Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

New Zealand Curriculum Online navigation


Papakowhai School – Using the MASAM framework

Papakowhai School, for students in years 1–8, is situated in Papakowhai, Porirua. The roll of 425, includes 57 students who identify as Māori. 

The school uses the MASAM self review framework to help ensure they are delivering a culturally responsive curriculum.

Principal Mark Smith explains how the framework has supported his school’s journey in enabling Māori students to achieve success as Māori. Mark offers advice to other schools wanting to develop the framework to guide their own self review.

Using the framework at Papakowhai School  | Impact on practice | Benefits of the frameworkAdvice

About the MASAM self review framework

The MASAM self review framework helps schools consider how to build an environment for Māori students to achieve success as Māori. The framework includes "deficit behaviours" to "highly responsive behaviours" in relation to the five cultural competencies of Tātaiako (Ako, Whanaungatanga, Tangata whenuatanga, Manaakitanga, and Wānanga). This short video discusses the MASAM framework in more detail.

Word 2007 icon. MASAM self review framework (Word 2007, 121 KB)

Using the MASAM self review framework at Papakowhai School

Papakowhai School.

We began using the MASAM self review framework at Papakowhai School at the start of 2014. One of the main reasons for using it was to record our intentions and actions in a clear way. We had aspirations and emerging actions in terms of Māori achievement but they were not well documented.

In the beginning we held a teacher only day where we worked with a facilitator to unpack the five cultural competencies. It was really important for us to get a shared definition of each cultural competency from the start. We identified the good things we were already doing in terms of each competency. This developed our understandings and helped get some positive ideas on the board.

A smaller working group then worked through the framework to add more indicators. We used Tātaiako to guide us in this process and our facilitator and their colleague also reviewed our ideas and gave feedback.

In 2016 we revisited the competencies and indicators as a whole staff and aligned the Education Council’s practising teacher criteria with the MASAM framework. This allows us to use the framework as a reference point for our teacher appraisals. 

Alongside the MASAM framework we have developed an action plan for success, which lists actions we will take each school year to support MASAM. This action plan has been developed through consultation with our Māori whānau and Board of Trustees.

The framework is still a draft. We are continually developing and tweaking the indicators. Our next step is to bring our Māori students and whānau into it. We want to ask them what they think good practice is in terms of meeting their needs. Then we can edit the framework again.

Teachers use the MASAM framework in two ways. Firstly they use it as a self review tool during the appraisal process. We focus on one or two cultural competencies each term as part of our appraisal system and teachers consider where they sit on the framework and gather evidence to support that. It is a useful reference point for teachers to find examples of what they are doing and also to find ideas for what next. They can ask themselves: “If I was going to extend my practice, what would it look like?” The framework offers some concrete examples of what their actions might be.

Teachers also use the MASAM framework in small professional learning groups across the school. These groups meet three times each term and use the framework to challenge each other to grow further as a culturally competent teacher – to say “what else?” and “what next?”

Impact on practice

Student from Papakowhai School.

I think the key shift for us has been getting to know our Māori students and their whānau really well – tuning into their voices. We ask them about how their learning is going, what barriers they face, what we can be doing differently. You can’t do this work if you operate from your own assumptions.  

The MASAM framework has helped to guide our action plan for success. Our hui with Māori whānau is not just focused on building relationships anymore but on listening, taking action, and being accountable.

The MASAM framework has encouraged us to think about how our school looks to the outside world. Would people know that they are in Aotearoa if they visited our school? We have made much more effort in increasing the visibility of Māori culture in our school.

A specialist teacher works with our students and teachers in te reo Māori and kapa haka. Māori artwork is displayed throughout the school and we use te reo on a daily basis. We incorporate Māori stories, Matariki, and te wiki o te reo Māori into our classroom curricula.

We have got our pōwhiri to a good place now where the students sing and kōrero strongly. Our next step is to take our kapa haka students to a noho marae, to see the pōwhiri in a different context. We have also talked about visiting a neighbouring school to share our work in kapa haka – to see students who might be stronger in this area and grow from that.

We are investigating ways that we can draw further on the cultural expertise in our community. We are talking with our Māori families about creating a more permanent Māori artwork for the foyer or school hall that speaks of our school and our learning. Local whānau and iwi have helped us craft our own school karakia and whakatauki poster.

Whakatauki poster from Papakowhai School.

Treaty of Waitangi principle
Papakowhai School honours the Treaty of Waitangi principle in a range of ways. Teachers work hard to build productive partnerships with whānau and students, and are taking steps to incorporate more te reo Māori and tikanga Māori into teaching and learning. The school is considering ways to make Māori values and culture more visible in the physical environment.  

Taniwha artwork.
Benefits of the framework

The initial benefit of the MASAM framework was to document and record lots of good things that were already happening at our school. It was a good base to build on.

With only five competencies, the framework offers a bit of simplicity around it – it’s not too massive. It is manageable and sustainable.

The indicators that we have recorded at the top end of the framework are all about good teaching practice. While they are especially critical for our Māori students, they help all students learn. The MASAM framework has helped us become better teachers for everyone.

The strength of the framework is that it doesn’t matter where a teacher sits on the continuum of cultural competencies, they can look ahead to see areas for their growth. Every person can take a small next step. 

Effective pedagogy 
Teachers from Papakowhai School have considered how the MASAM framework can support effective pedagogy. They use the indicators to inquire into their own teacher practice and consider the impact of their teaching on their learners. The framework offers evidence based strategies that teachers can trial and evaluate.   

Advice for other schools 

The MASAM framework is something that is helpful for the heart of the school. It defines who you are as a school and what you are doing. It is an important process to go through. Over the last five years it is one of the more important pieces of work that we have done in terms of things that make a difference.

Build a shared understanding

It is crucial that you get a shared understanding of the different competencies in the framework before you begin. That is the first step. You might need to work with an expert to help you unpack it. We used a professional facilitator but there could be somebody on your staff or in your community who can help. I think if we developed the indicators for the MASAM framework without outside help it would have looked smaller and limited. It was important for our school to have someone who has been through the process and knew what to ask to push us a little further.

Give it time

Accept that it will take time to complete the framework and that it is a working document that isn’t perfect. We held four staff meetings with a facilitator to get started with the framework and we have spent time on it in a small working group. It is a good idea to put the document away for a while and return to it with fresh eyes. People aren’t so precious about having their ideas critiqued if a bit of time has passed. It isn’t so personal.

Make the framework a living document

There needs to be a reason for people to use the framework. Teachers are busy people. If you think you can park it as a reference document for teachers to read in their spare time, they won’t. Bringing the framework into the appraisal process each term helps us keep it alive.


PDF icon. Papakowhai School MASAM self review framework, May 2017 (PDF, 585 KB)

Related content

MASAM spotlight
Use our second spotlight to engage in professional learning about Māori achieving success as Māori. Explore what MASAM means to you and work together with your staff to devise ways to be more culturally responsive.

Māori achieving success as Māori at Clendon Park School
This snapshot explains what Māori achieving success as Māori looks like at Clendon Park School.

Enabling e-Learning – Māori achieving success as Māori
This section on Enabling e-Learning offers information, school stories, tools, and resources to help you consider how to build an environment for Māori students to achieve success as Māori.

effective pedagogy
māori achievement
treaty of Waitangi

Updated on: 03 Feb 2020