Tō mātou ingoa Māori hou - Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga

By Charles Rolleston on November 3, 2021 in Leadership

Tēnei rā te mihi maioha ki a koutou i runga anō i ngā tini āhuatanga o te wā.

For some time now, we’ve been working on something really exciting, and today we are thrilled to finally announce the ingoa Māori for Evaluation Associates: Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga.

Launching our name Evaluation Associates Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga is an important milestone for us as an organisation. For me, our name affirms our commitment to te reo Māori and mātauranga Māori, and reflects our journey to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our bicultural heritage as a nation.

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In this blog, I want to share the story and process of how our ingoa Māori evolved. From identifying who would have the knowledge and experience to lead this work, ensuring we understood deeply what was needed, making deep connections to te ao Māori, and bringing it all together in authentic and meaningful ways.

You may have seen the whakataukī - me tiro whakamuri kia anga whakamua - in some of the Aotearoa New Zealand's history materials produced by the Ministry of Education (2021). The process to define the ingoa Māori for Evaluation Associates is very much premised on the same principle of looking back to where we have come from as we look ahead to determine our future.

The process started when one of our kaumātua set a unique challenge for a new Māori team member during her pōwhiri: to find an appropriate Māori name for our organisation. From the outset, she knew that a literal translation of Evaluation Associates would not suffice, nor would it satisfy her own commitment to te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and mātauranga Māori.

Our colleague wanted to ensure that the name was created from a Māori perspective and would reflect our primary purpose as an organisation: to raise ākonga achievement and reduce disparity. The process culminated in the formal blessing and presentation of the ingoa Māori at our full team hui.

For context, the team at Evaluation Associates has been working across the education sector since 1999. To acknowledge this important history as well as the impact of our work over that time, she spent time with Michael Absolum, one of the founders of Evaluation Associates. Michael spoke openly about the vision of Evaluation Associates, the milestones and challenges, as well as what shaped and influenced his education and professional pathway.

From there, guidance was sought from kaumātua, trusted advisors and other team members to make pertinent connections to te ao Māori and to research traditional concepts and values. These have been incorporated into our ingoa Māori.

The full name Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga means a team of educational leaders. The name calls upon each of us within the organisation to use our unique set of skills and knowledge to make a difference for ākonga, and to influence and improve education practice and policy in Aotearoa .

Each part of our name Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga reflects a strong connection to te ao Māori. Our ingoa Māori connects to the traditional systems of learning and knowledge acquisition, the role of leaders and experts in those systems, and the connection with the natural environment. The kākā soaring across the canopy of the forest reflects the way we also look across the education system.

A name like Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga also brings great responsibility. As a team, we must uphold the integrity of the name and knowledge that has been gifted to us. We will normalise using our ingoa Māori alongside our English name, understanding how to share and connect to the meaning of our ingoa Māori in our work, and pronouncing it correctly . In essence, honouring the name in the work that we do – constantly striving to improve outcomes for ākonga Māori.

There are key learnings and reminders for us in the process to bring our ingoa Māori to this point.

It’s taken the time it needed to be done. Creating the space and opportunity to connect and partner with the right people, to hear the voices, and to plan and carry out the process as a shared endeavour. We took the time that was needed to work with, rather than fast-tracking the process to meet our deadlines.

It’s about genuine partnership. In our case, our kaumātua initiated the process and so the importance of listening to our Māori communities and being willing to develop a shared goal and bringing it to its wonderful outcome.

It’s also about ako and relishing the opportunity for learning. The process enabled people to embrace the opportunity to learn, to be guided in spaces that may be new or less familiar and acknowledging the integral role of Māori team members in this work.

Hei whakakapinga, e rere nei te reo o mihi ki a koutou, e te whaea, e ngā pāpā, e te hunga i whai wāhi atu ki te tārai i tēnei taonga – nō mātou o Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga te whiwhi nui. Ngā manaakitanga ki a koutou.


Ministry of Education (2021). Aotearoa New Zealand's histories: Supporting school leaders to understand and plan for Aotearoa New Zealand's histories in social sciences - Leading Local Curriculum Guide. 

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