud the card that has the correct response, followed by a question which player 1 must respond to, (4) this continues until the card labelled “end” is reached.

7.      Repeat the game described in step 6, but this time have students play in groups of 6. Each student receives 1 card.

Success Criteria, assessments




·         Assess each student’s worksheet (titled: lesson_plan_worksheet_characteristics) for correct labelling.

·         Observe and record student’s oral activities in pairs.

·         Students play and assess each other.

·         Students are able to explain, in their own words, why the land was so important to Māori.









(Start) Kei hea a Taranaki? (Taranaki) Kei te parirau o te ika.

Kei hea a Kaitaia?


(Kaitaia) Kei te hiku o te ika.


Kei hea a Taupō?

(Taupō) Kei te puku o te ika.


Kei hea a Te Whanganui-a-Tara?

(Whanganui-a-Tara) Kei te upoko o te ika.


Kei hea a Ruatōria?

(Ruatōria) Kei te parirau o te ika.







hiku ika
parirau puku






Anderson, B. (2004). NEW ZEALAND: Is Online Education. Global perspectives on e-learning: Rhetoric and reality. Retrieved from:

Anderson, D. (2009). Harakeke: Enhancing Māori Student Engagement and Achievement in a Mainstream Primary School. Retrieved from:

Best, E. (1942). Forest lore of the Māori: with methods of snaring, trapping, and preserving birds and rats, uses of berries, roots, fern-root, and forest products, with mythological notes on origins, karakia used, etc (No. 14). EC Keating, Government Printer.

Biggs, B. G. (1966). Māori myths and traditions. An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand. Retrieved from:

Clements, R., Hall, D., Musker, J., & Williams, C. (Directors). (2016). Moana [Motion Picture]. United States: Walt Disney Pictures.

Cordwell, C. L. (2016). The Shattered Slipper Project: The Impact of the Disney Princess Franchise on Girls Ages 6-12. Retrieved from:

Daniels, M. (2017). The American Hero in a Hawaiian Myth: Convergence of Cultures in London’s “Koolau the Leper”. Retrieved from:

Duncan, T. (2009). Ōku tae Māori = My Māori colours. North Shore, New Zealand: Puffin Books.



References (continued)

Feekery, A., Emerson, L., & Skyrme, G. (2016). Supporting academics to embed information literacy to enhance students’ research and writing process. Information literacy: Research and collaboration across disciplines. Fort Collins, CO: WAC Clearinghouse and University Press of Colorado.

Gallagher, T. (2008). Tikanga Māori Pre-1840. Te kāhui kura Māori.

Grace, P., Grace, W., & Potton, G. (2003). Earth, sea, sky: Images and Māori proverbs from the natural world of Aotearoa New Zealand. Huia Publishers.

Gossage, P. (2005a). The Fish of Māui. Auckland, New Zealand: Reed Children’s Books.

Gossage, P. (2005b). How Māui found the Secret of Fire. Auckland, New Zealand: Reed Children’s Books.

Ham, V., & Wenmoth, D. (2002). Educators’ Use of the Online Learning Centre. New Zealand, Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Hanson, A. (1989). The making of the Māori: Culture invention and its logic. American Anthropologist, 91(4), 890-902.

Hohepa, P. (1989). Te ika a Māui. Whanganui-a-Tara, New Zealand: Te Ropu Mahipukapukakura.

Huber, R. (2013). Mythology Lesson Plans. Retrieved from

Hyland, Q. R. (2003). Illustrated Māori Myths and Legends. Auckland, New Zealand: Reed Books.

Kahukiwa, R. (2012). Ngā Atua. Wellington, New Zealand: Mauri Tū.

References (continued)

Lockmiller, A. (2010). Teacher’s Guide for Ashtyn, Teacher of New Zealand. Lulu. com.

Metge, J. (1999). Time & The Art of Māori Storytelling. The Journal of New Zealand Studies, 8(1).

Ministry of Education (1992). Hei Waiata, Hei Whakakoakoa. Wellington: Learning Media. (Book and tape)

Ministry of Education. (2007). The New Zealnd curriculum. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media Limited.

Ministry of Education. (2009). Te aho arataki marau mō te ako i te reo Māori – kura auraki = Curriculum guidelines for teaching and learning te reo Māori in English-medium schools: years 1-13. Wellington, New Zealand: Learning Media.

Patterson, J. (1994). Māori environmental virtues. Environmental Ethics, 16(4), 397-409.

Reed, A. W. (2004). Reed book of Māori mythology. Auckland, New Zealand: Reed Pub.

Orbell, M. (1998). A concise encyclopedia of Māori myth and legend. Aarhus Universitetsforlag.

Smith, S. P. (1913). The Lore of the Whare-wananga. New Plymouth, 2.

Trinick, R., & Dale, H. (2015). Hinengaro, Manawa me nga e Ringaringa/Head, heart, hand: embodying Māori language through song. Australian Journal of Music Education, (3), 84.

Walker, V. (2012). Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti and the transit of Venus. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 42(2), 105-112.

References (continued)

Vansina, J. M. (1985). Oral tradition as history. Univ of Wisconsin Press.