Whānau Advisory Group Research Project

Publication Details

The Whānau Advisory Group (WAG) initiative aspires to foster quality engagement between schools and their Māori communities in order to improve Māori student achievement.

This report examines the impact of the Whānau Advisory Group initiative in fostering quality engagement between schools and the Māori parents of these schools' respective Whānau Advisory Groups in order to raise Māori learner achievement.

Author(s): Ngati Kahungunu Iwi Incorporated.

Date Published: April 2014

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This report is available as a download (please refer to the 'Downloads' inset box).  For links to related publications/ information that may be of interest please refer to the 'Where to Find Out More' inset box.

Executive Summary

The success of the Whānau Advisory group initiative across diverse communities and contexts is determined by a set of key components including a core group of committed whānau with diverse skills and experiences and, the total support of the school’s principal. These components, in particular, provide the necessary platform for the ‘Whānau Advisory Group’ to progress, guided by realistic aims and objectives thereby providing a strong basis for recruiting and encouraging other whānau and community members to participate.

While whānau members of the Whānau Advisory Group are both directly and indirectly involved in strategic decision-making as whānau or through positions of governance on boards of trustees, there is little evidence of a correlation between the Whānau Advisory Group and Māori educational achievement. However, schools claim a positive connection between Whānau Advisory Group and Māori achievement but based on anecdotal evidence. Nonetheless, an improvement in Māori student educational achievement was definitely seen to be influenced by the Whānau Advisory Group.

The report emphasises the positive contribution of key whānau with skills and experiences to attract other whānau to the initiative, based on their standing and mana within a school’s community. Without these core members the Whānau Advisory Group would not succeed according to the initiative’s wider aims. Consequently, Whānau Advisory Group success factors, engagement strategies and narrative evidence of Māori student achievement in addition to the support of the Ministry of Education and local Iwi rūnanga are recognised as effective pathways for establishing and sustaining the Whānau Advisory Group initiative.

Finally, while the report also documents areas of limitations and the various contexts in which the seven Case Study schools are located, the overall findings support the Whānau Advisory Group initiative as a worthwhile intervention to address the goals of Ka Hikitia - Accelerating Success 2013–2017 and Māori educational achievement.

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