Māori parent representation on the boards of trustees

What We Have Found

The number of Māori parent representatives on the board fairly reflected the Māori student numbers in 4 out of every 10 schools.

Date Updated: January 2019

Indicator Description

The proportion of schools with fair Māori parent representation on the board of trustees as at 1 December.

Why This Is Important

Active participation by Māori parents in planning, development and delivery of education services will help to ensure that those services are appropriate and effective for Māori students. Māori 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 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 have been 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 creates 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.

How We Are Going

In 2018, there were 2032 schools with sufficient numbers of Māori students that, for the students to be fairly represented, we would expect to have at least one Māori parent on the school board of trustees.  This expectation is based both on the number of Māori students and the number of positions on the board.

Figure 1: Proportion of schools with fair Māori representation (1997-2018)

The proportion of schools with fair Māori representation increased from 33.5% in 1997 to 41.5% in 2018. The number of Māori parent representatives in the remaining schools does not reflect the number of Māori students in these schools.

Demographics such as family size may contribute to this under-representation.  Based on the 2013 Population Census, for every 10 school aged Māori children (5-19 years old) there are 12 Māori adults aged 25 to 49. In comparison there are 16 non-Māori adults for every 10 non-Māori children.

Fair Māori representation on the board was more common in composite schools (51.7%) and secondary schools (51.6%) than primary schools (37.8%). While the majority of schools are co-educational, the proportion of schools with fair representation in the 82 single sex schools (51.2%) was higher than among co-educational schools (40.1%).


For those schools where Māori representation was expected, Decile 1 schools were the most likely to have fair representation (50.8%) compared to the national average of 40.5%.

Figure 2: Proportion of schools with fair Māori representation on the board, by decile (2018)



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