Astyn Selina Faranise Susie 500px

Mokopuna who are well informed and participate in the decisions that affect them are more likely to engage in learning and the desired outcomes from that learning.


We work with mokopuna and whānau to define a positive vision for their future. We and support them to act to achieve this vision. We work in partnership with educators and their learning community in ways that honour and enhance learning for all mokopuna.

The right to be heard

“Children and young people have the right to express a view, and to have their view given due weight in decisions that affect them. Enabling children’s participation in decision-making upholds their right to have a say and be heard, and advances their best interests and leads to better decision-making overall.”

(Being child-centred, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, 2015)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) affords mokopuna the right to:

  • an opinion and for that opinion to be heard in all contexts
  • information that is important to their well-being, and for adults to ensure they understand this information
  • practice of their own culture, language and religion
  • an education that helps learners to use and develop their talents and abilities
  • guidance from adults that is appropriate to their evolving capabilities
  • a full and decent life with dignity and to achieve the highest degree of self-reliance and social integration possible.

The New Zealand Vulnerable Children’s Act (2014) states that measures for our children and young people need to increase, including ‘increasing their participation in decision-making about them, and their contribution to society’ (Part 1 No. 6).

What does being person-centred look like?

dawn haven emma 2 720px


“Children and young people develop a sense of inclusion, civic participation, and agency when they are provided opportunities to engage in decisions that affect them. Listening to children and showing you have considered their views in decision-making makes children feel valued. It improves their self-esteem, confidence and capability to respond to enquiries and give constructive feedback on an ongoing basis.”

“Being child-centred is about elevating the status of children’s interests, rights, and views in the work of your organisation. It involves considering the impact of decisions and processes on children, and seeking their input when appropriate to inform your work.”

(Being child-centred, Office of the Children’s Commissioner, 2015)


How to engage with kids – Office of the Children’s Commissioner website

Including the voices of mokopuna

Respect cultural identity and customs

Considering culturally-responsive frameworks that put the mana of the mokopuna first is important.

Listen and learn

Person-centred planning is a process of continual listening and learning, focussed on what is important to them now and in the future.

Ensure that mokopuna actively participate in decisions

Being person-centred in learning support means ensuring that mokopuna actively participate in decisions that affect them, when you gather information, plan interventions, and monitor implementation.

Facilitate conversations

Practitioners and educators should be knowledgeable and skilled in facilitating conversations with mokopuna. These conversations should promote and support mokopuna to participate in the process.

Use different methods to support mokopuna

Depending on the situation and the age and developmental stage of the mokopuna, they can have a say in their learning through different contexts and ways. These might include informal conversations, using assisted voice, peer support and supports like assistive technology and visual aides.

Lundy model of participation

Lundy (2007) suggests a framework that incorporates four dimensions. It’s useful when listening to the voices of mokopuna across policy and practice, when conceptualising Article 12 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The four dimensions have a clear order of priority:

  1. Space: mokopuna are given safe, inclusive opportunities to form and express their views.
  2. Voice: mokopuna need to be supported to express their views.
  3. Audience: these views must be listened to.
  4. Influence: these views must be acted upon, where appropriate

Reflective questions for supporting participation of mokopuna

The questions can be used as a checklist to guide individuals, teams and organisations who work with and for mokopuna. The checklist aims to make sure that mokopuna have the space to express their views and an audience for their views, and that the views of mokopuna will have influence. The checklist can support practitioners and educators to explore the views of mokopuna to inform future systems and practices.


  • Have the views of mokopuna been actively sought?
  • Did mokopuna have a safe space where they could freely express themselves?
  • Have steps been taken to ensure that all mokopuna can take part?


  • Have mokopuna been given the information they need to form a view?
  • Do mokopuna know that they do not have to take part?
  • Have mokopuna been given a range of options they can choose from to express themselves?


  • Do mokopuna have a process for communicating their views?
  • Do mokopuna know who their views are being communicated to?
  • Does that person, group or organisation have the power to make decisions?


  • Were the views of mokopuna considered by the people with the power to effect change
  • Are there procedures that ensure the views of mokopuna have been taken seriously?
  • Have mokopuna been given feedback explaining the reasons for the decisions made?

