Our teaching and learning

Our teaching and learning strategy, Te Ara Kōtihi, enables us to work together as a collective, with the learner at the centre of our organisation, and also helps us bring our values to life in everything we do.

Read more about our approach to teaching and learning below.

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

The three parts of Te Ara Kōtihi

Te Ara Kōtihi underpins what we teach, how we teach, and ultimately the experience our learners have when they interact with us. Our tohu is made up of 3 elements, which form the principles that guide how we work together strategically for better outcomes for our learners.



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 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 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, 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.

Would you like to experience our teaching and learning in action?

Sign up for one of our postgraduate programmes, or get in touch with us to learn more.