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Our Achievement Challenge model is a whāriki - a woven mat. Weavers use whenu - the vertical threads and aho - the horizontal threads to create the whāriki. The whāriki of our Achievement Challenge has three whenu and five aho.



The three whenu are the areas our collaborative research and discussion have identified as the most important for our students and teachers; well-being, effective teaching and learning, and innovation. While each of the whenu is an important area and could easily stand alone, we see that the strength of the model is in the interdependency of each strand of the whāriki - both the whenu and the aho.



Sustainable improvement in the teaching and learning within our Kāhui Ako will evolve from a strong focus on the aho; cultural responsiveness, transitions, collaboration, agency and inquiry. We see appreciative inquiries focused on the aho playing a critical role in informing our innovative interventions.



The Karaka Grove is thought to have been cultivated by Rangitāne, the mana whenua, more than 200 years ago. Currently the grove is marked by three pou arranged in the style of a pātaka (food store). It is a site of great importance and significance to the iwi. The grove is made up of many trees that have been deliberately planted together. This is representative of all of us who are deliberately coming together to enable a healthy environment where schools are able to work in partnership to nurture and unleash potential across all our schools. Each tree is separate in its own right just as each school operates in its own right to meet the needs of its students and communities. Just as trees come in a range of sizes so too do our schools.



The berries of the Karaka tree were an important food source for Māori who ate the ripened outer flesh and the kernel. The kernel required a laborious process to render it edible where it was then consumed as a nut or ground up to make a bread. This is also representative of the work our Kāhui Ako will do to ensure we are empowering ‘future ready learners’.



Although we commonly think of trees as competing with each other for resources, we now know from a number of studies that they share information and nutrients underground via their root systems. These nutrients often travel from the strong healthy trees to those requiring support or that need a boost. This is also one of the compelling roles within our Kāhui Ako.



Te Oro Karaka Kāhui Ako is a community of 23 schools and 12 Early Learning Services (ELS). This is a large and diverse Kāhui Ako with schools ranging from two sole charge primary schools through to large secondary schools; half are in Palmerston North city with the other half located in rural communities surrounding the city, mainly to the south and west. More ELS providers are expected to also join the Kāhui Ako this year. People within and connected to our Kāhui Ako community include our students, principals, teachers and support staff, parents and whānau, iwi and hapu, and local employers and community groups.



Primary (contributing)

Aokautere School

Awapuni School

College Street Normal School

Turitea School

Winchester School


Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School

Primary (full)

Glen Oroua School

Kairanga School

Kopane School

Linton Camp School

Linton Country School

Longburn School

Opiki School

Oroua Downs School 

Sanson School

Takaro School

Tangimoana School

Tokomaru School

Te Kura o Wairau 


Awatapu College

Palmerston North Boys’ High School

Palmerston North Girls’ High School

Queen Elizabeth College

Early Learning Services

Awapuni Kindergarten

Building Blocks 2

Camp Street Kindergarten

Cloverlea Kindergarten

Hokowhitu Kindergarten

Linton Kindergarten

Milverton Kindergarten

Riverdale Kindergarten

Somerset Kindergarten

Takaro Kindergarten

The Cubby House Child Care Centre

West End Kindergarten


In early 2016, a number of schools in Palmerston North began conversations about forming a Community of Learning, with shared goals for student achievement.


Three years on, the Kāhui Ako has structure and agreed direction. Leadership is provided by two Lead Principals, 8 across-school teachers and within-school teachers. Principals meet regularly to progress the Kāhui Ako. 


With Achievement Challenges now endorsed by the Ministry of Education, focus has shifted to embedding roles and developing a sense of community.