Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

You are here:



Research and reports that investigate the experiences of Pasifika students in New Zealand schools.


Ngāue Fakataha ki he ako 'a e Fānau

Reports for the research and development project Ngāue Fakataha ki he Ako ’a e Fānau — Schools and Parents and Families Working Together to Better Understand and Support Pasifika Students’ Progress and Achievement at School.

Pasifika Education Research Priorities: Using research to realise our vision for Pasifika learners

This document from the Education Counts publications will be of interest to researchers and others with an interest in Pasifika education. Its purpose is to encourage a collaborative, coordinated approach to gathering quality research-based evidence in key areas which can be used more effectively in policy and practice for improved educational outcomes for all Pasifika learners.


Leadership Practices Supporting Pasifika Student Success

The following are a series of six reports that focus on school leadership practices that support Pasifika student achievement and success.

The three case study reports describe leadership practices with a specific focus on Pasifika student success in each of three secondary schools, namely McAuley High School, De La Salle College, and Otahuhu College. The further three (exemplar) reports describe in more detail one aspect of each case study school’s approach to improving achievement outcomes for Pasifika students. For further information on this report please open the link below. 

McAuley High School

This report is one in a series of three case study reports with a focus on School leadership practices that support Pasifika student achievement and success. The series also includes three exemplar reports that showcase in more detail one aspect of each case study schools approach to improving achievement outcomes for their Pasifika students. To view the case study and exemplar, please open the links below.

De La Salle College

This is the second in a series of three case study reports with a focus on School leadership practices that support Pasifika student achievement and success. The series also includes three exemplar reports that showcase in more detail one aspect of each case study schools approach to improving achievement outcomes for their Pasifika students. To view the case study and exemplar, please open the links below.

Otahuhu College

This is the third in a series of three case study reports with a focus on School leadership practices that support Pasifika student achievement and success. The series also includes three exemplar reports that showcase in more detail one aspect of each case study schools approach to improving achievement outcomes for their Pasifika students. To view the case study and exemplar, please open the links below.

Pasifika Student Achievement in English: Reading

In 2014, the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) assessed student achievement at Year 4 and Year 8 in two areas of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) – English: reading and social studies. This brief report presents the results for Pasifika students in English: reading.

Author(s): Educational Assessment Research Unit and New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Report for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: July 2016

Pasifika Student Achievement in Social Studies

In 2014, the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement (NMSSA) assessed student achievement at Year 4 and Year 8 in two areas of the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) – English: reading and social studies. This brief report presents the results for Pasifika students in social studies.

Author(s): Educational Assessment Research Unit and New Zealand Council for Educational Research. Report for the Ministry of Education.

Date Published: July 2016


Understanding special education from the perspectives of Pasifika families

The aim of this report is to identify the strengths of current service provision; barriers to accessing SE services for Pasifika; and the extent to which cultural perspectives on disability and SE and the low numbers of Pasifika professionals affected engagement and satisfaction with SE services for Pasifika families.

Author(s): Lila Mauigo-Tekene, Lin Howie, Dr Bill Hagan, School of Education, Manukau Institute of Technology.
Date published: July 2013

An analysis of recent Pasifika education research literature to inform and improve outcomes for Pasifika learners

The aim of this report is to review education literature and clarify key evidence towards improved learning and achievement outcomes for Pasifika learners. It identifies priorities for future research in Pasifika education.

Author(s): Cherie Chu, Ali Glasgow, Fuapepe Rimoni, Mimi Hodis and Luanna H. Meyer, Victoria University of Wellington.
Date published: July 2013

Making Connections for Pacific Learners' Success

This ERO report discusses secondary schools where Pacific learners are achieving at or above the national norms for all students. It includes details of initiatives and good practice and how these work together to get great results.

Date published: November 2013

ERO Pacific Strategy 2013–2017: Building Capability in Evaluating Pacific Success

The Education Review Office's Pacific Strategy is part of the wider education sector's commitment to Pacific education issues. It has been developed to ensure that ERO has the capacity to respond to these issues and to contribute to the Government's goals for Pacific learners.

Accelerating the Progress of Priority Learners in Primary Schools (May 2013)

This national report presents the findings of ERO’s recent evaluation about the extent to which primary schools were using effective strategies to improve outcomes for priority groups of learners. In this report ‘priority learners’ refers to Māori, Pacific, special needs, and students from low income families, who are not achieving at or above National Standards.

Date published: May 2013

The anti-deficit approach: Reassessing the notion of Pasifika academic achievement 

The issue of Pasifika “underachievement” has been the subject of discussion and debate by educationalists, government policymakers and Pasifika people themselves. This thesis contributes to this discussion by examining some of the challenges faced by Pasifika students in their academic achievement. In particular it raises some pertinent questions regarding the notion of achievement itself and focuses specifically on some of the environmental and pedagogical factors which influence the academic performance of Pasifika students and some of the initiatives by government and non-government groups to address the challenges of Pasifika educational achievement.

Author: James Luke Mather
Date published: 2013


Improving Education Outcomes for  Pa cific  Learners

The Education Review Office (ERO) is an independent government department that reviews the performance of New Zealand’s schools and early childhood services, and reports publicly on what it finds. This is ERO’s third national evaluation report looking at how primary and secondary schools engage with Pacific learners and work to lift their achievement.

Date published: May 2012

Evaluation at a Glance: Priority Learners in New Zealand Schools

This report is a synthesis of material from 15 national evaluations and reports of good practice published in the last four years that, taken together, reveal three key issues facing New Zealand’s education system. ERO believes that these issues, in particular, are hindering efforts to raise the achievement of New Zealand’s lowest performing school students, our priority learners. This report discusses aspects of practice that have been especially helpful in raising students’ achievement and fostering their engagement in learning.

Date published: August 2012


Teu le va – Relationships across research and policy in Pasifika education

Teu le va is a tool primarily for educational researchers, to help them plan and implement research that contributes to the development of effective policy and practice in respect of Pasifika students in our schools.

Teu le va emphasises a number of principles or practices, including the need for: researchers to directly involve Pasifika learners, their families, and communities, and teachers as practitioners, in the development of research proposals or plans; ongoing collaboration between researchers and policy-makers; collaboration among researchers from different organisations and groups in order to build a sound knowledge base; ensuring that any research undertaken is relevant for a range of audiences (e.g, parents, communities, teachers, policy-makers); all research, development and policy-making in Pasifika education to have a firm focus on student success: realising potential and identifying opportunities.

Authors: Airini, Melani Anae and Karlo Mila-Schaaf with Eve Coxon, Diane Mara & Kabini Sanga
Date published: July 2010

Ua Aoina le Manogi o le Lolo: Pasifika Schooling Improvement Research – Summary Report

The Schooling Improvement team of the Ministry of Education sought to examine the current state of Pasifika academic achievement in Schooling Improvement initiatives and in individual schools. Part of the examination was to identify aspects of Schooling Improvement (SI) work that has been shown to enhance or hinder academic achievement for Pasifika students and to offer some recommendations. This report is a summary of a detailed technical report from Auckland UniServices Limited prepared by the Woolf Fisher Research Centre. Details of each of the sections summarised here are contained in "Ua aoina le manogi o le lolo: Pasifika Schooling Improvement Full Technical Report",(Amituanai-Toloa, McNaughton, Lai, & Airini, 2009).

Authors: Meaola Amituanai-Toloa, Stuart McNaughton, Mei Kuin Lai and Airini
Date published: February 2010

Ua Aoina le Manogi o le Lolo: Pasifika Schooling Improvement Research – Final report

This project focused on the effectiveness of Schooling Improvement initiatives for Pasifika. The purposes were to identify the practices that work to raise achievement and close the gaps for Pasifika students especially at the classroom, school and cluster levels; to find out how effective existing Schooling Improvement initiatives are in raising achievement for Pasifika students; and to provide information to help existing and new initiatives to improve their effectiveness for Pasifika students.

Authors: Meaola Amituanai-Toloa, Stuart McNaughton, Mei Kuin Lai, and Airini with Rolf Turner, Deborah Widdowson, Rachel McClue, Selena Hsiao, and Maryanne Pale
Date Published: February 2010



Learning from the Quality Teaching Research and Development Programme (QTR&D) – Findings of the External Evaluation

The Quality Teaching Research and Development Programme (QTR&D) was a bold and ambitious pilot development and research project. It was designed as an exploratory programme to understand more about quality teaching for Māori and Pasifika students, within designated contexts (literacy, numeracy, social studies and science) and across different language settings (English, Māori and Samoan bilingual).

Authors: Lorna M. Earl, Ph.D. Director, Aporia Consulting Ltd. with Helen Timperley, Ph.D. and Georgina M. Stewart, Ed.D.
Date published: May 2009

High Level Executive Summary: Quality Teaching, Research and Development Samoan Bilingual Hub

The focus of this summary is the Samoan bilingual hub. This QTR&D hub was set up to improve the quality of teaching and learning (pedagogy and student outcomes) in Samoan bilingual school settings. The project outcomes will inform policy, and future research and development work with teachers in schools.

