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A Pasifika teacher outlines the process of how he uses the cultural identifiers for giftedness and applies these identifiers to students that he teaches. The Pasifika teacher also shared his presentation of the process and an explanation of gifted and talented Pasifika students.
Duration: 03:40
A Pasifika student who is able to articulate how his cultural identifiers for giftedness contribute to his world as a learner and how his gifts can be used to help others who rely on him as a role model.
Duration: 02:56
The Gifted and Talented Coordinator shares her story about how her involvement with the Pasifika Achievement Coordinator in the Digi Advisor project. The Digi Advisor project helped affirm what Pasifika initiatives the school already had in place to support their Pasifika learners.
Duration: 02:18
An Auckland Girls Grammar School Samoan language teacher and a non-Pasifika music teacher collaborated on a consensus approach to see which cultural identifiers applied to Pasifika students they taught mutually. The Samoan language teacher acknowledges the value of having a process to identify gifted and talented Pasifika students, providing another avenue or lens to view how Pasifika learners can translate their particular strengths into classroom learning and achievement.
Duration: 02:33
An Epsom Girls Grammar School student discusses two specific cultural identifiers: lineage and birthright that pertain to her upbringing from her family. Notions of cultural identifiers for giftedness are found in the home, and this Tongan student articulates how family and cultural values are used as a foundation to accelerate her learning and achievement at school.
Duration: 03:29
An Auckland Girls Grammar School Samoan language teacher explains how she combines e-Learning tools in her assessments to allow her students to achieve to their potential through the use of YouTube channels to film oral language assessments. This means that students are able to film their assessments without the time pressure or time constraints of timetabled classes as an example of ubiquitous learning.
Duration: 04:22
A Pasifika teacher shares his story about the benefits of being involved in the Digi Advisor project and being involved in online communities of practice on the Virtual Learning Network.
Duration: 03:03
A Pasifika teacher shares his opinion and interpretation of the PEP, how teachers can use the policy document as a way to provide a strategic focus on Pasifika learners, parents, families and communities.
Duration: 01:30
Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Pasifika) Victoria University, discusses why it is important to New Zealand as a nation that Pasifika students are successful in education.
Duration: 03:27
Research shows that the teacher's interest, respect and care for the student is an important factor in student achievement in school.
Duration: 01:44
Bilingual people are able to use their different languages in different places, with different people and for different purposes.
Duration: 01:34
Parents are pleased with new approaches to bilingual learning. They see the advantages that children get from using both their languages.
Duration: 02:43
Academic language, and particularly academic vocabulary, is a high priority for bilingual students, across all curriculum areas.
Duration: 04:03
Research shows that there are clear educational advantages in bilingual learning, but using a Pasifika language has sometimes been considered a liability.
Duration: 01:27
By integrating culture, caring, challenge and support into their pedagogies, teachers strengthen relationships and build communities of learners who succeed socially and academically.
Duration: 6:21
School leaders have a role in establishing practices that support the continuity of their Pasifika students’ learning as they move from and into different learning environments.
Duration: 2:48
Inclusive pedagogies, where teachers deliberately and positively draw on their Pasifika students’ resources, value the diversity of student experience and help to lift Pasifika student achievement.
Duration: 2:06
High expectations, together with the vision of Pasifika students as successful learners, improve relationships, pedagogy and academic outcomes.
Duration: 6:17
Safe and supportive environments, with coherent, clear and consistently enforced codes of behaviour and restorative discipline practices, contribute to learning gains for Pasifika students.
Duration: 4:30
Collecting relevant and sufficient data on Pasifika students’ achievement helps schools to track the progress of their Pasifika learners, make informed changes to their pedagogy, programmes and practices and be affirmed when their data reveals learning gains.
Duration: 05:50
Pasifika students find it motivating when teachers keep them informed about their levels of achievement, share the learning intentions with them and adjust their teaching to scaffold their learning pathways so that they know exactly what to do next.
Duration: 04:38
Teachers use many different strategies to engage their Pasifika learners and help them to achieve. Their strategies work best when they are grounded in responsive and caring relationships with their Pasifika students and the focus on their learning is clear.