He Urunga Tū

he urunga tu v2

He Urunga Tū is a culturally responsive framework developed by RTLB. It guides professional practice. It is underpinned by ‘tino rangatiratanga’ (self-determination) for the mokopuna, whānau, educators, and the school or Māori medium kura.

As practitioners, we are manuhiri who are invited to facilitate thesupport and nurture of the mokopuna through their learning journey.

‘Ahakoa ko wai, ahakoa nō hea – No matter who they are or where they are from’, we aspire to treat all we meet and serve in our role as rangatira (chiefs).

He Urunga Tū is a useful framework to guide and support practitioners to facilitate the learning support process. The framework delivers a process that is respectful and professional and maintains positive working relationships. It aligns well with He Pikorua:


He Urunga Tū

Ngā Whakaritenga / Waharoa & Whakaeke


Hongi / Kai Ngātahi


He Pikorua



Āta whakaaro / Tātai / Whakamahi / Whaikōrero

Mana Motuhake

Te Pikinga ki Runga (Sonja Macfarlane)

OPF Diagrams 03 Te Pikinga ki Runga


This integrated and strengths-based kaupapa Māori framework is specifically intended to guide education professionals in their interactions when working with Māori mokopuna and their whānau, and support information gathering and planning. It draws on several holistic well-being frameworks such as Rose Pere’s (1991) framework Te Wheke, as well as Te Whāriki and Te Whare Tapa Whā.

Māori achievement (Te Pikinga ki Runga: Raising possibilities by Sonja MacFarlane) – NZCER website [PDF, 210KB]


Te Whare Tapa Whā (Durie, 1994)

Te Whare Tapa Wha


Māori health is underpinned by four dimensions representing the basic beliefs of life:

  • Te taha hinengaro – psychological well-being, thoughts and feelings
  • Te taha wairua – spiritual well-being
  • Te taha tinana – physical well-being
  • Te taha whānau – relational well-being, family

These four dimensions are represented by the four walls of a house. Each wall is necessary to the strength and symmetry of the building.

Māori health models | Te Whare Tapa Whā – Ministry of Health website

Te Whare Tapa Wha [PDF, 283 KB]


Fonofale (Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endermann, 1984)



The Fonofale is one of a number of culturally affirming, ethnic specific models, that offers a perspective on Pacific well-being and engagement. 

The Fonofale model identifies six dimensions of health.

Fa'avae - the foundation the fale (house) is built on, is the first dimension and represents the immediate and extended (family)

The four pou-tu (posts) which hold up the house represent:

  • fa'aleagaga - the spiritual, dimension
  • fa'aletino - the physical dimension
  • mafaufau - the mental dimension
  • isa mea - the dimension of other that surrounds the context of the mokopuna and their aiga

The falealuga (roof) - represents the sixth dimension of aganu'u (culture) the cultural values and beliefs

The fale cocoon depicts environment, time, context and how these dimensions influence one another.

Fonofale Model of Health [PDF, 283KB]


Other models to explore: 

Tivaevae model: Cook Island - by Teremoana Manu-Hodge

Kakala model: Tongan - by Konai Helu Thaman



“I'd make sure every student had a say. I'd be there to help for students who are leading their lives in the wrong direction and help them create a path. I'd make MY school a happy and enjoyable place to be, where everyone wants to be. When everyone gets up in the morning super excited to go to school. That's what I want to change, because I know most children wag and don't want to, they resist to go to school but it is a necessity so they have to show up.”

(Secondary school student, from Education matters to me: Key insights, NZSTA & OCC, 2018).

OPF Diagrams 03 Talanoa v2

Talanoa to guide and facilitate talk without agenda (Vaioleti, 2006)

Talanoa, in Tongan, means to talk or speak. It is a useful, holistic model for communicating and engaging all people involved in supporting mokopuna and their whānau. Talanoa can be a formal or informal conversation, dialogue or exchange of ideas. It might be used in simple interviewing, critical discussion, or evaluation. Talanoa is organic and face-to-face, ensuring collective goals and aspirations are discussed to affirm the culture and context of the mokopuna.

The four elements around the word ‘talanoa’ are Tongan words with similar meanings used in other Pacific languages:

  • Ofa – love
  • Māfana – warm feelings
  • Mālie – a sense of upliftedness
  • Faka’apa’apa – respect.

Creating the ‘talanoa’ conversation is all it takes – CORE Education website