Libraries supporting Māori readers

Your school library supports Māori readers through providing access to a wide variety of literature, vital to support their growth as engaged and motivated readers.


Supporting Māori readers
Fostering home-school partnerships to support literacy
Promoting the library: tools and activities

Supporting Māori readers

The importance of students reading for pleasure to develop literacy skills and academic achievement has been well-documented in New Zealand’s educational policies and guidelines, and international research. For example:

Te Aho Matua: Te Tino Uaratanga (PDF)
6.2 Ki te toa ia ki te whakarongo, ki te whakaaro, ki te kōrero, ki te pānui, ki te tuhi i te reo Māori, i roto i te reo o Tauiwi hoki.
Growing Independence: A summary of the key findings from the Competent Learners @ 14 project (NZCER, 2006) (PDF). "Enjoyment of reading is a key indicator for engagement in learning and for competency levels at age 14."
PISA 'Reading for enjoyment is associated with reading proficiency…On average, students who read daily for enjoyment score above the equivalent of one-and-a-half years of schooling better than those who don’t.' (PISA in Focus, 8 September 2011, p.2)
Reading aloud - Pānui-ā-Waha is an essential strategy to develop students’ literacy

Student librarians reading at TKKM o Hoani Waititi Marae

Student librarians at TKKM o Hoani Waititi Marae reading aloud to their teina

Your school library gives students access to a wide variety of literature. This is vital to support their development into engaged and motivated readers, with the knowledge, skills and values to be confident and creative users of information.

To target collection development and reading incentive programmes survey your Māori students, and their teachers about their information needs and reading interests. 

Library staff and literacy leaders can work together to increase teacher knowledge of Māori literature for children and young people, including digital resources. This could form part of your school’s professional learning programme.

By working collaboratively, the library team, teachers, whānau, and local public library staff can stimulate and reinforce a reading culture within the school and wider community, by:

  • promoting a print-rich environment in the library, classrooms, online and at home
  • delivering an annual programme of reading, writing and oral language activities
  • organising special events supporting literacy.

Jenny Ratana Koia reading at Koraunui School

Reading Superhero Teacher Jenny Ratana Koia at Koraunui School

The impact the library has made on students’ competence in reading can be monitored and evaluated as part of your school’s assessment of the school’s literacy programme and initiatives.

Data-gathering activities can include checking the library catalogue’s ‘Reports’ section on issue statistics and linking this information with students’ reading data, and examining the library booking sheets to show patterns in class visits.

Find out more about the library's role in creating readers
Creating readers provides a range of strategies to support and extend reading in students’ lives
Library surveys gives practical advice for surveying students and teachers.

Fostering home-school partnerships to support literacy

Your school library can support literacy and learning outcomes for Māori students by working collaboratively with teachers, Māori learners, whānau, and the Māori community to build home-school partnerships.

'Parents and whānau play a critical role in supporting their children’s learning right from the start. Evidence shows that learning outcomes are enhanced when parental involvement in school is sustained and focused on learning activities.' Ka Hikitia, p.28

The following activities will contribute towards building a community reading culture:

  • Develop a good knowledge of student learning experiences outside school in the home and community.
  • Provide parents with information and resources that encourage and support their involvement with their children’s reading.
  • Engage parent help with reading programmes in the school.
  • Arrange for parents to borrow books for themselves and pre-schoolers; liaise with kohanga reo and early childhood centres.
  • Provide information about websites on tikanga Māori and Māori language resources.
  • Talk with your local public library staff about making school visits to promote the public library.
  • Provide opportunities for students to visit the public library during school time and after school, and encourage their parents and other family to use the library with them.

Student librarians reading at TKKM o Hoani Waititi Marae

Student librarians from wharekura at TKKM o Hoani Waititi Marae reading to kura tuatahi during Book Week

Types of online information and resources available for parents include:

Read more about Home - School partnerships

Promoting the library: tools and activities

There are a range of practical tools and activities you can use to promote your library’s services to Māori learners and whānau.

TKKM o Kaikohe newsletter

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kaikohe promotes new titles in the school newsletter

Promotional activities

Use the following strategies to encourage Māori learners to use the library:

  • Provide targeted resourcing and promotion of services based on school reading data and evidence that you have gathered.
  • Highlight Māori Language Week and community celebrations in library events, including guest speakers such as community leaders, authors and illustrators.
  • Communicate about literacy, library services and events with students and parents directly and through other means such as school newsletters and the library’s online presence on the school’s learning management system.

Read reading promotion for more information

Library orientation

The following library worksheets will be useful for te reo Māori speaking classes from Year 3 up.

Sybasigns has a useful and bright set of question poster sets in te reo Māori which can be used to support inquiry learning.

Dewey resources in te reo Māori

The following Dewey resources are available for download from the bottom of the page:

  • Dewey handout outlines the main subject areas in both English and Māori.
  • Dewey poster has a story about the Tanenuiarangi’s journey to find the three baskets of knowledge.
  • The English Dewey poster story
  • The Māori Dewey poster story

Subject Headings in te reo Māori

Providing Māori subject headings in your catalogue records improves access to your library resources for te reo Māori speaking students. You can utilise the following resources:

  • SCIS Māori subject headings created for schools using the Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) for catalogue records. National Library staff have translated 640 commonly used SCIS subject headings.
  • Māori subject headings created for public libraries and are used in SchoolsCat records, they are also available to New Zealand schools for catalogue records.

Student librarians

Student librarians are vital for a school library in order to create a sense of ownership for students. They can be the role models on library use for the rest of the school. They can also play an important role in supporting the running of the library, especially if the library does not have full time staff.

The Student librarian organisation guide in te reo Māori can be adapted for your own organisation and training of student librarians. Available for download at the bottom of this page.

Main image: Te Kura Kaupapa o Hoani Waititi marae student librarians in charge of their own bays.