Māori Tertiary Education Students in 2014

Publication Details

This fact sheet describes selected characteristics of Māori tertiary education students. It includes:

  • Māori student participation in tertiary education
  • enrolment trends by gender and study loads
  • employment outcomes of young Māori graduates
  • student allowances recipients and loan borrowers, fields of study, qualification completions, and Māori language courses.

Author(s): Mieke Wensvoort, Ministry of Education.

Date Published: September 2015

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Māori continue to participate in formal tertiary education at higher rates than other ethnic groups. The age-adjusted participation rate of Māori was 15 percent in 2014. This compared to 8.2 percent for the Asian ethnic group, 9.9 percent for Europeans and 11 percent for the Pasifika ethnic group.

In 2009 and 2010, enrolments by Māori students increased to around 84,000, reflecting a bulge in the population of young people moving from school to tertiary education (Figure 1). Enrolments by Māori fell in 2011 and 2012 and then increased again in 2013 and 2014. The latest increase in the number of students was mainly for level 1 and level 3 certificates, with a small increase in the number of students studying bachelors degrees.

From 2013 to 2014, the number of Māori students enrolled in Youth Guarantee increased by 1,490 from 2013 to 2014. In 2014, there were 6,080 Māori students involved in Youth Guarantee – a programme providing fees-free level 1 to 3 qualifications for 16 to 19 year-olds.

Figure 1: Māori students and total domestic students in provider-based formal tertiary education

Partially offsetting the increase in student numbers at level 1 and level 3 were decreases in the number of students enrolled in level 2 certificates, level 4 certificates and level 5 to 7 diplomas/ certificates. Enrolments by Māori students in bachelors or higher qualifications increased by 519 from 2013 to 2014 and this was mainly due to an increase in students undertaking bachelors degrees.

Figure 2: Enrolments by Māori students by qualification level

Note: 'Bachelors' includes graduate certificates/diplomas and 'honours' includes bachelors with honours degrees and postgraduate certificates/diplomas.

The number of students in level 1 to 3 captured in the Ministry's enrolments collection also increased substantially from 2012 to 2013, due to private training establishments switching from delivering Youth Training to delivering Youth Guarantee places. Without this switch, the number of Māori students would have remained stable from 2012 to 2013.


  1. Formal tertiary education is the study of qualification on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework.
  2. To allow comparisons to be made with other ethnic groups, the tertiary education participation rates can be age-adjusted to eliminate the effect of the different age distributions of the ethnic groups. In 2014, the unadjusted tertiary education participation rate for Māori was 18 percent. This compared to 9.1 percent for Europeans, 10 percent for the Asian ethnic group and 15 percent for the Pasifika ethnic group.
  3. Youth Training was discontinued in 2013.

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