Pacific parent representation on the boards of trustees

Why This Is Important

Active participation by Pacific in planning, development and delivery of education services will help to ensure that those services are appropriate and effective for Pacific students. Pacific representation on boards of trustees is one key mechanism for participation.

Boards of trustees 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 the number 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 were held every three years from 1998. A by-election can occur at any stage in the election cycle if an elected parent representative leaves the board and thereby creates a casual 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.

This indicator is a snapshot of the composition of boards of trustees as at 1 December of each year.


This indicator is restricted to those schools with sufficient numbers of Pacific students to expect at least one Pacific parent representative on the board. This expectation is based both on the number of students and the number of positions on the board.  The proportion of Board seats held by Pacific parents should be at least the same as the proportion of Pacific students in the school. In the indicator, if a school meets the expectation, this is considerate proportional representation.

School Trustees who are Pacific


Numerator: (Data Source: Ministry of Education: Board of Trustees Table, EDINFO Database)


The number of schools with expected Pacific representation on the board of trustees.

Denominator: (Data Source: Ministry of Education: Board of Trustees Table, EDINFO Database)


The total number of schools with sufficient number of Pacific students to expect at least one Pacific parent representative on the board in the school.


Interpretation Issues

This indicator is restricted to parent representatives. As a parent representative - in this indicator - we consider any elected or co-opted member. All other members were excluded, i.e.:

  • Principal
  • Ministerial appointed member
  • Proprietor's representative
  • Staff representative
  • Student representative

This indicator is restricted to state schools, i.e. state and state-integrated schools.  Schools that were excluded from the analysis:

  • Schools with insufficient Pacific student numbers
  • Correspondence school (as their board is appointed by the Minister)
  • Closed schools (closed before December the 1st of the particular year)
  • Schools that have a merged board of trustees (i.e. multiple schools have the same board) other than the lead school were excluded to prevent double counting of trustees.

In a case where two or more schools share a combined board only the 'lead' school provides us with its board members. In that instance students from all these schools are considered to determine the proportion of Pacific parent representatives we would expect on the board. Schools with satellite units such as teen parent units are treated the same way.

Trustee members are able to nominate up to two ethnicities.  For analytical purposes, ethnicity is determined hierarchically assigning ethnicity in the order: Māori, Pacific, Asian, European/Pākehā, and Other/Not Stated. That is, if a trustee member states themselves to be Pacific in either of the first two options then they are assigned a Pacific ethnicity.

For this indicator European/Pākehā refers to people who affiliate as New Zealand European, Other European or European (not further defined). For example, this includes and is not limited to people who consider themselves as Australian (excluding Australian Aborigines), British and Irish, American, Spanish, and Ukrainian.

For a small number of schools, it is apparent that some trustees have been recorded as either belonging to 'Other' ethnic groups, or the ethnicity code had not been recorded, whereas in previous years the same trustees specified their ethnic group. To correct for this anomaly, the first ethnic group recorded for each of these trustees has been assigned. For example, if a trustee was appointed to a board for the first time in 2006, and was recorded as Pacific, then no ethnic group was recorded for them in 2007, the ethnic group for this member in 2007 will be reassigned as Pacific.

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