Māori tertiary education students in 2009
This is a fact sheet in a series on Māori tertiary education students. There is an associated set of tables available on the Māori Education Statistics page here on Education Counts.
This factsheet includes gender information on Māori tertiary education students, the qualifications students are taking, where they are studying, field of study, student allowances and loans and other important characteristics of Māori students. Also included is information on Māori employees in industry training and Gateway.
Author(s): Mieke Wensvoort, Tertiary Sector Performance Analysis and Reporting, Ministry of Education.
Date Published: May 2011
In 2009, there were 83,800 enrolments by Māori students in formal tertiary qualifications, up 3.8 percent on 2008. This followed several years of declining enrolments due mainly to falls in enrolments in level 1 to 3 certificates.1 Māori enrolments decreased from 2007 to 2008 by 3.7 percent and from 2006 to 2007 they decreased by 2.0 percent.
At every qualification level, Māori enrolments were higher in 2009 than in 2008, except for level 1 to 3 certificates which decreased by 2.4 percent. There were more younger Māori students enrolled in 2009 than in 2008 with the proportion of under-25-year-olds increasing from 36 percent to 37 percent. The proportion of all domestic under-25-year-olds increased from 41 percent in 2008 to 43 percent in 2009. These trends reflect the government's tertiary education priority for young people – more under-25-year-olds achieving qualifications at level 4 and above, particularly degrees – and also Ka hikitia, the education strategy for Māori, which has a target to increase first-year degree and diploma retention rates for 18 to 19 year old Māori.
Figure 1: Māori students in provider-based formal tertiary education compared with all domestic students
Enrolments by Māori students in honours degrees and postgraduate certificates and diplomas increased by 14 percent, doctoral-degree enrolments and enrolments in level 4 certificates rose by 12 percent each, bachelors degrees and level 5 to 7 diplomas by 11 percent each, masters degrees by 7.2 percent, and graduate certificates and diplomas were 5.0 percent higher in 2008 than in 2009.
In 2009, 17 percent of Māori aged 15 years and over participated in formal tertiary education. This compared with a participation rate of 11 percent for Europeans, 12 percent for Pasifika and 13 percent for Asians. Since 2004, the participation rate has fallen for each ethnic group due mainly to a lower participation rate in level 1 to 3 certificates.
|About the Data Used in this Fact Sheet:|
The information presented here relates to students enrolled in provider-based formal qualifications of more than one week's duration, unless otherwise stated.
The data in this fact sheet is from the tertiary education enrolments collection provided to the Ministry of Education by tertiary education providers. In 2000, the data collection was extended to record multiple ethnicities. Up to 3 ethnicities are now collected and students are counted in each group.
Students may be enrolled with one or more tertiary education providers at any time during the year.
From 1999 onwards, information for private training establishments has been included in the statistical collections. Private providers are included in those collections if they receive government enrolments-based funding
The equivalent full-time student (EFTS) unit referred to in this fact sheet is a measure or 'size' of each student's enrolment. One equivalent full-time student unit represents the load taken by a student enrolled full-time for one year. Part-time study years are expressed as proportions of an EFTS, for example, 0.75 EFTS. The equivalent full-time student count is the sum of the EFTS units for a year.
The equivalent full-time student count used in this fact sheet does not equate to the count of student achievement component-funded learners.
The amount of study undertaken by Māori students in 2009, in terms of equivalent full-time student units, increased by 8.6 percent on the previous year to 50,200. At every qualification level the average study load of students increased from 2008 to 2009 reflecting, in part, the weak employment market. There were more Māori people who took the opportunity to study higher-level and longer qualifications to strengthen their position in the labour market. The biggest increases in study load, in terms of equivalent full-time student units, occurred for level 4 certificates, up by 1,710 units or 20 percent, bachelors degrees, up by 1,090 units or 11 percent, and level 5 to 7 diplomas, up by 734 units or 11 percent.
Younger Māori students (equivalent full-time student units)
From 2008 to 2009, the proportion of Māori under-25-year-olds studying qualifications at level 4 and above, remained stable at 63 percent of total Māori equivalent full-time student units. The comparable figure for all domestic students in 2009 was 83 percent. This gap is, in part, due to lower school achievement by Māori students, on average, which prevents the progression of some under-20-year-olds to bachelors-level study. In recent years, however, the proportion of Māori under-25-year-olds in qualifications at level 4 and above has increased (see Figure 2).
