Massey University has had a record number of enrolments for its kura kaupapa teaching programme this year.
Combined enrolments for both Te Ao Paerewa, its one-year postgraduate programme, and Te Ao Taatairangi, its undergraduate Māori medium teaching courses, were up 133 percent on last year.
Programme co-ordinator Huia Janke cites a strong relationship with the kura kaupapa network for bringing in more students.
"The idea is to try and encourage kura to upskill teachers who are working on LATS, Limited Authority to Teach, so they're qualified in terms of their ability and strong te reo but they haven't been trained so this is one way that we can assist kura."
Janke said the remote teaching option was also attractive as students were able to remain in their rohe while studying.
Te Ao Paerewa, the one-year postgraduate course, was started in 2017 as part of a government initiative to increase the number of kura teachers to address the shortage.
However, there are four sessions which are a week long, and held at the Massey University campus in Palmerston North and students must pay for their own travel to and from those.
Janke said for the first three years of the course there was funding for food, travel and accommodation for these sessions, but this was no longer available.
"Training teachers is very, very expensive, it's labour intensive... and if we want to deliver a programme that's kaupapa Māori and in line with the philosophies we require increased kanohi ki te kanohi (face-to-face).
"It's a struggle but what it's meant was that we were more able to deliver the programme in line with a kaupapa Māori philosophy which was really about sending them to the central campus in Palmerston but we could also send our staff out to the rohe and have rohe hui."
She said whānau were encouraged to attend because they sit at the heart of the Māori education system.
"This is not just a profession and not just a job, it's a way of life and that's the whole philosophy behind the programme."
She said kura kaupapa teachers were expected to go to the likes of tangihanga and be involved with the wider Māori community.