Teu Le Va: Relationships across research and policy in Pasifika education

Publication Details

Teu le va is a tool primarily for educational researchers, to help them plan and implement research that contributes to the development of effective policy and practice in respect of Pasifika students in our schools.

Teu le va emphasises a number of principles or practices, including the need for: researchers to directly involve Pasifika learners, their families, and communities, and teachers as practitioners, in the development of research proposals or plans; ongoing collaboration between researchers and policy-makers; collaboration among researchers from different organisations and groups in order to build a sound knowledge base; ensuring that any research undertaken is relevant for a range of audiences (eg, parents, communities, teachers, policy-makers); all research, development and policy-making in Pasifika education to have a firm focus on student success: realising potential and identifying opportunities.

Author(s): Airini, Melani Anae and Karlo Mila-Schaaf with Eve Coxon, Diane Mara & Kabini Sanga

Date Published: July 2010


Teu le va - Relationships informing research and policy in Pasifika education: A collective approach to knowledge generation and policy development for action towards Pasifika education success

"If there is any shared vision amongst those working in Pasifika education research, it is that of a sound, comprehensive research base that ensures New Zealand's education policies and practices can support Pasifika student success like never before."
Diane Mara, 2008

Every Pasifika student deserves to succeed in education.Teu le vasets out guidelines for researchers and policy-makers working together to transform the New Zealand education system to achieve unprecedented levels of Pasifika success.

The strategic intent of the Teu le va approach is Pasifika success in New Zealand's education system. Teu le va recognises the critical role of research-informed policy that comes from a sound, comprehensive, relevant, and developing Pasifika education research base.

Teu le va is primarily focused on the efforts of the Ministry and researchers. It prioritises the achievement of the goals and targets of The Pasifika Education Plan 2009-2012 which focuses on raising Pasifika peoples' success from early childhood education to tertiary education.

Teu le va emphasises working together and sharing power. It affirms the importance of relationships and creates a new va'a for researchers and policy-makers to work together. It supports Pasifika-led knowledge creation and the importance of Pasifika leadership in research and policy. It signals a move away from a focus on failure, 'the tail' of underachievement, and deficit, to a focus on potential and on everyone in the education system taking responsibility for optimising education outcomes for and with Pasifika learners.

Teu le va recognises successful past and present work in education research and policy and draws on many perspectives, including those from the diverse Pacific nations communities within New Zealand, researchers, academics, policy-makers, and wider government officials and leaders. It takes a broad view of Pasifika education research and policy, recognising the importance of drawing upon the expertise of all those able to contribute high quality work that will add to Pasifika educational success.

At its core, Teu le va is about having a high quality education system that is equitable, responsive and empowering to all. It acknowledges the tangata whenua status of Māori and the protection of Māori learners' rights through the Treaty of Waitangi. It also affirms the teina-tuakana relationship of Pacific nations peoples and Māori within Aotearoa-New Zealand and the tuakana-teina (Pasifika/Māori) relationship within the ancient histories of te Moana nui a Kiwa. Teu le va is a collective call to action for all to take responsibility for the success of all. Pasifika students' educational success is vital to Aotearoa-New Zealand's success in developing a strong economy and healthy society.

The Pasifika Education Plan is an ongoing feature of New Zealand education strategy and planning. This year, and every other year, matters for realising the potential of that plan, with researchers and policy-makers working together in new ways that make a real difference for New Zealand, that make sense to Pasifika peoples and all New Zealanders, and that ultimately fulfil our calling to greatly improve education outcomes for and with Pasifika learners.


  1. See Appendix two for a working definition of Pasifika peoples and the implications for Pasifika education research.
  2. Ministry of Education. (2009). The Pasifika Education Plan 2009-2012. The Plan provides the Ministry of Education with strategic direction for improving education outcomes for Pasifika peoples in Aotearoa-New Zealand. The goals for The Pasifika Education Plan 2009-2012 are organised into four areas: early childhood education, compulsory education, tertiary education and sector wide. The Plan ensures that evidence is used to focus resources on shaping a successful education system to increase achievement for Pasifika students.

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