Figure 2: Proportion of under-25-year-olds enrolled in level 4 and higher qualifications (equivalent full-time student units) 2
Since 1999, the amount of study at level 4 and above has risen more strongly for under-25-year-old Māori students than for all under-25-year-old domestic students. In terms of equivalent full-time student units, study at level 4 and above increased for under-25-year-old Māori students by 5.5 percent per year (on average) over the years from 1999 to 2009. This compared to 3.0 percent for all under-25-year-old domestic students. The increase in higher-level study by younger Māori coincides with the articulation of Māori development aspirations in the tertiary education strategies. Another factor, has been the strong rise in the youth unemployment rate in recent years which has encouraged young people to continue at school allowing more to meet the entry requirements for higher-level tertiary study. Nevertheless, the proportion of Māori under-25-year-olds studying at level 4 and above has been some 20 percentage points lower than for all under-25-year-old domestic students for about 10 years.
Participation in non-degree study by Māori under-25-year-olds showed that, enrolments in lower-level certificates peaked in 2002 and, as a proportion of the total amount of study, level 1 to 3 certificates decreased from 46 percent in 2002 to 37 percent in 2009. This reflected the changes in government policy relating to lower-level tertiary qualifications. In contrast, the amount of study of level 4 certificates by Māori under-25-year-olds increased, proportionately, from 3.9 percent in 1999 to 16 percent in 2009.
Enrolments by gender
In 2009, there were more female than male Māori students – 50,600 compared to 33,200. The number of female Māori students increased by 3.5 percent from 2008 to 2009, compared to an increase of 4.2 percent for male students. From 2007 to 2008, enrolments by Māori decreased by 3.4 percent for female students and by 4.2 percent for male students. From 2003 to 2005, enrolments by Māori males had been increasing more strongly than for females. Also, when Māori student numbers decreased in 2006 as a result of changes in government policy relating to lower-level tertiary qualifications, the fall in numbers was greater for women than for men (down 6.7 percent compared to 2.9 percent). A recent paper discusses gender differences in more detail.3
Figure 3: Annual percentage change in the number of Māori enrolments by gender
Māori students and qualification levels
The proportion of Māori students enrolled in bachelors and higher qualifications has increased, from a low point of 19 percent in 2005, to 23 percent in 2009. In 1999, before the large expansion of participation in level 1 to 3 certificates, the proportion of Māori students enrolled in bachelors or higher qualifications was higher at 32 percent. A similar pattern exists for all domestic students although the proportions of domestic students in bachelors and higher qualifications was greater - 48 percent in 1999, 34 percent in 2005 and 41 percent in 2009.
Twenty-six percent of female Māori students were enrolled in bachelors and higher qualifications in 2009 and 20 percent of male Māori students. The comparable figures for all domestic students were 44 percent for women and 36 percent for men. The amount of study in bachelors and higher qualifications, in terms of equivalent full-time student units, was 27 percent for Māori students and 52 percent for all domestic students. This gap between Māori and all domestic students has widened in the last few years as the people born in the 'birth bubble' in the late 1980s and early 1990s have reached tertiary study age. The study load for all domestic students has risen as young non-Māori students have a higher participation rate in longer and higher-level qualifications than young Māori students.
In 2009, 4.0 percent of Māori students were enrolled in postgraduate courses (levels 8 to 10), compared to 3.8 percent a year earlier. Of all domestic students, just over 9.2 percent were enrolled at postgraduate level, compared with 8.4 percent a year earlier. The latest decrease in non-degree certificate study, contributed to the increases in the proportion of students in postgraduate qualifications. However, the weaker employment conditions in 2009 also led to some students continuing their studies at higher qualification levels. In 2009, 4.5 percent of female Māori students were enrolled in postgraduate courses and 3.5 percent of males. The comparable figures for all domestic students were 9.4 percent of women and 8.9 percent of men.
The proportion of Māori and total domestic students enrolled in level 5 to 7 diplomas was similar – 16 percent in 2009 and 15 percent in 2008. In 2009, there were, proportionately, more Māori females (18 percent) than males (13 percent) studying at diploma level. In terms of equivalent full-time student units, the amount of study towards level 5 to 7 diplomas remained stable from 2008 to 2009 for both Māori students, at 15 percent, and all domestic students, at 13 percent.
Twenty-three percent of Māori students were enrolled in level 4 certificates, compared to 16 percent of domestic students. Māori men participated at a slightly higher rate in level 4 certificate study in 2009 than Māori women. Fifty-one percent of Māori students were enrolled in level 1 to 3 certificate study in 2009, compared to 37 percent of all domestic students.