Duration: 05:03
When teachers and Pasifika students negotiate the learning intentions, and share clear expectations and knowledge of the outcomes to be achieved, Pasifika students engage more confidently and more purposefully in their learning.
Duration: 04:16
Pasifika students benefit from working in collaborative ways with their peers in the classroom.
Duration: 02:31
Knowing a Pasifika language is not a barrier to being successful in English-medium schooling. Teachers who value and share the languages that Pasifika students bring with them into the classroom and deliberately build their English language skills help their Pasifika students to succeed.
Duration: 02:43
Collaboration, inquiry learning and knowledge-sharing underpin the professional development and learning focus of the teachers at Māngere Bridge school. The learning and actions that result impact positively on their Pasifika students’ achievement and well-being.
Duration: 04:14
McAuley High School has an unrelenting focus on raising the achievement of their Pasifika students. School-based teacher professional learning and development enables teachers to collectively inquire into and identify what works well for their Pasifika students.
Duration: 03:39
School leaders who initiate and sustain an intensive focus on the teaching-learning relationship and promote collective responsibility and accountability for Pasifika students’ achievement and well-being can make a difference to the outcomes their Pasifika students achieve.
Duration: 01:01
Negative stereotyping and a culture of mocking can be positively transformed by providing opportunities for Pasifika students to learn and grow their leadership potential, take ownership of their own development and be celebrated as achievers.
Duration: 03:02
Pasifika students discuss the importance and relevance that the ASB Polyfest has played in their classroom learning, which in effect improved their academic achievement. Key points in this story also include the senior students mentoring younger students - tuakana/teina model, the opportunity to celebrate their culture by engaging with their traditional performing arts and being able to connect their cultural identifiers to Pasifika giftedness.
Duration: 05:33
Senior Pasifika students provide advice for teachers of Pasifika students, highlighting the need for teachers to focus on the level of language that they use in classrooms to communicate with Pasifika learners.
Duration: 02:24
Glen Tuala - Pasifika Advisory Officer, Correspondence School. explains the flexibility that the Correspondence School can offer in developing a more personalised learning programme for Pasifika students.
Duration: 05:17
Jim Halafihi, ICT teacher Papatoetoe High School, explains how establishing a positive rapport with your Pasifika students can provide a good starting point to knowing your students. When a teacher knows their students they are in a better position to respond more appropriately to their needs.
Duration: 06:01
Maggie Flavell, explains the the perspective of a non Pasifika person working with Pasifika students. She talks about the importance of learning about the Pasifika culture to enable her to better engage with Pasifika students and their families. She also talks about the value of having a good support network to support her own professional development.
Duration: 06:31
Imeleta Faumuina, HoD English Tangaroa College, discusses the importance of providing authentic learning contexts to support meaningful student engagement.
Duration: 10:27
Melaine Sagala - TIC Samoan Language, Avondale College, discusses the benefits of strong student connections for their learning. She also discusses a model for connection that has worked for her in the past.
Duration: 06:39
David Faavae explains that with in the changing Tongan culture that Tongan boys can be very different, each requiring a different approach when working with them as teachers.
Duration: 04:05
Pennie Otto, Lecturer at MIT Tertiary Secondary School, discusses how she has developed a programme based on the Niue language and culture that has lifted Pasifika student achievement at her school.
Duration: 04:23
Teokotai Tarai, HOD Languages, Teacher of Cook Island Maori Language, explains how Pasifika students come to the classroom with a wealth of knowledge and experiences. This can provide a platform for better student engagement and success.
Duration: 06:14
It’s about creating environments with students at the centre, where Pasifika students have the focus and learning support they need to lift their academic achievement patterns.
Duration: 4:21
Mutually respectful, caring and open relationships, which motivate and engage Pasifika students, form the heart of effective teaching.
Duration: 5:11
This clip, from the Connections and Conversations DVD, considers the diversity within our groups of Pasifika students and their communities in terms of their identities, languages, experiences, and aspirations.
The DVD and accompanying booklet can be ordered via email from orders@thechair.minedu.govt.nz or phone 0800 226 440. Quote Item number 11061.

