Wider Horizons: Tau Mohio Number Knowledge


By tomorrow we’ll all know whether the Otumoetai College, Bay of Plenty regional winners of the Young Enterprise Scheme have aced the New Zealand wide competition. This afternoon at 3pm (wearing their blazers) the team will make their formal presentation. Tonight is awards night and I think I’ll be able to feel the excitement and expectation from Whakamarama.

I set eyes on Tau Mohio – Number Knowledge, a beautifully designed, illustrated and packaged te reo Maori interactive number learning tool nestled in a display at the Whakamarama Kindergarten Christmas Market. I was going to include in that sentence “for young children” and then I think – that may have been the intention of its creators but it could just as well teach old white men how to count in Te reo Maori!

Almost unnoticed on a beautiful and busy exhibiton at the Whakamarama Kindy Christmas Market

The Otumoetai College team of Natalie Dawick (with whom I’m speaking) includes Adriana Vicars, Phoebe Adler and Amia Wharry. They are in Year 12 and between 16 and 17 years of age. Natalie makes it clear there was no intention to have an “all girls” team, it’s just that they are the people who wanted to fill those roles. They’re all taking business studies but Natalie is clear she would like a career in early childhood education.

Otumoetai College Student and Wider Horizons YES team member Natalie Dawick

Out of interest I ask Natalie about other Otumoetai College projects for this year’s YES competition – some were; container plants, a honey based product and drink bottles. What I find particularly interesting is that Natalie’s team designed and created a product they were aware someone had a need for: business strategy 1-0-1. Tau Mohio is a simple Te reo  Maori counting, numbers and matching game aimed at early childcare centres. And, the team was mentored by Wellington based Tina Larsen who has produced her own alphabet focused product.

Tina is not the only supporter “angel investor” or mentor of the project. There’s a list in the back of the accompanying book of poems created by Moira Wairama. They even had a financial investor to add to their own capital raising efforts of chocolate sales and a movie night. And there is a registered company. This is the real deal.

I ask about the process used to get the final product: I know this is hardwork from my ongoing contact with local writers and creatives. They advertised within the College for an illustrator, asked for submissions of work and selected Grace Finnegan. The quality of print finish and presentation is excellent. The young women used The Big Picture to print the book and cards and Custom Box in Maleme Street for the protective cardboard container. When I ask how the team checked the suitability of the product Natalie informs me her teach has a five-year old son and he helped!

This product, its success (a second print run already) didn’t fall into the laps of these students. I hear about the time spent at an Auckland trade show, (which has resulted in sales to Invercargill and Whangarei), the facebook page and “the back end” of the business. I am not at all surprised however that Natalie’s Mother (who has her own superb educational toy-based business) can recall the development steps with clarity.

Te Puna-based Natalie shares with me how her thread of Maori ancestry and her affiliation to a Rotorua-based iwi enabled her to find a pathway to obtain local iwi approval to the commercial use of Te reo Maori. I ask to see the gown she, like her team colleagues will wear to this evening’s presentation, it’s simple and sophisticated. Once again it’s confirmed to me how outstandingly talented and wonderful many of your local young people are.

This product may have been conceived and designed with early childcare centres in mind but it would be a great Christmas (or anytime) gift for family and whanau.

Tau Mohio – Number Knowledge is the 2017 product of Wider Horizons. I can’t wait to see what they create for the YES 2018.

Prepare your ground         Kei te mara

Wider Horizons can be contacted at:
Cell: 022 030 0112
Email:   widerhorizons17@gmail.com


We are a group of committed Year 12 Business students seeking funds to help us see our Te Reo Māori number teaching set come to life.

Main image

Childcare New Ideas Early Childhood

We feel as if there are not enough Te Reo Māori teaching resources for young children in New Zealand. Our product is a set of 20 flashcards with numbers 1-10, and 10 cards with artwork relating to the numbers. On the 6th June we pitched our product to a group of judges at our regional Dragon’s den competition and we came 2nd with 90/100 points! This gave us the reassurance that our product will be successful and appreciated in Early Childhood Centres throughout New Zealand.

Funds will be used to cover production costs including printing and packaging for our product.


Students’ Winning Enterprise . . . Tau Mohio Number Knowledge in focus

Move over paint-by-numbers Te Reo’s in town!

te reo threeWhen Otumoetai College students Natalie Dawick, Phoebe Adler, Adriana Vickers, Amia Wharry and Faith Merrick where thinking upon a unique idea for the New Zealand schools’ Young Enterprise Challenge, they broadened their horizons and channelled their thoughts to innovative learning, Kiwi culture and the spoken word.

“Te Reo Maori is the indigenous language of New Zealand and as a group we felt that we weren’t given many opportunities to learn the language when we were children,” explains Natalie Dawick. “So, we wanted to provide Kiwi kids with this opportunity now.”

te reo 2With picture books and singalong education resources already in circulation, the Wider Horizons group, steered towards designing a product with an interactive twist.

“As part of our market research, we noticed that there are a range of products that teach Te Reo Maori. However, we noticed that none of them are highly interactive,” explains the group. “Many language teaching materials consist of posters and wall charts which not all children learn best from.”

The girls took a hands-on approach, creating a series of colourful, stylised Te Reo cards to be used in a variety of ways.

te reo“Our Tau Mohio Number Knowledge is unique because it isn’t a set game or exercise – it has multiple uses,” says Natalie. “The cards can be used as a matching game by spreading them out and getting children to find them. You can also put velcro on the back to use as flashcards, or stick them to a carpeted wall to use during mat time.”

The finishing touch? A poetry book which children can read – and be read to –  during mat time. And like many business ventures, Wider Horizon’s wasn’t complete without a few hurdles along the way.

te reo four “Our vision is to help kids get used to the language – children of all ages – which is why we spent a lot of time finalising the animal theme for the cards and poem book,” explains Natalie. “We always knew we wanted animals or insects that children would recognise but struggled with which ‘popular’ ones to feature. We eventually decided on a garden theme as children could read the poem book or look at the cards and then go out and identify them outdoors.”

The girls aimed high, hoping to spark a new wave of learning, and their efforts has seen Tau Mohio Knowledge already soar to popularity.

“We hope to get Tau Mohio Number Knowledge into many early childhood centres and shops across New Zealand and give children the opportunity to learn Te Reo Maori,” the group enthuse. “We are still unsure of where this may take us in the future but we are excited!”

To learn more about Tau Mohio Number Knowledge email the girls: widerhorizons17@gmail.com

Sep 20 2017


Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.

AND DON’T FORGET THE AFFORDABLE ART & ARTISAN FAIR WILL BE BACK ON THE LAST SUNDAY IN JANUARY 2018 AT THE BLACK SHEEP BAR & GRILL, WHAKAMARAMA!  A very big thank you to everyone who participated in the inaugural market, the wonderful visitors, the businesses who supported us getting the Fair off the ground and the team at the Black Sheep Bar & Grill!

The Affordable Art & Artisan Fair at Whakamarama recommences January 2018 – ongoing last Sunday of every month


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