Toni James Davis Waho

Ngāti Rangi, Te Āti Haunui a Pāpārangi, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Apa, Waikato

1961 -

Toni Waho was born in Palmerston North and attended primary schools in Martinborough, Kairanga, Porangahau, and Waipukurau. He continued his secondary education at Central Hawkes Bay College, Palmerston North Boys’ High, and Kamloops Senior Secondary in Canada. He enrolled in Kariboo College in Canada, Victoria University of Wellington, Massey University and the NZ Childcare Association. He graduated with a B.A. (Māori Studies), a NZ Cert in Childcare, and a Dip Tchg (ECE) Equiv. He writes non-fiction work and has produced a variety of unpublished articles and speeches focussing on racism in Aotearoa and in Māori education. He has written several contemporary Māori compositions which have been recorded by Nga Hoa Tautoko. Waho has worked as a Kaiako in Kohanga Reo and is currently the Principal at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Mana Tamariki in Palmerston North.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence and phone conversation with Waho: 10 March 1993, 2 August 1998 and 4 November 2004.


  • Rapua Te Kura Tika: Beyond Kohanga...: A Report on the Establishment of a Kura Kaupapa Māori in Manawatu., September 1989. Penny Poutu and Toni Waho on behalf of Rapua Te Kura Tika. Palmerston North, N.Z.: Rapua te Kura Tuka, [1989].
  • Poutu and Waho write a detailed report of the work and research of Rapua Te Kura Tika, a multi-tribal group which, in September 1987, ‘was given the mandate by a Kohanga Reo Hui to seek the best schooling option to provide for children leaving Kohanga Reo in Manawatu.’ This publication is divided into four sections entitled ‘Summary’, ‘Introduction’, ‘The Research’ and ‘Kura Kaupapa Māori Policy: The Development of State Policy and Rapua Te Kura Tika’s Response’, and concludes with a glossary, bibliography and seven appendices. Poutu and Waho provide a history of the planning and negotiation with the Ministry of Education and discuss in detail the results of the research on ‘how Manawatu’s first Kura Kaupapa Māori would function’ in terms of the kaupapa of the school, entry criteria, size of school roll, staff qualifications, curriculum, capital resources and many other aspects. Section 4 of the publication is a detailed analysis of the rationale, scope and policy of Kura Kaupapa Māori and Rapua Te Kura Tika’s response.
  • The Benefits of Kura Kaupapa Māori. Wellington, N.Z.: Te Puni Kokiri, 1993.
  • Waho states that this publication ‘describes the context within which the total immersion Māori language schools are developing. It outlines the educational, cognitive socio-cultural economic and national benefits that are derived from the government support of the establishment of Kura Kaupapa Māori. It advises the government on the range of factors that need to be put in place to ensure that all of these benefits are accrued and the factors include: adequate funding and programmes such as teacher training and the publications of Māori language learning and teaching materials.’