Duration: 9:44
This clip, from the Connections and Conversations DVD, highlights a variety of viewpoints on the range of different contexts and worlds that Pasifika students inhabit.These different contexts can provide challenges for some students. At the same time, they also can provide a basis for learning.
The DVD and accompanying booklet can be ordered via email from orders@thechair.minedu.govt.nz or phone 0800 226 440. Quote Item number 11061.
Duration: 5:43
This clip, from the Connections and Conversations DVD, considers the potentially differing expectations of teachers and parents towards Pasifika students and their learning. The DVD and accompanying booklet can be ordered via email from orders@thechair.minedu.govt.nz or phone 0800 226 440. Quote Item number 11061.

Duration: 4:14
This clip, from the Connections and Conversations DVD, explores a variety of viewpoints from students, teachers and parents on the involvement and engagement of Pasifika parents and communities in the processes of schooling.
The DVD and accompanying booklet can be ordered via email from orders@thechair.minedu.govt.nz or phone 0800 226 440. Quote Item number 11061.
Duration: 11:26
Many schools already involve Pasifika parents in supporting cultural events and activities. However, it should not stop there. Home-school partnerships that have a clear focus on Pasifika students’ learning with everyone able to make a positive and active contribution directly benefit Pasifika learners.
Duration: 04:16
Partnerships that share and align school and home practices and enable parents to actively support their children's in-school learning have shown some of the strongest impacts on student outcomes.
Duration: 03:29
Coming to school for special events is rewarding for Pasifika parents if the school makes them feel welcome and the focus is on their children’s achievement and strategies to extend their learning.
Duration: 01:46
Sustained higher achievement is possible when teachers use pedagogical approaches and share strategies that enable Pasifika students to take charge of their own learning.
Duration: 05:56
Sylvia Park school has set up a centre to be ‘the parents’ place’ within the school. The centre’s leader has a proactive focus on involving Pasifika parents through mutual learning conversations based on their child’s assessment data and their next-steps learning needs.
Duration: 03:56
Professor Emeritus Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop comments on the current state of education. She shares her thoughts about reducing and bridging the gap, understanding and engaging in systems, negotiating time, and the benefits of learning the basics.
Duration: 13:18
Reverend Tevita Finau calls for an education system that recognises a range of student gifts and provides opportunities for learners to discover, explore, and build off their strengths. He touches on the importance of family, identity, culture, and keeping the language alive.
Duration: 11:00
Rachel Karalus has a number of concerns for Pacific learners, including racism within the education system, the system's lack of cultural responsiveness, and the need to focus on enabling Pacific parents' engagement. She sees success as Pacific learners as "being who they are 100% of the time" and calls for Pacific learners to have the same educational opportunities as those with "sounder financial backgrounds".
Duration: 9:38
Reverend Professor Dr Uili Fele Nokise explores spirituality – a value that binds together all other values – and its significance to Samoans. He explains the importance of relationships, with both people and the environment. He calls for efforts to bring a common understanding of things, such as how the home and school environments can complement each other and how we express care for each other.
Duration: 10:25
Way before the creation of an electric drill, Tokelauans invented the vilivili – a hand-operated pump drilling device. Pacific ancestors have always been construction innovators.
Duration: 00:46
Pacific ancestors who were scientific innovators knew about the benefits of coconut oil long before it was trendy and profitable.
Duration: 00:55
Pacific ancestors have been navigational innovators since long ago. They created, studied, and memorised navigation charts made of sticks.
Duration: 00:47
Traditional tatau (tattooing) has been handed down from generation to generation. Pacific ancestors have been cultural artistic innovators from way back.
Duration: 00:59
Pacific ancestors have long been financial innovators. They used tafuliae, shell money made up of different coloured shells that represented different monetary worth.
Duration: 00:50

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High expectations, together with the vision of Pasifika students as successful learners, improve relationships, pedagogy and academic outcomes.

Key content


Key content

"Inappropriate teacher expectations can undermine students, or constitute a barrier to effective practice. Teacher expectations have been found to vary by student ethnicity, dis/ability, gender and other student characteristics unrelated to a student's actual capability."
Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: Best Evidence Synthesis, page 16.


Thanks to the principals, staff and students of Aorere College, McAuley High School, Mangere Bridge School, Sylvia Park School, Mary MacKillop School and Wymondley Road Primary School for their contribution.

Things to think about


Things to think about

  • What’s your personal vision for Pasifika students in your school? Do others in your school share your vision? Why? Why not?
  • “They push you to strive to your best abilities...like they never give up on you.” [Year 12 female student, Aorere College, Auckland]. Would your students say this about you, and other teachers in your school? How would you know?
  • What academic areas are particularly challenging for your Pasifika students? Why? How do you address this?
  • “Our students now find it easier to be proud of their academic achievements as well as their sporting achievements”. [Anne Miles, Principal, McAuley High School, Auckland]. Would this be true for the Pasifika students in your school?
  • What kinds of support do your Pasifka students have to help them to achieve academically and socially? What more might be needed?