Figure 4: Distribution of study loads (equivalent full-time student units) in 2009 by qualification level and gender
Proportionately, more Māori men than women were enrolled in level 1 to 3 certificates in 2009 (54 percent compared to 48 percent). The proportion of domestic students enrolled in level 1 to 3 certificates was 39 percent of males and 33 percent of females. Figure 4 shows that the amount of level 1 to 3 certificate study in 2009, in terms of equivalent full-time student units, was 41 percent for Māori males and 35 percent for Māori females. The comparable figure for domestic students was 23 percent.
Māori population in 2026
In the 2026 projections of the population (Figure 5) the proportion of Māori under-25-year-olds is expected to be about 50 percent of the total Māori population, while for the total New Zealand population the expected proportion is about 30 percent. As young students tend to study with the aim of getting a qualification, it is expected that more Māori students will gain qualifications.
Figure 5: Projection of the Māori and European populations in 2026
Source: Statistics new Zealand, 2006 Census of Population and Dwellings.
In 2009, however, the Māori student population was older than New Zealand's total domestic student population. Thirty-seven percent of Māori students were aged under 25 years, compared to 43 percent of all domestic students.
Student allowances and loans
In 2009, 12,500 students in receipt of student allowances reported themselves to be in the Māori ethnic group – up 35 percent on the previous year. This compares to an increase of 26 percent in the total number of allowances recipients. The latest increase in the number of Māori students in receipt of student allowances reflects the growing percentage that Māori comprise of all domestic students and the weak employment market in 2009 which led to an increase in the number of domestic students. More Māori took the opportunity to retrain or undertake tertiary study in order to obtain qualifications that could strengthen their position in the labour market.
In 2009, there were 34,300 Māori students who borrowed through the Student Loan Scheme, up 27 percent on 2008. More students have taken up loans in recent years following the introduction of interest-free student loans in 2006. The overall student loan uptake rate – the proportion of students eligible to borrow who actually do so – was 71 percent in 2009. In 2008, the uptake rate was lower at 69 percent.
In 2009, 17 percent of borrowers identified themselves as Māori, 8.2 percent as Pasifika, 16 percent as Asian and 57 percent as European. In comparison, the 2009 ethnic breakdown of all tertiary education students (whether or not they borrowed) comprised: 20 percent Māori, 13 percent Asians, 7.5 percent Pasifika and 65 percent European.
Field of study (based on equivalent full-time student units)
The most common field of study4 for Māori students in 2009 was language and literature studies. This field comprised 12 percent of the total amount of study undertaken by Māori in 2009. The top 10 most common fields of study together accounted for 49 percent of all study.
Studies in human society was the second most common field of study in 2009. Of the total Māori equivalent full-time student unit count, business and management studies, teacher education and office studies comprised between 5 and 6 percent each in 2009.
Figure 6: Common fields of study for Māori in 2009 (as a percentage of total full-time equivalent student units)
Qualification completion rates5
Of the Māori students who started full-time study in 2005, 62 percent of women and 57 percent of men had completed a qualification by 2009. The comparable rates for all domestic students were 76 percent of women and 69 percent of men.
The five-year completion rate of Māori women increased slightly on the previous year, however, the rate has fallen from 66 percent of women who started study in 2003 to 62 percent of women who started study in 2005. Underlying this decrease were lower completion rates for level 1 to 4 certificates and masters degrees. Contributing substantially to the decrease was a drop of 7 percentage points in the completion rate for level 1 to 3 certificates, coupled with a drop in the number of women who started study at this level in 2005. Seventy-one percent of the 2005 starters had completed a level 1 to 3 certificate by 2009, compared to 78 percent of the 2003 starters. It is likely that people studying lower-level certificates between 2005 and 2009 may have been attracted into employment rather than continuing their studies due to the lower unemployment rates from 2005 to 2008.
Comparing Māori women who started study in 2005 with those who started in 2003, showed that the completion rates for level 4 certificates and masters degrees have fallen, while the rate for bachelors degrees remained unchanged. The Māori women who, in 2005, started graduate certificates/diplomas, level 5 to 7 diplomas and honours degrees and postgraduate certificates/diplomas had moderately higher completion rates than the women who started this level of study in 2003.
