Children’s experience highlights education issues for Māori

  • Hon Kelvin Davis

The negative experience of tamariki and rangatahi highlighted in a new report has to change if we are to lift Māori achievement at school, Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says.

The Children’s Commissioner and New Zealand School Trustees Association have today released a series of reports giving voice to students’ experience of school, including one on the experience of Māori students.

“It’s heart breaking to see some of the comments from tamariki and rangatahi around the attitudes and sense of isolation they can face. For example, the whakamā that stops hungry students asking for kai at school is something that could be dealt with more sensitively. It’s about understanding where kids come from.

“All children have the right to an education where they are not subjected to bias, low expectations and racism or other discrimination because of their culture, ethnicity or identity.

“I know many of our schools are working hard to ensure that te reo Māori me ōna tikanga is valued and used meaningfully. We have come a long way but we need to go further in our education system, and work collectively to create a culturally-safe place that will make Māori students more comfortable, confident and successful in education.

“This report illustrates the importance of putting students’ experience at the centre of education. The Government’s upcoming education summits are a real opportunity for Maori – tamariki, rangatahi, whānau and educators - to get involved in the discussion about reforming our education system. Māori need to be a strong voice.” 

Work being undertaken by the Government to lift Māori achievement includes a refresh of Ka Hikitia (Māori Education Strategy); strengthening the Māori-medium education pathway; providing long term solutions for the supply of te reo teachers; and improving the transition of students from school to further education and training or work.

The reports are available at: