Ko tō mātou tirohanga matara | Our vision

All ākonga are provided with innovative, connected and responsive teaching, learning experiences, pathways and environments. These will enable Māori to achieve success as Māori and all ākonga to thrive as culturally located learners and as citizens locally, nationally and globally.

Ko tō mātou ingoa | Our name

Grow – the intention to collectively grow and transform.

Waitaha – the abbreviated Māori name for the Canterbury area.

Ko tā mātou mahi | What we do

Our mahi is designed under four impact areas (pou) to guide our approach.

We collaborate with schools and communities to action initiatives and solutions that will make an impact.


  • Ākonga are future-focused and demonstrate global citizenship.
  • A broad definition of success is widely understood and implemented.
  • Learners have increased agency over the direction of their learning. 


  • There are smooth and seamless pathways into, between, and out of schools.
  • A connected, collaborative, coherent and learner-centred schooling system.

Equity and Inclusion

  • Authentic, rich curriculum and pedagogical approaches reflect our bicultural nation.
  • As Te Tiriti partners, schools actively collaborate with mana whenua/rūnanga to support Ngāi Tahu aspirations.
  • Inclusive education practices are used to identify and remove barriers so that learning is accessible for all.


  • Kaimahi and ākonga have a sense of identity, belonging and place.
  • Ākonga and teachers are empowered to support their own wellbeing.
  • Collaborative leadership is grown, enabled, and informed.

Whakamanahia te Tiriti | Honouring te Titiri

The goal of Grow Waitaha is to enable schools and kura to reimagine education for young people across the region. 

We continually review our work and get input from the sector to ensure we remain future focused. Grow Waitaha also aligns with the aspirations of the National Education and Learning Priorities. We support kura to collaborate and learn from each other to create better outcomes for all ākonga. We continue to support kura undertaking rebuilds and teaching in new environments. 

We aim to promote collaboration between kura by fostering self-sustaining networks of kura, kaiako and ākonga. Our work aims to extend and support the thinking of kaiako and school leaders to meet the current and future needs of ākonga. Putting learners at the centre of change recognises their unique perspectives on how they learn. 

We see Mātaitipu, a vision for young people that was created by young people, as a critical lens as we look to the future.

Ngā whanaungatanga | Relationships

We are strengthening relationships with Papatipu Rūnanga of Ngāi Tahu in Canterbury including Tuahiwi Education (Ngāi Tūāhuriri) and Kōia Te Mātauraka (representing seven Papatipu Rūnanga, Koukourārata, Ōnuku, Te Hapū o Ngāti Wheke, Te Taumutu, Waihao and Wairewa). We value their partnership and involvement in all aspects of our mahi.

Ko wai mātou | Who we are

Governed by Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education, Grow Waitaha is a partnership between its governors, three education providers (Tātai Aho Rau | CORE Education, Evaluation Associates Ltd | Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga, and Leadership Lab), kura and their communities.

Garry Williams, Te Mahau – Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education

Garry Williams is a member of Puaka, supporting the overall direction of the Grow Waitaha initiative. He enjoys exploring how systems can work better for users and builds commitment and enthusiasm for change. Garry brings flexibility to different situations and a knowledge of how collaborative partnerships can utilise strengths together.

Verity Tamepo, Te Mahau – Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education

Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Mutunga

Verity’s role at Te Tāhuhu o Te Mātauranga supports the mahi of Grow Waitaha as part of Garry William’s Renewal team. Career highlights and experiences include teaching across early years, primary and secondary, as well as supporting systemic change for equitable outcomes in tertiary education. Verity brings a commitment to upholding Te Tiriti o Waitangi and aspirations of hapū and iwi for positive educational outcomes for ākonga and their whānau.

Dr Cheryl Doig, Think Beyond 

Dr Cheryl Doig coordinates the Puaka and Deciding groups and supports all other workstreams in their combined mahi. Cheryl co-leads the Futures impact area. She has wide-ranging experiences in futures/foresight, education, health, leadership, and governance. Cheryl's great sense of curiosity and collaboration helps her to explore future possibilities and influence others.

Steve Edwards, Evaluation Associates | Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga

Steve Edwards has a range of roles across the Grow Waitaha project. He leads the Pathways impact area and is a member of the Deciding and Puaka groups. In addition, he helps allocate support for schools undergoing ‘build projects’. He has also supported schools to develop and/or review their education brief documentation. 

Janelle Riki-Waaka, Tātai Aho Rau Core Education

Janelle co-leads the Equity and Inclusion impact area and is a member of Puaka and Deciding groups. She is a highly experienced leader and consultant specialising in areas such as developing cultural competencies, Te Tiriti o Waitangi education and digital technologies. She has considerable teaching and leadership experience in both English Medium and bilingual education settings and has developed extensive experience in supporting the engagement and success of all ākonga. Janelle is passionate and committed to empowering ākonga Māori to live, create and innovate in ways that re-indigenise and revitalise our reo and tikanga for future generations.

Dr Chris Jansen, Leadership Lab

Chris co-leads the Equity and Inclusion impact area, is a member of Puaka and Deciding groups, and facilitates various initiatives across Grow Waitaha including the Ōtautahi Secondary Change Leaders Network. He also works in a variety of schools and Kāhui Ako and is passionate about culturally sustaining leadership. Chris is co-director of Leadership Lab which is focused on growing equitable and thriving communities and organisations.

Kerry Hall, Evaluation Associates Ltd | Te Huinga Kākākura Mātauranga

Kerry leads the Wellbeing impact area, is a member of Puaka and Deciding groups, and facilitates Grow Waitaha initiatives across the impact areas. She has supported several schools across Waitaha with their education briefs and as they transitioned into their new learning spaces.

Helen MacGougan, Tātai Aho Rau Core Education

Helen leads the Storytelling team and is a member of Puaka and Deciding groups. Helen's educational background is as a kaiako and a middle leader in secondary education and as a facilitator with adult learners. Helen’s passion is storytelling, supporting people to be heard, seen, understood and meaningfully participate in the creation of their own stories.