Ngā Haeata Mātauranga: Annual Report on Māori Education 2007/08

Publication Details

Ngā Haeata Mātauranga – The Annual Report on Māori Education, 2007/08 is the ministry’s one-stop-shop for data, evidence and information about Māori education.

Author(s): Education Information and Analysis Group / Group Māori [Ministry of Education]

Date Published: February 2009

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1: Introduction

At the heart of a resilient economy and healthy society lies the education success of all New Zealanders.

The Ministry of Education’s role is to lead and work with the education sector to develop an education system that will equip all New Zealanders with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to be successful citizens in the 21st century.

To lift the performance of the system overall requires a strong focus on those who are least well-served by the system.

The experiences of many Māori over the years and recent research1 demonstrate that education system performance has been persistently inequitable for Māori learners.

The reasons for this are becoming clearer. In 1997, the ‘Chapple Report’2 concluded there was nothing significant about ‘being Māori’ that affected education success. Differences in achievement were due to socio-economic status rather than ethnicity. However, research published in 2007 challenges the 1997 conclusion. This new analysis of the same 1997 data has concluded that ethnicity is a significant factor in achievement over and above socio-economic status.3

Harker’s report and other research such as Te Kotahitanga4 suggest that the explanation lies in the relationships between schools, teachers and students.

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success: The Māori Education Strategy 2008–2012, released by the ministry in 2008, seeks to channel the ministry’s investments and energies into evidence-based initiatives to ensure Māori students’ education success as Māori.

Ngā Haeata Mātauranga – Annual Report on Māori Education will report on how the education system has performed for and with Māori learners in relation to the goals of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success. In the 2007/08 report, some of the material dates from before the publication of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.

Ngā Haeata Mātauranga 2007/08 highlights the latest evidence of what is working for and with Māori learners. It provides examples and stories to highlight successes across the sector. It examines and shares information about the education system’s progress towards achieving the strategic intent of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.

This report draws on the best available evidence, as well as the personal and professional observations and experience of whānau, hapū, iwi, Māori communities and educators. It illustrates the convergence of real-life and evidence-based perspectives that, together, will make the difference for and with Māori learners, their whānau, iwi and wider communities.

With its specific focus on Māori success, Ngā Haeata Mātauranga complements the ministry’s other reports on the success of the education system, including the School Sector Report, Annual Report and tertiary monitoring reports.

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success aims to transform the education sector over the next five years in ways that enable Māori to live and succeed as Māori in te Ao Māori, in New Zealand society and in the wider world. The strategic intent of Ka Hikitia: Managing for Success is:

‘Māori enjoying education success as Māori’.
This means having an education system that provides all Māori learners with the opportunity to gain the skills and knowledge to realise their unique potential and succeed in their lives.

Succeeding as Māori captures and reflects the research findings that identity, language and culture are essential ingredients of success.5 The strategy takes a broad view of success, recognising the multiple concepts of success held by students, whānau, hapū, iwi, education professionals and providers.

‘Māori enjoying education success as Māori’ is about Māori achieving both universal outcomes and outcomes that are unique to each learner – and to each learner as Māori. As Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success is implemented the ministry expects to see Māori learners:

  • working with others to determine successful learning and education pathways
  • excelling and successfully realising their cultural distinctiveness and potential
  • successfully participating in and contributing to te Ao Māori
  • gaining the universal skills and knowledge needed to successfully participate in and contribute to New Zealand and the world.
Strategy approach

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success has been designed to concentrate on the things the evidence shows will transform the performance of the education system for and with Māori.

The four focus areas that are the most critical to that transformation are:

  • Foundation Years (early childhood education and first years at school)
  • Young People Engaged in Learning (particularly years 9 and 10)
  • Māori Language Education (in English-medium and Māori-medium)
  • Organisational Success.

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success is underpinned by the Māori potential approach and the concept of ako.

Māori potential approach

A Māori potential approach6 is one that focuses primarily on striking a better balance between remedying deficit and realising potential. It looks to maximise opportunities not just solve problems. It invests in success – building on what works to spread that success more widely. That does not mean that problems are ignored. Rather it means the ministry actively seeks and takes every opportunity it can to build on success.

An approach to support and maximise Māori potential in education has three key underlying principles:

  • Māori Potential: all Māori learners have unlimited potential
  • Cultural Advantage: all Māori have cultural advantage by virtue of who they are – being Māori is an asset not a problem
  • Inherent Capability: all Māori are inherently capable of achieving success.