Author:Developed from research coordinators’ original reports with their agreement.
Date published: May 2009

Te Rau Awhina: Good practice examples of Māori and Pasifika private training establishments 

This study was designed to investigate the practices of nominated Māori and Pasifika private training establishments (PTEs) in relation to teaching & learning, and programme design & development. It also investigated for what reasons the nominated Māori and Pasifika PTEs used the strategies they did to develop teaching and learning. It asked what cultural elements were interwoven into their practices, and finally, to what extent the practices of the nominated PTEs compared with those considered in the literature to be indicators of good practice.

Authors: Dr Jane Marshall, Kathryn Baldwin and Dr Roger Peach
Date published: June 2008

Literature review on the experiences of Pasifika learners in the classroom

There are new challenges for education systems in knowledge societies. All learners need to be well served by their education to develop the requisite capabilities and sense of belonging and well being to succeed and contribute to wider communities. This requires a responsive, future-focused education system, based on high expectations for successful outcomes amongst diverse learner groups.

Authors: Dr P. Bruce Ferguson, Dr. R. Gorinski, T. Wendt Samu & Dr D. Mara
Date published: June 2008


Teacher Professional Learning and Development: BES

The Teacher Professional Learning and Development BES illuminates the kind of professional learning for teachers that strengthens valued outcomes for diverse learners.

Authors: H. Timperley, A. Wilson, H. Barrar and I. Fung
Date published: December 2007


Connections and Conversations: Making Links for Learning

The Ministry of Education (2006) has produced Connections and Conversations: Making Links for Learning. This DVD and handbook is designed to support facilitators and to stimulate discussion in schools with the aim of improving their engagement with parents and communities in ways that will ultimately lead to improved learning and achievement for Pasifika students. This resource is available from Down the back of the chair with an item number of 11061. Or you can order by ringing 0800 660 662.

Literature Review on the Effective Engagement of Pasifika Parents & Communities in Education (PISCPL)

This literature review was designed to complement and inform an evaluation of the Ministry's PISCPL project. The review explored barriers to Pacific Island parent/community engagement and strategies that can support home-school engagement.

Authors: Dr. R. Gorinski and C. Fraser
Date published: 2006

Pacific Islands School Community Parent Liaison Project Case Study

The purpose of the PISCPL project is to encourage a closer relationship between Pacific Islands communities and schools and to improve and increase Pacific Islands student achievement across the curriculum. The Pacific Islands School Community Parent Liaison Project Case Study examines the relationship between schools and Pacific Island communities and student achievement in a cluster of four schools.

Author: Ruth Gorinski
Date published: September 2005


Strengthening Education in Mangere and Otara (SEMO)

Strengthening Education in Mangere and Otara (SEMO) is a Ministry of Education intervention designed to increase the capacity of the schools and communities of Mangere and Otara to offer high quality learning environments for children. This is the third and final evaluation report on the SEMO initiative. Three separate studies are considered in this report: School Governance, Reporting to Parents, and Perceptions of Pasifika Student Achievement.

Authors: Viviane Robinson and Helen Timperley in association with Lorrae Ward, Lili Tuioti, Violet Tu'uga Stevenson, Sue Mitchell
Date published: 2004

Language Acquisition Research

This research report is a compilation of papers presented at the Language Acquisition Forum held in 2003. The papers were written and presented by educationalists who have had wide experience in both research and teaching in the field of language acquisition and bilingual development. The report will provide the Ministry of Education with possible strategies to support schools and teachers who offer bilingual and immersion education, and the children and whanau who participate in these programmes.

Author: Research Division, Ministry of Education
Date published: 2004

Bilingual/Immersion Education: Indicators of Good Practice

Based on a review of national and international research on bilingualism and bilingual/immersion education, this report explores effective approaches for bilingual education. While the focus was on Māori-medium education, the indicators of good practice can also be applied to other bilingual contexts in Aotearoa/New Zealand, such as Pasifika bilingual education.

Author: Stephen May, Richard Hill and Sarah Tiakiwai
Date published: 2004


Quality Teaching for Diverse Students in Schooling: BES

This report is one of a series of best evidence syntheses commissioned by the Ministry of Education. It is part of a commitment to strengthen the evidence base that informs education policy and practice in New Zealand. It aims to contribute to an ongoing evidence-based discourse amongst policy makers, educators and researchers.

Author: Adrienne Alton-Lee
Date published: June 2003

Evaluation of Professional Development for Pacific Teachers which Supports the Arts in the NZ Curriculum

From 2003, the 'Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum' is mandatory and schools are required to offer all four disciplines (dance, drama, music, and the visual arts) to Year 1-8 students and at least two of the four disciplines to Year 9 and 10 students. In the two years leading up to its implementation, professional development in the Arts has been offered to schools in a variety of ways, including an Arts component as part of a larger national contract for Pacific teachers. This report describes the results from a (limited) evaluation of the effectiveness of this component of the professional development in assisting Pacific teachers translate the Arts curriculum document into classroom practice.

