Our teaching and learning approach

Te Ara Kōtihi – our strategy

Te Ara Kōtihi means ‘the pathway to success‘ and it’s an organisation-wide strategy that provides structure, principles, and the high-level goals to ensure we are all working as a collective.

The tohu depicted here was designed for us by Trish Francis, and the whakataukī she had in mind was:

Nā tō rourou, nā taku rourou ka ora ai te iwi

With your food basket and my food basket we will thrive

This highlights the importance of having a shared purpose and making a contribution to ensure that we thrive as a collective.

Hear from our Pou Ārahi, Te Mihinga Komene, and our National Academic Director, Craig Hilton



Our learners – the centre of everything we do, as well as human potential, growth, relationships and conversations, all of which are unique to our organisation.

Niho taniwha / teeth of the taniwha

Our organisation – our teams, staff, teachers, structures, processes, and delivery, which all exist to support our learners.

Kōtihi / summit

Our success – what we are striving for, which is all of us working as a collective, combining our skills and knowledge, to create value and better outcomes for all our learners.

Ō mātou mātāpono – our values

Positive relationships are at the centre of our philosophy and values for teaching and learning. As a collective, the following organisational kaupapa Māori values drive our practice, and underpin everything we do here. We share these values with our sister organisation The Mind Lab and many of our support services are delivered by the same team.


We nurture and care for staff and learners in our various activities and learning spaces through our conversations, knowledge sharing, and supporting the wellbeing of all. We embrace difference and respect everyone’s values and include everyone, no matter their gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, religious beliefs, disability, political opinion or employment status, in all the places and spaces we interact in.


We respect diverse talents and ways of learning; we will support all students to express their learning in ways that are diverse and sustaining to their culture.

We acknowledge our cultural heritage and explicitly support Māori and Pacific staff and learners to achieve at the highest levels.


We believe effective, reciprocal teaching interactions and strong positive relationships are fostered through knowledge exchange.

We foster collaborative and effective teaching and learning environments.


We are all accountable and responsible for our actions – there is transparency, truth, integrity and honesty in everything that we do.

We are transparent about the way we make decisions, carefully consider those who might be affected by these decisions, and the impact of these decisions on others.

What this means for our learners

  • Te Ara Kōtihi helps us ensure, across our programmes and all the teams and initiatives we undertake at Tech Futures Lab and The Mind Lab, that we are all aiming for the same goal – success for you, our learners.
  • These principles guide us to define, develop and maintain high-quality teaching and learning as evidenced by a measurable value to all stakeholders. 
  • Our strategy enables us to work together to deliver teaching and learning that is culturally responsive and sustainable, as well as being research-informed, with teaching staff actively engaged in practice-relevant research.
  • Our strategy provides the base for our student support initiatives, such as ManaakiFono, Mahi Tahi sessions, He Rourou, and Tuia Te Kupu, ensuring the appropriate structures are in place to enable your success.
  • It helps those currently learning with us, those who have learned with us in the past, and those who want to learn with us, understand how we do things around here and what to expect when you interact with any one of our team.

Life-long learning

Sharing and learning from others creates energy and fresh perspectives. That includes learning from our students, who all have a story to tell, an idea to share, or a view to understand.

All our facilitators and contributors are practitioners. And while there’s no shortage of academic clout, we are all equally thinkers and doers.

Our diverse network of experts will help unbundle the complexities in contemporary problems and coach you to apply relevant frameworks that pull it all together under the umbrella of your project.

You’ll be connected with past and current students, to give you first hand insight, not to mention different perspectives, ideas and even debates.

This is a community of dynamic, forward-thinking, purpose-driven people; one that you’ll want to remain a part of beyond your time with us as a student. We’re committed to a positive future, fueled by fresh regenerative thinking.

Organisational Agility micro-credential learning approach

This unique programme is designed and delivered in collaboration between The Institute for Social Sustainability (TISS) and Tech Futures Lab. The structure of the programme differs from our other postgraduate programmes due to its reflective nature. 

The course is structured to teach and guide participants through weekly scheduled class sessions but also requires a high degree of hands-on ‘guided self-paced study’. This means that each week a learning focus will be set for all participants to explore, review or evolve during their own time. It is a highly guided, supported experience.

​The approach encourages participants to develop their own critical review skills, their own perspectives and strategies to apply the learning outcomes in their context. 

The culmination of the course is an applied portfolio of work that captures your development journey and demonstrates your new knowledge and agility skill set. 

The content covered on this programme is applicable to anyone looking to develop mental, emotional and behavioural agility in any type of organisational environment or role.

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