The success of Maori in education is a goal of national significance. There is much documentation and research illustrating the educational gaps between Maori and non-Maori in achieving recognised qualifications, resulting in the prioritisation of programmes and initiatives to address these inequalities. New Zealand is currently seeing the expansion of initiatives in Maori education, designed to improve learning outcomes for all students, with current developments emphasising programmes that incorporate achievement in bilingual and Maori settings, encouraging the development of Maori teachers and raising expectations of Maori achievement.
A Maori view of schooling includes both formal and informal learning, together with important aspects of daily life. It has been reported that there are not the same divisions between the stages of formal education, in comparison to Eurocentric views of education. The view of collective benefit over individual success and attainment is another prominent feature of Maori schooling.
Media releases illustrate that the opportunities for Maori participation in learning programmes requires both individual investment and government support to ensure its effectiveness. There are many organisations, both in the private and public sectors that are implementing initiatives to ensure these goals become a reality.
Skill New Zealand is the organisation charged with the responsibility of creating success for Maori learners ensuring a skilled work force is the outcome. This organisation works with a number of private and public organisations in the educational sectors to support training in industries and to provide opportunities for foundation learning. These partnerships have been vital in ensuring that development initiatives have been effective, as well as meeting the some of the key criteria set for increasing Maori participation in schooling.
The partnerships with industry training organisations have played a vital role in ensuring effective industry-led training and skill based educational programmes. Additionally, the collaboration with private training establishments and other tertiary institutions has led to increased academic achievement for individuals previously with few or no qualifications.
Traditional mainstream approaches appear to have limited effectiveness for many Maori learners. Many private and public training institutes are now delivering programmes in a wide variety of formats, delivery methods and settings, including educational institutes in New Zealand which take into account the unique needs and preferences of Maori learners. One goes so far as to provide a setting and environment conducive to advanced Maori education, with a marae on site of the educational facility, termed Tangatarua. This translates to “two peoples”, reflecting the bilingual nature of the institute.