Intergenerational Transmission Research with Te Ataarangi

Te Mātāwai collaborated with Te Ataarangi on a research project exploring how this influential pedagogy has impacted intergenerational transmission of Māori language and contributed to the ongoing establishment and maintenance of immersion domains and communities in Aotearoa. Te Ataarangi has been contributing to Māori language revitalisation since the late 1970’s by helping ākonga to affirm their tuakiri and fostering reciprocity whereby students share what they have learnt with others.

The research was conducted by Te Paetawhiti Limited within a strong kaupapa Māori framework and shared commitment to uphold the values of Te Mātāwai as well as the tikanga and philosophies of Te Ataarangi. Members of the Te Paetawhiti research team were versed in Te Ataarangi and their knowledge and relationships within Te Ataarangi were invaluable in connecting with the research participants. Through the course of the research, ten whānau were identified and interviewed who have successfully transmitted Māori language across multiple generations.


The findings have illuminated the importance of language champions within the revitalisation movement. Te Ataarangi embeds speaking Māori language as a normal daily practice, and as a result graduates often go on to form the centre of new language domains - inviting and encouraging others around them to kōrero Māori and weaving together networks of Māori language speakers. Te Ataarangi language champions make considerable contributions to Māori language immersion communities by:

  • Organising whānau wānanga and activities to encourage extended family to engage with and speak Māori language.
  • Facilitating rangatahi wānanga using more interactive and engaging methods of teaching and learning.
  • Creating whānau and hapū resources and language plans.
  • Setting up Kōhanga and Kura in their communities.
  • Supporting marae, iwi, hapū, Hāhi, Kōhanga, Kura Kaupapa Māori, Whare Wānanga/Kuratini as kaikaranga, kaitautoko, kaiāwhina and Kaiako.
  • Contributing to their rohe by volunteering their time to administration, management, mentoring and teaching.

This research project highlighted that Te Ataarangi whānau also expand language domains beyond kāinga, hapori and iwi spaces, practising te reo me ngā tikanga Māori in workplaces, sports teams, clubs, and throughout mainstream and kaupapa Māori organisations. This increases Māori language visibility, thereby broadening the possibility for new language domains to emerge. By acting as motivators and enablers, Te Ataarangi ākonga, kaiako, and wider whānau help propel the Māori language revitalisation movement forward.

From collaborating with Te Ataarangi on this research project, Te Mātāwai have gained further insights into the creation of immersion domains, and the common factors that drive their success. To share these findings with a wide audience, we have produced a series of video case studies featuring Te Ataarangi whānau sharing their experiences of Māori language learning and revitalisation. We are hopeful that this body of research will showcase the work of Te Ataarangi and the contribution it has made to te reo Māori revitalisation.


The report is available here to download.


Publishing date: April 2022

Prepared by Te Pae Tawhiti Limited


Read the full report here [PDF, 3.4 MB]