The overarching policy strategy for Māori education is contained in the document Ka Hikitia— Accelerating Success 2013–2017: The Māori Education Strategy (preceded by Ka Hikitia—Managing for Success 2008–2012), out of which fall some specific Māori education resources. One of these is Tātaiako: Cultural Competencies for Teachers of Māori Learners. The Tātaiako framework purports to define behaviours and skills that reflect a teacher’s Māori cultural competence to ensure the success of Māori students, as Māori. These competencies are identified as five traditional Māori values and concepts: ako, manaakitanga, tangata whenuatanga, wānanga and whanaungatanga. The purpose of this article is to present a Kaupapa Māori analysis of Tātaiako, which raises questions about its potential to improve Māori student achievement, its underlying political purpose and the challenges inherent in the education system that may affect its successful implementation.