Jordan – student
I want to be a computer engineer.

Victoria – student
When I finish all my schooling then I want to go to university and get a degree of being a chef.

Celeste – student
I want to go to university and be a teacher.

Filitino – student
I want to be an inventor, a scientist, and a biologist.

Jaqueline Yates
In this school and I think this is probably one of the keys to our success, is we have very high expectations for them. We expect them to meet the national standards. We don’t expect them to fail. And because of that, they reach for that. And because we’re saying to them, "We know you can do this, we know you can. OK, you’ve got a little bit more work to do than maybe some other people, but we know you can do it". And provide them the right tools and they achieve it.

Joseph – student
I like my teacher because she gives me hard mathematic works, and hard reading books for us to take home for our reading logs.

Judy Hanna
We've always had high expectations at this school, and what it means is that every child needs to reach their full potential. So we have teachers who go outside their comfort zone, and outside the square, to make sure that the children have the very best opportunity to reach their full potential in terms of literacy and numeracy, in terms of their artistic talent, in terms of their leadership. We're turning out children who are excited about their learning and who are confident in themselves, and that all sits around a high expectation.

Ikenasio  student
I think my teacher's good because she gives me hard work, with math, and she gives me homework; chapter books, and I like reading chapter books.

Nazareen  student
I want to go to uni to study medicine to become a doctor.

Foalalo  student
Waikato University to study Sports and rec.

Jacinta  student
I want to go to university and do a conjoint of commerce and law.

Patrick Drumm
It's easy to fail in terms of teaching and setting our expectations too low. Those low expectations are always achieved. I think the challenge is to set them high and then instil that belief in students that they can achieve to that level.

Joseph – student
I like the teacher to actually lay out what's expected, his or her expectation from us students; and then I would work hard trying to actually live up to that expectation.

Lucy Wymer
Pasifika students are a lot more motivated. I think with the help of teachers, they've got a lot more self-belief. They recognise that we've got high expectations, and instead of thinking they’re not going to get there, they now know that with some help and support they can get there. So that self-belief is really important.

Moyeen McCoy
Students don't have that much confidence in themselves and they need to be continually told that they can do things. But it has to be realistic as well. You need to be honest with students, if they’re aiming for something, which is not going to be possible you need to find another way. There is always another way, but basically positivity, high expectations, very very important.

Carmelita  student
When I leave school I’m aiming to be a teacher in history and English.

Faiga  student
I would like to be a lawyer. I like standing up for people and myself, that’s why.

Malia  student
I just want to become a successful person and make my parents proud.

Anne Miles
We’re aiming high, we’re making the girls aim high, and we’re making it clear to them that they can be as good as the national average if not better, but that it takes work, determination and guts. And again, it comes back to getting the students to take ownership and the teachers to motivate.

Bernadette - student
To help out my parents next year when I gain a scholarship at year 13, and go to Auckland university and go into the engineering faculty.

Anne Miles
One of our ex-students is a nuclear physicist in Germany, in Berlin, and others are now lawyers and social workers. There’s total support from Pasifika people that, "We want to achieve academically because we want those positions and we want those jobs".

Giovana – student
I'm interested in doing forensic science, and looking at how we’re made, and different organisms that put us together and stuff. But yeah, the biology aside, I want to be a forensic scientist when I leave school.

Anne Miles
I notice the difference – we’re getting second generation, and we've got daughters of McAuley students coming to the school. And so it's like the culture of the school is just mushrooming as it moves forward. And there's an even greater perception each year of achievement and the importance of success.

Mercy  student
After high school I plan to go to university to further my knowledge about music, and at the same time do two psychology papers because I enjoy socialising with autistic kids. And I love my music, so I would like to become an autistic therapist or a music therapist.

Joseph – student
The reason I want to become an architect is because I've never heard of any Islander who's ever become one.

Atina  student
There’s actually lots of things I want to do. There’s youth and social work, to be a part time choreographer, and to be a paediatrician.

Joseph – student
Right now my dream is to design a skyscraper, but first I want to design like normal buildings, houses.

Atina  student
So hopefully I'm going to do my best in science, bio, and chem, and get into hopefully Otago University to study medicine, and hopefully become a GP or Paediatrician, and then everything else will follow.