Increased numbers in Māori-medium achieving NCEA level 2 and beyond to be celebrated

The Education Review Office endorses today’s news that Māori-medium schools are bucking the trend of lower NCEA attainment rates with more of their Māori school leavers attaining qualifications than in past years.

While the overall results are worrying for English-medium schools figures released by the Ministry of Education today show attainment for Māori ākonga/learners in Māori-medium education increased in 2018 by 3.2 percentage points at Level 2. NCEA Level 2 attainment of Māori students in Māori-medium schooling is now higher than the Level 2 attainment for all school leavers combined.

“The increased numbers in Māori-medium achieving NCEA level 2 and beyond should be celebrated and accords with what we have been seeing in our evaluations in Māori-medium settings,” says Deputy Chief Executive Evaluation and Review Māori, Lynda Pura-Watson.

“For over 20 years ERO has been evaluating and reporting on Maori medium education and through working with our partners in the sector we have developed a rich understanding of the conditions that lead to greater success for students. These settings epitomise whanau, hapu and iwi working and learning together to ensure the physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual wellbeing of all. The whole community influence and contribute to Maori success as Maori.

“As ongoing work with our partners ERO is currently undertaking in depth evaluations:Whaiangā ara painga kia angitu ai: Pursuing successful pathways, and Poutiria Te Reo Mauriora; Te Aka O Te Aho Matua (Cradle To the Grave) that aim to showcase success within Māori medium education to local, national and international audiences. This work documents and exemplifies effective practice in Māori medium education from kohanga and puna reo settings through to whare wananga, and portray the participation of parents, whānau, hapū, iwi and community.

“We will be focusing on parts of the system that perform well for Māori including the conditions, characteristics and practices that influence quality outcomes for all.  We want to promote Māori learners’ success as Māori in Māori medium education, contribute to the evidence base about what works well and promote better educational practice in these settings. We will also capture stories from graduates of Māori medium education and the influence their educational pathways have had on their career and life choices. 

“In English medium education, Māori children and young people often have poorer educational outcomes than their peers. Research confirms that teacher unconscious bias and low expectations are significant issues that have an ongoing negative impact on Māori children and young people.  In Māori medium education, children and young people enjoy educational success as Māori.

“Metge (1984) eloquently stated “We can respond to these problems by insisting that Māori make all the accommodations, or we can change the dominant system to accommodate and hopefully learn from the Maori way”  We hope these projects will contribute to wider understanding how successes for Māori in Māori medium education are achieved, what this looks like and what is needed to change our system to ensure success for all Māori children and young people,” says Lynda Pura-Watson.


Work on Whaia ngā ara painga kia angitu ai: Pursuing successful pathways and Poutiria Te Reo Mauriora; Te Aka O Te Aho Matua (Cradle To the Grave) is expected to be completed in 2020