The Ariki Project

Collaborative Critique informed by Evidence of Practice


(An independant professional development programme for school principals run by Te Ariki Charitable Trust - A collaborative initiative from NZPF and NZEI Te Riu Roa.)


Professional conversations and reflective critique helps establish meaning and authenticate purpose for what teachers and school leaders do. The Ariki Project provides both a context and a set of protocols, supported by appropriate resources for ensuring that high quality thinking is applied to the work that educators do. A reworked Quality Learning Circles[1] methodology both within schools and across schools is established as a means of progressing this goal. The prime focus for the ensuing reflective critique is evidence of their practice. 

At the centre of attention is the interactions that the various participants engage in as they seek to achieve the school goals. For principals we  propose that they exchange aspects of their current appraisal process for this activity as a means of freeing up time and as a means of more effectively seeking correlations between their intentions, what they actually do and the consequences for teaching and learning in the school.

The sequence begins in the individual school and then following the same protocols moves to a  leaders’ forum where principals demonstrate examples of their  interactions, explore the implications and consequences for teachers and students, consider other options and views and make choices based on the notion of ‘worthwhile activities’[2]. There is a coherence and strong sense of professionalism contained in all these procedures which can be collected and catalogued in the on-line concept map provided. Provision is also made for inter-school visiting matching the internal classroom visiting to validate and extend the critical discussions.

Many of the procedures parallel those cited and studied in overseas literature but the manner in which these elements are assembled and operationalised in this particular project is thought to be unique to the New Zealand scene. These ideas have grown out of the various principal group programmes which have been developed predominately by The New Zealand Principal and Leadership Centre. As our knowledge has widened we have been able to build on this experience. This development introduces a rigor and focus which can also be employed when working with the Kiwi Leadership for Principals initiative.




[1]   Trace the development of this concept over the last few years through:

Stewart, David,Tomorrow's Principals Today, Massey University, Palmerston North,Kanuka Grove Press,2000, Chapter 3

Stevens, Ken and David Stewart. Cybercells: Learning in Actual and Virtual Groups, Melbourne,Thompson/Dunmore Press,2005,Chapter 7 ; and

EDEX Tutorials (

[2]   worthwhile: sufficiently important, rewarding, or valuable to justify time or effort spent. Collins English Dictionary. 1984

        worthwhile also implies the notion of being 'transformed' by what you know. - not just knowledgeable. See R.S.Peters. 'What is an educational process' in The concept of education Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd London, 1967.