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Te Atakura

Students engaged in an outdoor activity 

Students learn best when they are truly supported – so it’s the foundation of our teaching here at UCOL | Te Pūkenga.

Te Atakura is a culturally responsive teaching approach, focused on developing a strong learning relationship between students and their teachers. We work to foster a student’s individual strengths and helping them learn new ones. ‘Te Atakura’ refers to the peak of dawn, which in Māori culture symbolised a new day, new start, and the beginning of opportunities.

Te Atakura was developed with the support of education consultancy Cognition Education Limited and Emeritus Professor Russell Bishop. It aims to improve the educational achievements of Māori students, as well as their wider classmates. We are the first tertiary institution in the world to embed Professor Bishop’s research in the way that we teach, and the majority of our Te Atakura team are accredited members of Cognition Education’s Relationships First – Global Network.

Our Values

Manaakitanga: We offer a nurturing, caring and supportive environment. This includes reflecting our learners’ language and culture within the classroom.

Kōtahitanga: We promote, monitor, and reflect on outcomes in a collaborative manner. This shared approach leads to better educational achievement for all students. 

Mana Motuhake: We have high expectations for our students’ learning. We help our students develop their identity and independence.

Whakapiringatanga: We create a secure, well-managed learning environment for our students.

Ako: We use effective teaching and learning strategies, and build reciprocal relationships with our learners.

Wānanga: The purpose of learning is to enable rich, dynamic sharing of knowledge. Our teaching includes debate, feedback, and dialogue between students and staff.

The Te Atakura Coaches

Our Te Atakura Coaches work directly with UCOL | Te Pūkenga kaiako/teachers, supporting them and helping them develop strategies for their classrooms. Positive relationships and connections are crucial, to ensure we develop a family-like learning atmosphere and sense of belonging.

Across all levels of UCOL | Te Pūkenga, we are committed to the Te Atakura approach. We are strengthening relationships, and ensuring we develop powerful educational and employment opportunities for our students.