Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust

Enhancing te reo Māori immersion

The Challenge

The essence of Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust is establishing Māori cultural values with an emphasis on the language as an integral part of Māori culture. Te Kōhanga Reo supports te reo Māori through immersive learning experiences right from preschool through to post high school. They offer professional and personal development programmes for Kaiako (teachers), kaimahi (staff), and parents. Last year they were accredited by NZQA to deliver degree level qualifications. The goal was to develop a brand-new course for approx. 700 learners and 30 tutors. They also identified that they wanted it to be delivered online. Their Kaimahi (tutors) and ākonga (learners) needed a clean and easy-to-use interface, standardised workflows, and templates to make their work efficient. Kaiako also needed to feel comfortable using the platform for assessment purposes and communicating with ākonga. Additionally, the course had to comply with all the NZQA reporting requirements, with particular emphasis on the fact that te reo Māori has roots as a spoken language. 

A standard technical LMS implementation was not enough. The platform needed to be configured to do several other things:  

    • allow users to submit recordings of spoken te reo,  
    • enable submissions to be reviewed by a dynamic panel of multiple tutors that could assess and provide feedback on the same submissions,  
    • learners’ profiles and their learning pathways needed to be presented as a visually led journey, so they clearly could see where they are in their learning progress.  

All that had to be fully integrated with other management platforms and allow robust analytics and reporting. 

Te Kōhanga Reo decided that Moodle is the solution they were seeking and reached out to us to implement Moodle within their organisation. 

“Synapsys truly understood our unique needs and the importance of reflecting te reo Māori and our kaupapa in the platform functionality. Their collaborative approach prioritized our users’ experience and their learning journey, resulting in a custom Moodle implementation that exceeded our expectations. Their technical expertise, combined with a shared vision, led to the development of custom plugins that perfectly aligned with our desired experiences. Working with Synapsys was an incredible experience, driven by trust, openness, and a mutual desire to solve problems together. They supported us throughout the development journey, creating an environment our kaiako, academic support team, and ākonga can use to strengthen their bonds and learning outcomes. Thanks to Shayne, Muyi, Kim, Helen and Lorraine, we successfully supported hundreds of ākonga and pouako in degree-level programs, contributing to the preservation and promotion of te reo Māori with significant cultural, social, and economic impact. The LMS platform not only expanded learning opportunities but also enabled us to deliver them in a cost-effective manner. We are grateful for Synapsys’ commitment and expertise, which made this project a success.”

Sonny Thomas | Manager – Kaupapa Support Services at Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust


Our partnership

We believe it’s important that the vision for learning always drives the technology. We were conscious that te reo Māori and the kaupapa of Te Kōhanga Reo needed to be reflected in the platform functionality. 

Our approach was to implement systems that catered to the unique needs of tutors, students, and the business. Through a collaborative process of discovery and specification, we gained a clear understanding of their needs before even considering a technical solution. Together we constructed user stories from the perspectives of the various user types who would interact with the platform. Rather than simply focusing on a technical specification, we prioritised the users’ experience and their interactions with the platform along their learning journey.  

This approach aligned with Synapses’ philosophy that any solution provided must bring tangible value to both the intended audience and the organisations that engage us. By blending our technical expertise with a deep understanding of a shared vision of the project’s endgame, we created custom plugins that perfectly aligned with our client’s desired experiences. We returned to the essence of Moodle, a platform historically designed for the education sector, and developed additional functionalities to deliver something above and beyond to support Māori immersion in New Zealand. 

Collaborating with Te Kōhanga Reo was an incredible experience right from the start, as we shared a common set of values that drove our partnership. By prioritising building a foundation of trust, we created a space where we could tackle challenges with openness and honesty. By actively listening, being transparent and consistently delivering on our promises, we established a shared sense of ownership and mutual desire to solve problems together. 

We supported Te Kōhanga Reo and whānau throughout their language journey.  We are proud of our contribution to creating an environment of curiosity and discovery for Kaiako, kaimahi, and parents, which strengthened their bonds, kinship, and Māori identity. 

The project was completed on time, with a go-live date at the end of January, and student enrolment beginning in mid-February 2023.  

The Impact

We successfully supported approx. 700 learners and 30 tutors in degree-level learning programmes. 

The project contributed to the preservation and promotion of te reo Māori, which has significant long-term cultural, social, and economic impact for the Māori community in New Zealand. 

The LMS platform allowed more students to access learning opportunities, which was not possible before due to geographical limitations or lack of infrastructure. 

The platform enabled Te Kōhanga Reo to deliver learning opportunities in a more cost-effective manner by reducing the need for physical classrooms, materials, and other resources. 

Contact Us

Keep in touch

Contact us directly by telephone and email

04 801 8478,

Wellington Office

Level 1, 10 Courtenay Place
Wellington 6011
New Zealand

Postal Address

P.O. Box 28, Lyttelton 8082