Figure 7: Five-year qualification completion rates of Māori female students by level
The five-year qualification completion rate of Māori men increased by 3 percentage points on the previous year to 57 percent. However, it is now below the high point of 59 percent achieved by students who started study in 2003. Underlying the decrease from 2003 to 2005 were lower completion rates for level 4 certificates and masters degrees. Contributing substantially to the decrease was a drop in the level 4 certificate completion rate of 11 percentage points, coupled with a drop in the number of Māori men who started study at this level in 2005. Fifty-one percent of the Māori men who started a level 4 certificate in 2005 had completed this by 2009, compared to 62 percent of the 2003 starters. Again, it is likely that the stronger employment market in the years from 2005 to 2008 led to some people taking on employment instead of continuing with their studies.
Comparing Māori men who started study in 2005 with those who started in 2003 showed that the five-year completion rate for masters degrees fell, while the rate for bachelors degrees remained unchanged. The Māori men who, in 2005, started graduate certificates/diplomas, level 5 to 7 diplomas and honours degrees and postgraduate certificates/diplomas had moderately higher completion rates than the men who started this level of study in 2003. Over the same period, the level 1 to 3 certificate completion rate increased by 1 percentage point to 67 percent.
Figure 8: Five-year qualification completion rates of Māori male students by level
Māori students and industry training
Fourteen percent of Māori employees participated in industry training in 2009. Overall, 9.3 percent of employees participated in industry training in 2009.
In 2009, 14 percent of modern apprentices reported themselves as Māori, compared to 15 percent in 2008. As Māori made up 20 percent of the population aged 15 to 24 years in 2009, this group was under-represented in the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme which is aimed a younger people. Seventeen percent of all industry trainees reported being Māori in 2009 and this is closer to the 19 percent that Māori comprise of the population aged 15 to 65 years.
The proportion of Māori industry trainees (including modern apprentices) in level 1 increased from 8.5 percent in 2008 to 11 percent in 2009. Thirty-two percent were in level 2 qualifications in 2009, compared to 33 percent in 2008. The proportion in level 3 was 30 percent in 2009 and 31 percent in 2008. Māori trainees in level 4 and above were under-represented in 2009 when compared with all industry trainees. Māori students in level 4 and higher qualifications accounted for 27 percent of total Māori trainees in 2009, while one-third of all industry trainees were enrolled at this level.
Of all the Māori trainees (excluding modern apprentices) who started industry training in 2005, 26 percent had completed a qualification by 2009. This compared to 23 percent of Māori trainees who started training in 2004, 27 percent for the 2003 Māori starters and 18 percent for the 2002 Māori starters. When a completion rate was calculated eight years after starting study in 2002, 20 percent of Māori trainees had completed a qualification in 2009. Of all industry trainees who started study in 2005, 31 percent had completed a qualification by 2009. The industry in which people train has a larger effect on the rate at which trainees complete their qualification. Māori trainees tend to be clustered in certain industries, including forestry, manufacturing, seafood and the hospitality industries which tend to have lower completions rates due, in part, to higher staff turnover rates.
Continued strong growth in Māori Gateway placements
Gateway is a programme designed to help secondary school students experience tertiary education and gain employment or achieve credits on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.
In 2009, 2,850 Māori learners took part in a Gateway placement, up by 18 percent on the previous year. There were 1,350 Māori learners placed in Gateway five years earlier. In 2009, 1,480 Māori females and 1,370 Māori males participated.
In 2009, 1,720 Māori Gateway learners achieved a positive outcome. Just over 16 percent started full-time employment, 2 percent started part-time employment and 76 percent continued with further education. The remaining 6 percent of Māori Gateway learners had 'other' outcomes, including unemployment.
Figure 9: Māori learners in Gateway
- In 2005, the reviews by government of non-degree qualifications, and the review of the provision at private training establishments, investigated the quality, relevance and value for money of these provisions and this led to the significant decrease in level 1 to 3 certificate enrolments.
- Data in this fact sheet and the statistical tables has been revised for previous years as tertiary education organisations are able to submit updates for previous years as part of the information collections provided to the Ministry of Education.
- A paper discussing gender differences in tertiary education was recently published by the Institute of Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington called A loss of 'white' male privilege? Gender and ethnic dimensions of domestic student participation in bachelor degree studies IPS WP 10/12.
- In 2009, the Ministry of Education introduced new field of study information focused on the courses studied by tertiary education students. This new approach aims to strengthen the links between the demand for skills and knowledge from the labour market and their supply by the education sector. Seventy-one fields of study are now available by ethnic group from the Ministry's Education Counts website.
- This section refers only to students who continously studied full-time for a full-year (or for the length of the qualification if less than a year). Qualification completion rates are not calculated for groups smaller than 30 students.
Downloads / Links
For more information about this publication please email the:
Vist the OECD website: