Ngā Tamariki o Te Kupenga

Publication Details

This research examines the interrelationship between whānau characteristics (such as knowledge of tikanga, use of te reo Māori, and engagement with Māori culture), student characteristics, and school characteristics.

For a shorter summary of the main findings of this research, see this He Whakaaro report: The importance of identity, language and culture for ākonga Māori.

Author(s): Conal Smith, Luisa Beltran-Castillon and Atawhai Tibble from Kōtātā Insight Behvioural Economic and Social Analysis.

Date Published: March 2020

Executive Summary

The starting point

Understanding the diversity of the Māori population of Aotearoa New Zealand is vital for meaningful engagement with Māori.

The Māori population of Aotearoa New Zealand is large, and it encompasses a diverse range of different social and cultural features. There is no single way of living as or being Māori. Despite this, the consideration of Māori needs and experiences in public policy is often viewed through the lens of Māori ethnicity, where all who identify as Māori are grouped as one for reporting and policy planning.

Addressing poor outcomes for Māori in the educational system is a priority for the Ministry of Education, as reflected in Ka Hikitia, the Ministry’s strategy for accelerating the success of Māori students. However, the challenge is significant. In particular, the diversity of the Māori population mean that what works in one context may not work in another. Understanding, measuring and quantifying the cultural diversity within the Māori population is a step towards more meaningful engagement. It provides a tool to understand in more detail how well the education system is performing for Māori learners, ultimately supporting better outcomes.

Comprehensive information on individual’s connection to te ao Māori is now available within the Integrated Data Infrastructure opening the door to analysis that links the cultural diversity of New Zealand Māori students and educational outcomes

The opportunity

In 2013 Stats NZ undertook Te Kupenga - the Māori Social Survey - the most comprehensive study of the social and cultural outcomes of Māori ever undertaken in Aotearoa New Zealand. More than 5,000 Māori adults gave an hour of their time to provide information that would help Māori and support better engagement with Māori on the part of government.

With the inclusion of this dataset within Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) - a large research database that holds anonymised data about people and households from many different sources - it is possible to connect information from Te Kupenga on how adults connect to te ao Māori to information on students living in the household and their engagement with the education system. This research examines the interrelationship between whānau characteristics (such as knowledge of tikanga, use of te reo Māori, and engagement with Māori culture), student characteristics, and school characteristics. In particular, it addresses the following core research questions:

  • What are the characteristics of the whānau of Māori students in terms of cultural identity, wellbeing, and socio-economic outcomes?
  • What are the school characteristics of Māori students?
  • How do whānau and school characteristics correlate with educational outcomes for Māori students?
  • Do different school characteristics affect Māori children with different types of cultural identity in different ways?

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