This approach acknowledges the many important stakeholders in Māori education – learners, parents, whānau, hapū, iwi, educators, providers, communities, enterprises and government. Each has a distinctive contribution to make and a range of talents, skills, knowledge and resources that are essential to support quality education outcomes. Each benefits from the education success of Māori learners.


Research clearly shows that high-quality teaching is the most important school-based influence on successful outcomes for diverse students.7 Evidence also shows that effective teaching and learning depends on the relationship between teacher and learner and the active engagement and motivation of the students by the teacher.8

Ako is a rich concept that reflects an understanding of a unified cooperation between the learner and the teacher. The concept of ako is much larger and more complex than the way in which ako is at times referred to in English-medium educational contexts. In the context of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success, ako is used to describe effective teaching and learning – where the teacher is also a learner and vice versa.

In the context of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success, ako incorporates:

  • Culture Counts: knowing, respecting and valuing who students are, where they come from and building on what they bring with them to the learning context
  • Productive Partnerships: Māori students, whānau, iwi, Māori communities and educators sharing knowledge and expertise to produce better mutual outcomes.

1.2: Strategic monitoring and reporting

While Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success prioritises only four key areas for focus, it sets out more than 50 actions to achieve the goals of these focus areas and will use 22 targets to measure success.

The ministry is now collecting data on its progress towards achieving the strategy’s priorities, goals, targets and actions. It is also carrying out a range of research and evaluation projects to enable the ministry to monitor and analyse change and progress towards outcomes over time.

1.3: Report overview

Ngā Haeata Mātauranga mirrors the four focus areas of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success.

Chapter 2, Foundation Years, explores the ministry’s work that focuses on the period in a child’s life spanning birth through to the first few years at school.

The chapter on Young People Engaged in Learning explores the period in a Māori learner’s life where the evidence clearly shows they are most vulnerable – years 9 and 10 – and explores tertiary and lifelong learning.

The Māori Language Education chapter looks at the early childhood education (ECE), school and tertiary settings where te reo Māori me ōna tikanga comprises some or all of the teaching and learning programme.9

Chapter 5, Organisational Success, provides a window into the ministry’s role in leading and facilitating a 21st century education system that is effective for and with Māori learners.

The appendices contain summaries of the education initiatives mentioned in this report.

1.4: Strategic links

The government has outlined three themes that shape its priorities. More effective education outcomes for and with Māori will directly contribute to the achievement of these priorities.

Economic Transformation: Increasing the education system’s ability to support Māori achievement will support economic transformation by increasing skill levels and innovation through incorporating Māori perspectives, knowledge and ways of operating.

Families Young and Old: Increasing the education system’s ability to effectively engage with whānau in education and provide quality education options will ensure that all families have the support and choices they need to be secure and to reach their full potential.

National Identity: Our national identity acknowledges the unique heritage of New Zealand with Māori as tangata
whenua, and is therefore dependent on the strength and health of Māori culture and language. Strengthening the ability of education, particularly Māori language education, to teach and develop Māori language and culture will strengthen our national identity.

The government’s Māori Language Strategy sets out a 25-year vision for the future of the Māori language and clarifies the ministry’s responsibility for strengthening education opportunities in Māori language. By 2028, the ministry is aiming to ensure that most Māori people will be able to speak Māori language to some extent.

The ministry’s Statement of Intent 2008–13 sets out sector outcomes that are closely aligned to the focus areas of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success:

  • All children develop strong learning foundations
    • increasing participation in high-quality early childhood education
    • increasing literacy and numeracy achievement in primary school
    • earlier identification of and intervention for children with specific barriers to learning.
  • All young people participate, engage and achieve in education
    • increasing engagement and achievement in secondary education so that young people stay at school longer and leave with higher-level qualifications
    • more successful pathways into tertiary education and work
    • higher levels of achievement in tertiary education by the age of 25.
  • Learners have access to high-quality Māori language education that delivers positive learning and language outcomes
    • increasing numbers of high-quality teachers proficient in te reo Māori
    • increasing effectiveness of teaching and learning in and through te reo Māori.
  • The education system produces the knowledge and develops people with the skills to drive New Zealand’s future economic and social success
    • building an education system for the 21st century
    • increasing education’s contribution to economic transformation and innovation through new knowledge, skills and research.
  • Education agencies work effectively and efficiently to achieve education outcomes
    • building leadership, accountability, relationships, competence and confidence.

The chief executives of the six government education agencies10 all work to these sector outcomes, which are reflected in each agency’s Statement of Intent, under the leadership of the Secretary for Education.

Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success actions have the highest priority in the ministry. Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success provides a lens through which other ministry education strategies are able to tailor their approach to teaching, learning and engagement so they ensure Māori education success.

The 10-year strategic plan for early childhood education, Pathways to the Future: Ngā Huarahi Arataki, is midway through its implementation. It outlines the sector’s and the government’s vision for early childhood education (ECE) in New Zealand from 2002 through to 2012. At the plan’s core are three goals:

  • increase participation in quality ECE services
  • improve quality of ECE services
  • promote collaborative relationships.

The plan includes specific strategies for building an ECE sector responsive to the needs of Māori and Pasifika. The focus now is on participation rates, take-up of Free ECE,11 affordability, and teacher qualifications and registration as indicators of quality and success.

The literacy and numeracy strategies focus on improving literacy and numeracy achievement, primarily through professional development and support, providing access to knowledge about best practice and specific interventions. A key focus is on supporting schools to gather, analyse and use literacy and numeracy achievement data for each learner and tailor teaching practice accordingly.

Like Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success, the ministry’s other population-based strategies, the Pasifika Education Plan and Better Outcomes for Children, provide a framework to ensure investments are tailored to those population groups most underserved and to help individual learners achieve their potential.

Schools Plus is a policy for all young people to be in education, skills or other structured learning, relevant to their abilities and needs, until the age of 18. The strategic approach and evidence underpinning Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success have informed the development of Schools Plus. A focus for Schools Plus is supporting better education and career decision-making by students, which directly reflects the goals of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success for Young People Engaged in Learning.

The implementation of the actions in Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success will help achieve the Schools Plus goal for and with Māori learners by ensuring:

  • effective teaching for Māori learners in years 9 and 10
  • increased learner involvement in and responsibility for decision-making
  • effective professional development and accountable leadership for Māori success
  • improved whānau–school partnerships focused on participation, engagement and achievement.

The New Zealand Skills Strategy is an initiative between government, industry, employers and unions. It aims to create a unified approach to ensure New Zealand individuals and organisations are able to develop and use the skills needed in the workplaces of the future. The ministry is contributing to this strategy by leading work to ensure that all young people gain competencies and skills to succeed in work. The ministry will ensure the Skills Strategy is aligned with the focus on transitions from secondary school to training in employment and further education. Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success also supports the Skills Strategy by focusing on engaging young people in learning at school, which is a prerequisite for success in further education and training.

As part of the Tertiary Education Strategy, government is seeking to increase participation and achievement of qualifications at higher levels in tertiary education. A priority outcome of the Statement of Tertiary Education Priorities (STEP) 2008–10 is ‘increasing educational success for young New Zealanders – more achieving qualifications at Level 4 and above by age 25’.

Evidence shows that achievement at school has the greatest effect on early and successful participation in higher-level tertiary education.12 The focus of Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success on increasing the engagement of young people in secondary education will directly contribute to this outcome.

Image of table showing how the ministry’s different strategies relate to each other and how they contribute to the ministry’s priorities.

The above table shows how the ministry’s different strategies relate to each other and how they contribute to the ministry’s priorities.

To read more about the strategies, policies and programmes mentioned in this chapter, visit the Ministry of Education or Te Kete Ipurangi websites.



    For another example, see Cazden (1990).
  2. Chapple et al. (1997).
  3. Harker (2007).
  4. For example Bishop et al. (2007).
  5. Bishop et al. (2003); Bishop et al. (2007); Harker (2007); Nash (2004); Nuthall (2001); Tahuri (2005).
  6. Based on the Māori Potential Approach developed by Te Puni Kōkiri in 2004 as the public policy approach for government. (For more information see
  7. Alton-Lee (2003); Benseman et al. (2005); May et al. (2004); Wylie & Arago-Kemp (2004).
  8. Pere (1982); Nuthall (2001).
  9. Māori Language Education is a term that describes a te reo Māori class in a school or university where English is the main language of teaching and learning. It also comprises Māori-medium education, total immersion, bilingual, kaupapa Māori education and short adult courses at wānanga. Any form or type of education where te reo Māori me ōna tikanga (the Māori language and its customs) is the focus is considered part of the varied and eclectic Māori language education sector.
  10. Ministry of Education, Education Review Office, Career Services, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, New Zealand Teachers Council, Tertiary Education Commission.
  11. The policy of up to 20 hours of free early childhood education for three- and four-year-olds in teacher-led early childhood services.
  12. Ministry of Education (2006a).

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