Iakoranga Tatau and Tatauranga: Mathematics and Statistics

Mathematics (maths) education is about exploring patterns, quantities, symbols, systems, structures and units of the world around us and growing our awareness of the connectivity with nature that mathematics can have.

"Mathematics learning is as important to learning and functioning in society as are reading and writing."

Akoranga (learners) should be given raruraru o te ao (real-world problems) to solve, and the ability to harness their own natural skills in order to make sense of the world of numbers and patterns around them.

Historically, Moriori as the tchakat henu (indigenous peoples) of Rēkohu, needed to manage the natural resources of the islands carefully to ensure their own long-term survival.

  • No more seal were taken or killed than was necessary to survive.
    No more hopo (albatross) were taken than were needed, because, to take more would have meant there would be nothing left for the following year.
  • Trees were carefully 'managed' and although some were cut for shelters and firewood, none were ever allowed to perish unneccessarily.
    An awareness of numbers led Moriori to 'manage' their own population at a sustainable level.

Moriori had an awareness of number and their ability to predict volume and calculate capacity was historically recorded. Often their calculations involved a spiritual dimension as well as the practical and physical components. For example, before the killing of a whale, or the hopo, prayers were offered, as thanks and apology and also to ask that there be more next year. This shows an awareness of managing resources, rather than a simple request to the gods to keep supplying foodstocks.



When learning mathematics akoranga should be given opportunities to relate the learning to their own real-world contexts. Learning should suit the learner and their needs. Success in learning about mathematics is not dependent on the learner being able to recall answers faster than anyone else, or being able to solve a problem 3 different ways. All learning is personal and should be relative to the learner, not the programme. Accuracy and recall are obviously important, but the focus should be on giving akoranga the skills to solve problems not the answers. Mathematics should be delievered as a learning area full of discovery and experimentation.

Contemporary research reflects the value in learning mathematics through the tukanga uiui (inquiry process) approach, and that model also best reflects the traditional and holistic methods of kimi totohungatanga (searching for knowledge) used by the ancestors.

As with all learning, the focus should be on giving akoranga the skills for learning for life, not pouring in knowledge that will wash away with time.



According to the New Zealand Curriculum document, Mathematics Education is about:

Mathematics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in quantities, space, and time.
Statistics is the exploration and use of patterns and relationships in data. These two disciplines are related but different ways of thinking and of solving problems. Both equip students with effective means for investigating, interpreting, explaining, and making sense of the world in which they live.Mathematicians and statisticians use symbols, graphs, and diagrams to help them find and communicate patterns and relationships, and they create models to represent both real-life and hypothetical situations. These situations are drawn from a wide range of social, cultural, scientific, technological, health, environmental, and economic contexts.

How is the learning area structured?

The achievement objectives are presented in three strands. It is important that students can see and make sense of the many connections within and across these strands.

  • Number and algebra 

Number involves calculating and estimating, using appropriate mental, written, or machine calculation methods in flexible ways. It also involves knowing when it is appropriate to use estimation and being able to discern whether results are reasonable. Algebra involves generalising and representing the patterns and relationships found in numbers, shapes, and measures.

  • Geometry and measurement 

Geometry involves recognising and using the properties and symmetries of shapes and describing position and movement. Measurement involves quantifying the attributes of objects, using appropriate units and instruments. It also involves predicting and calculating rates of change.

  • Statistics

Statistics involves identifying problems that can be explored by the use of appropriate data, designing investigations, collecting data, exploring and using patterns and relationships in data, solving problems, and communicating findings. Statistics also involves interpreting statistical information, evaluating data-based arguments, and dealing with uncertainty and variation.



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There are a number of ways in which you can submit your unit plans to us. We accept unit-plans and lesson-plans via email (thats the easiest way) but you can "share them with us" on Google, send them to us via dropbox (yours) or even physically post them to us (that last one is probably the least reliable method).

Check out the Motu-Cation Unit plan, where learners have to create a budget for an Island Holiday to Rēkohu for  school group. Social, cultural, historical and mathematical learning all in one place. Have a look:  

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