Hīnātore Good Practice Guide

Hīnātore: A good practice guide to support Māori and Pacific people learning in the workplace


Who is this guide for?

This good practice guide is for educators and facilitators who are supporting Māori and Pacific people to succeed in workplace learning. It’s also for employers who want to empower their Māori and Pacific employees.

This Good Practice Guide has been developed as part of the Ako Aotearoa co-funded Hīnātore: Upskilling Māori and Pasifika workplace learners project.

What’s this project about?

The Tertiary Education Commission’s (TEC) Workplace Literacy and Numeracy (WLN) Fund supports around 7,000 learners a year to undertake learning programmes in their workplaces, in work time. Over a third of these learners are Māori and Pacific employees, and evidence tells us that many Māori and Pacific learners achieve successful outcomes from WLN programmes. They are highly engaged in the learning, and the skills and confidence they gain transfer to their workplaces and to their whānau/aiga and communities.

What were the project aims?

  • To gain a better understanding of the workplace as a teaching and learning environment that leads to successful outcomes for Māori and Pacific employees.
  • To see how knowledge transfers to the workplace and to employees’ whānau/aiga and community lives.
  • To find out what happens for Māori and Pacific people in the short- to medium-term after their training programme is completed.

Why do these programmes work?


Why do these programmes work?

So tell us more about what success looks like?

What success looks like?

Workplaces provide a strong teaching and learning environment because: the learning is highly relevant and meaningful to the learners; there are pre-existing collegial relationships which provide a high trust environment for collective learning; and the learning is done on-site and during work time, thus removing otherwise significant barriers. A number of Māori and Pacific learners also spoke of having previously had negative schooling experiences resulting in “learning trauma” such as feeling dumb or being anxious around “learning” environments, and noted the restorative nature (whakamana) of workplace learning on identifying themselves as learners and being capable. Highly effective tutors hold space for deep relationships and reciprocal learning to emerge, hold high expectations of themselves and the learners, and utilise a number of teaching strategies that are culturally inclusive (e.g. kai, language, laughter).


Effective workplace learning contexts displayed a number of consistent features including: strong leadership and commitment from senior managers within the companies to the learning and development of their people; managers and supervisors supporting and taking an active role in the workplace learning programmes (e.g. attending some of the sessions); and both employers and employees recognising each other’s respective investment and contribution to the workplace learning. A lot of work was done upfront between the WLN providers and company management to identify the workplace needs and co-design the programmes, and to ensure that there were clear understandings and expectations of the purpose and processes of the workplace learning. Numerous work-related outcomes were noted including job promotions, improved communication and literacy, health and safety, teamwork and workplace culture as well as quality improvement and innovation.


Workplace learning is a powerful tool for empowering Māori and Pacific people. The impact of workplace learning programmes extended beyond the workplace and into the personal lives of learners, including increased confidence and positive attitude, stronger engagement with family, positive role-modelling to other whānau members and a renewed commitment to ongoing learning and upskilling. Learners also spoke of their work “whānau” and how the workplace was a whānau-like environment which fostered learning that was collaborative, reciprocal and authentic. They spoke of being motivated to support and help inspire their teammates, as well as the depth of learning facilitated through peer to peer (tuakana-teina, whānau to whānau) interactions.

A big thank-you to all the supporting organisations

all the supporting organisations