For a summary:
Jones, A., Marshall, M. Matthews, K. M., Smith, G.H. and Smith L.T. (1995) Myths and Realities: schooling in New Zealand. Palmerston North [N.Z.] :The Dunmore Press. (Pages 34 to 37)
"Prior to the arrival of Pākehā people in Aotearoa, Māori had a sophisticated and functional system of education. This system consisted of a powerful knowledge base, a complex oral tradition and a dynamic ability to respond to new challenges and changing needs. The traditional system of education, while complex and diverse, was also fully integrated in that skills, teaching and learning were rationalised and sanctioned through a highly intricate knowledge base. The linking of skills, rationale and knowledge was often mediated through the use of specific rituals (sources provided)." Page 34
For traditional concepts of higher education see also:
Benton R. and Benton N. (1995). The unbroken thread: Māori learning and the national qualifications framework in association with James Swindells and Tipene Chrisp, Te Wahanga Kaupapa Māori.
Wellington [N.Z.] : New Zealand Council for Educational Research.