Māori parent representation on school boards
What We Have Found
Proportional Māori representation on school boards has increased since 2010 but changed little since 2013. Proportional Māori representation was highest in Decile 1 and 7 schools and varies considerably among school type.
Date Updated: May 2021
The percentage of schools with proportional Māori parent representation on school boards as at 1 December.
Why This Is Important
Active participation by Māori parents in planning, development and delivery of education services will help to ensure that those services are appropriate and effective for Māori students. Māori representation on school boards is one key mechanism for participation.
Increasing the representation and collaboration of school boards was a key recommendation of the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce. In 2019, the Government released its response document Supporting all Schools to Succeed: Reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools.
In this response, the Government set out commitments to strengthening schools/kura boards by providing support and encouraging them to be more representative of the communities they serve. The Ministry is now making progress in the area of board capability, including work to make boards more representative of their communities.
School boards of state schools must hold elections for parent representatives every three years. A board may also decide to adopt a mid-term election cycle where half of its parent representatives are elected at a mid-term election (18 months after the triennial election) and the remainder are elected at the triennial election.
Triennial elections have been held every three years since 1998. A by-election can occur at any stage in the election cycle if an elected parent representative leaves the board and creates a vacancy. Although the major changes in board membership occur in triennial election years, there is still some fluctuation in intervening years due to by-elections and mid-term elections.
How We Are Going
In 2020, 99.8% of schools (2,402 schools) had at least one Māori student (Figure 1). Of all the schools with at least one Māori students (2,402 schools), 59% (1,426 schools) had at least one Māori representative on the school board. Schools without Māori students had no Māori representatives on the school board.
Figure 1: In 2020, almost all schools had at least one Māori student, and more than half of the schools with at least one Māori student had at least one Māori representative on the school board.
Representation on a school board is considered to be “proportional” when the proportion of board seats held by Māori parents is at least equivalent to the proportion of Māori students in the school. This is restricted to those schools with enough Māori students to expect at least one Māori parent representative on the board.
The percentage of schools with proportional Māori representation on the school board increased from 37% in 2010 to 40% in 2020; but it has changed little since 2013 (between 40% and 41%). The highest proportion of Māori participation on boards occurred in 2017 (42%). In 2020, proportional Māori participation was 40%, remaining the same to 2019. The number of Māori parent representatives in the remaining schools does not reflect proportional representation of Māori students in these schools.
In 2020 there were 2,043 schools with enough Māori students to expect at least one Māori parent representative on the school board. This expectation is based both on the number of Māori students and the number of positions on the board.
Figure 2: The proportion of schools with proportional Māori representation has changed little since 2013
In 2020, Decile 1 and 7 schools had the highest percentage of schools with proportional Māori representation on the board (47% for both, Figure 3). Decile 4 and 6 schools had the lowest representation (35% and 34% respectively).
Figure 3.Decile 1 and 7 schools had the highest percentage of schools with proportional Māori representation on the school board during 2020
In 2020, composite schools had the highest proportional Māori representation on the board (50%) followed by secondary schools (47%, Figure 4). Representation was lower in primary (37%) and special schools (31%). Proportional Māori representation was higher in single-sex Girls schools (49%), followed by single-sex Boys schools (44%). Proportional Māori representation was 39% in Co-educational schools from a total of 1,959 schools.
Figure 4. Composite and secondary schools had the highest proportion of proportional Māori representation on the school board during 2020.
The Ministry of Education has established an Iterative Best Evidence Synthesis Program to systematically identify, evaluate, analyses, synthesis and make accessible, relevant evidence linked to a range of learner outcomes. Evidence about what works for this indicator can be found in:
- Savant, R. (2010). Analysis of the Board of Trustee Elections: 2010. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Ministry of Education (2010). Effective governance - working in partnership. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Statistics New Zealand. 2018 Census, Population and migration (Age and sex by ethnic group (grouped total responses), for census usually resident population counts, 2006, 2013, and 2018 Censuses (RC, TA, SA2, DHB)).
- Statistic New Zealand (2019) Child poverty statistics: Year ended June 2019.