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A Bicultural Framework
Working within the Aotearoa New Zealand Curriculum Context

New Zealand Kōwhai Flower by Emily Cater

Te Whāriki, The Treaty of Waitangi Principle
and Kete Aronui Orff

The principles and strands of New Zealand’s early education curriculum, Te Whāriki, underpin the Treaty of Waitangi principle in the New Zealand school curriculum.  They provide a bicultural framework for Kete Aronui Orff and are outlined below.

Applying the Principles

Kotahitanga: Holistic

Children learn in an holistic way through an integrated programme of speech, story, song, play, listening, movement, and performance.  The programme is focussed on the development of the whole child, communicatively, socially, and affectively.

Whakamana: Empowerment

Children are empowered to share their ideas and to be creative with lots of opportunity to explore ideas and improvise.

Whānau Tangata: Family and Community

Learning is done as a community of learners where children try different roles, sometimes leading and sometimes following.  Children are encouraged to draw on personal experiences, as well as their family and communities, in their creative work.

Ngā Hononga: Responsive and Reciprocal Relationships

Teaching is done in a responsive and reciprocal way, facilitating positive experiences in music and movement by listening and responding to the children.  No lesson is the same when done with different groups of children. 

Applying the Strands

MANA ATUA                 MANA REO                 MANA AOTŪROA

      MANA WHENUA             MANA TANGATA


Emotional wellbeing, mana atua, is nurtured by providing opportunities for children to express their feelings and ideas both verbally and non-verbally through music and movement.  The approach recognises the hundred languages of children and the importance of letting the uniqueness of the child guide our work, mā te ahurei o te tamaiti e ārahi i ā tātou mahi.  In the music class we work to develop respect for our kaupapa and make clear connections between people, places, and things in the child’s world, mana whenua.  By learning about Māori myths and legends, and the atua (gods/ancestors) associated with them, we see how a Māori worldview supports a deep connection with the environment.  All children are scaffolded to experience success in the music classroom in a space that is safe to share ideas and be creative, mana tangata.  Children learn different ways to be creative and expressive and actively engage with stories and symbols from Te Ao Māori through music and movement, mana reo.  Play leads to meaningful learning and confidence in the children to develop their working theories as they make sense of their world, mana aotūroa.

He taonga te mokopuna, kia whāngaia, kia tipu, kia rea

A child is a treasure, to be nurtured, to grow, to flourish

From Te Whāriki


"Toi is the Māori word for art and is connected with Tāne’s journey to the heavens to seek the three baskets of knowledge, the highest point of the heavens being te Toi o ngā Rangi.  Tāne’s journey can be interpreted to represent a process of tuning into yourself, seeking your own inner knowledge and imagination, and integrating what you find within into the practical reality of your life.  This journey is about having the courage to seek out the taonga or gifts that make you special and to share them with others, such as through the arts.  This concept is central to nurturing and growing children’s creativity and personal voice in arts education."


Makaira Waugh - Orff specialist at Te Ara Whānui Kura Kaupapa Māori o ngā Kōhanga Reo o Te Awakairangi  

Click below to read more the curriculum for each year level

Ruru - Morepork by Emily Cater

Taniwha by Emily Cater

Tūī - Parson Bird by Emily Cater

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