Pacific parent representation on the boards of trustees

What We Have Found

The number of Pacific parent representatives on the board fairly reflected the Pacific student numbers in four out of every ten schools.

Date Updated: January 2019

Indicator Description

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

Why This Is Important

Active participation by Pacific parents 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 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 a 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 524 schools with sufficient numbers of Pacific students that, for the students to be fairly represented, we would expect to have at least one Pacific parent on the school board of trustees.  This expectation is based both on the number of Pacific students and the number of positions on the board.

Figure 1: Proportion of schools with fair Pasific representation (1998-2019)


The proportion of schools with fair Pacific representation increased from 26.2% in 1998 to 42.7% (224 schools) in 2018.  The number of Pacific parent representatives in the remaining schools does not reflect the number of Pacific students in these schools.

Demographics, such as family size, may contribute to this under-representation.  Based on the Population Census 2013, for every 10 school aged Pacific children (5-19 years old) there are 9 Pacific adults aged 25 to 49. In comparison there are 17 non-Pacific adults for every 10 non-Pacific children.

While the majority of schools are co-educational, the proportion of schools with fair representation in the 32 single sex schools (53.1%) was higher than among co-educational schools (42.1%).

Fair Pacific representation on the board was more common in secondary schools (52.3%) than in primary schools (41.0%).


The majority of schools (58.0%) considered in this indicator are decile 1 to 3 schools. There were, however, schools that we could expect to have Pacific representation in every decile.

For those schools where Pacific representation was expected, decile 8 schools were the most likely to have fair representation (57.1%) followed by decile 1 schools (48.8%).

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



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