Author: Gravitas Research and Strategy Limited
Date published: July 2003

Pasifika Early Childhood Education

This scoping report was commissioned with the inter-relationship between children’s language acquisition, their cognitive development, and quality teaching in immersion and bilingual settings as the broad topic area for investigation. The report is comprised of three components: the first compiles of a profile of immersion and bilingual Pasifika early childhood education in 2001; the second reports on a consultation exercise with key stakeholders; and lastly an essay on bilingualism and second language acquisition in early childhood.

Authors: Anne Meade, Hellen PuhiPuhi, Susan Foster-Cohen
Date published: 2003

Pasifika Education Research Toolkit

The Pasifika Education Research Toolkit is a resource for Pasifika researchers and those researching in Pasifika education contexts. It aims to assist these researchers by providing short descriptions of current research and information about Pasifika learners, and other information and services to support Pasifika research. The toolkit also contains links to web sites where key information is located. The toolkit complements the Ministry report Pasifika Education Research Guidelines released in 2002.

Author: Pasifika Education Research Team
Date published: 2003

The Sustainability of Professional Development in Literacy: Part 2 School-Based Factors Associated with High Student Achievement

This report examines the sustainability of professional development following the completion of an intensive course in literacy acquisition by teachers of Year One students and their literacy leaders in seven schools. The research on which it is based had two aims. The first was to examine the ways in which the professional development changed teachers’ expectations of student achievement over the period of the course. The findings of this study are reported in Part One of this report. The second aim was to examine issues of sustainability once the course had finished and the findings are reported here (Part Two). Two issues related to sustainability were examined. These included the trends in student achievement over all participating schools over three years, and the school-based factors that were associated with sustainability because it is these that exert the major influence on teacher implementation of new practices (Cohen & Ball, 1999; Darling-Hammond, 1997; Goodlad, 1984; Robertson & Allan, 1999). The summary report and Part 1 of this report can be found in the inset box in the top right hand corner of the screen.

Authors:Helen S. Timperley and Joy Wiseman
Date published: 2003


Pacific Peoples and Tertiary Education: Issues of Participation

This research focused on the participation patterns of Pacific students in tertiary education and barriers to their participation. It has three parts: a literature review on the experiences of Pacific tertiary students; analysis of national data and information from tertiary education providers on their strategies for recruiting and retaining Pacific students; and interview-based information on the experiences of participants and those who didn't complete their studies or take part at all in tertiary education.

Authors: Melani Anae, Helen Anderson, John Benseman and Eve Coxon
Date published: February 2002

Pathways over the Transition to Schools: Studies in Family Literacy Practices and Effective Classroom Concepts for Māori and Pasifika children

Two outcomes of research and development are described in this report. One is the development of a set of resources suitable for family literacy education. The second is a set of research goals involving Māori and Pasifika families.

Authors: Lavinia Turoa, Ema Wolfgramm, Lonise Tanielu and Stuart McNaughton
Date published: 2002

Picking up the Pace

This research project delivered concentrated professional development in literacy instruction to groups of early childhood and new entrant teachers in decile one schools in Mangere and Otara. The outcome was a substantial lift in the reading and writing achievement of new entrants. Picking up the Pace was a component of the Early Childhood Primary Links via Literacy (ECPL) Project which was part of a much broader project, Strengthening Education in Mangere and Otara (SEMO), which aimed to raise achievement significantly among students in these two communities. The summary report is available as downloads above right and the full report as downloads at the bottom of this page.

Authors: Gwenneth Phillips, Stuart McNaughton, Shelly MacDonald and Michael Keith
Date published: 2002

Literature Review on Pacific Education Issues

This Literature Review on Pasifika Education Issues was commissioned to provide valuable information about those issues for Pacific education which have been researched, and those which have not in order to address policy requirements. It covers research since 1990 related to primary, secondary, tertiary and teacher education sectors. It includes some recommendations for further research on Pasifika education issues.

Authors: Eve Coxon, Melani Anae, Diane Mara, Tanya Wendt-Samu and Christine Finau
Date published: January 2002


Pasifika Education Research Guidelines

These guidelines are for researchers working with Pacific peoples and subjects in education research.

Authors: Melani Anae, Eve Coxon, Diane Mara, Tanya Wendt-Samu and Christine Finau
Date published: December 2001