Māori parent representation on the boards of trustees
What We Have Found
Māori parent representatives on school boards has increased in the last ten years but changed little since 2013. The number of Māori parent representatives was higher in Decile 1 schools and changed considerably among school type.
Date Updated: March 2020
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
The proportion of schools with fair Māori representation changed little between 2013 and 2019 (average representation 40%); however, from 2018 to 2019, fair Māori representation declined by 0.8 percentage points. The number of Māori parent representatives in the remaining schools does not reflect fair representation of Māori students in these schools.
In 2019, there were 2,036 schools with sufficient number of Māori students to expect at least one Māori parent representative on the school board. This expectation is based both on the number of Māori students and the number of positions on the board.
Figure 1. The proportion of schools with fair Māori representation has changed little since 2013.
Demographics such as family size and socio-economic barriers may contribute to the under-representation of Māori parents in the boards. Based on the 2018 Population Census, for every 10 school aged Māori children (5-19 years old) there are 13 Māori adults aged 25 to 49. In comparison there are 20 adults for every 10 children of the total population.
In 2019, around 31% of Māori children lived in low income households with less than 60% median household income before housing costs (Child poverty statistics: Year ended June 2019). In comparison 23% of the total children lived in low income households.
In 2019, Decile 1 schools has the highest proportion of schools with fair Māori representation on the board (48%). Decile 8 and 7 schools have the second-highest Māori representation with 41%; while the national average was 40%. Decile 4 and 6 schools had the lowest representation (35%).
Figure 2. Decile 1 schools has the highest proportion of schools with fair Māori representation on the school board during 2019.
In 2019, composite schools had the highest fair Māori representation on the board (54%) followed by secondary schools (46%). Representation was lower in primary (38%) and special schools (28%). Fair Māori representation was higher in single sex schools with an average of 45% from 86 schools, while in co-education was 40% from 1,950 schools.
Figure 3. Composite and secondary schools had the highest proportion of fair Māori representation on the school board during 2019.
- Savant, R. (2010). Analysis of the Board of Trustee Elections: 2010. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Ministry of Education (2010). Effective governance - working in partnership. Wellington: Ministry of Education.
- Statistics New Zealand. 2018 Census, Population and migration (Age and sex by ethnic group (grouped total responses), for census usually resident population counts, 2006, 2013, and 2018 Censuses (RC, TA, SA2, DHB)).
- Statistic New Zealand (2019) Child poverty statistics: Year ended June 2019.
Where To Find Out More
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