A new report has found Pacific children underperforming at all levels of education.
The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs on Wednesday published the first in a series of reports on the progress of Pacific people which shows them under performing at all levels of the education system compared to national averages.
It cites lower participation rates in early childhood education, poor school performance and poor completion rates in tertiary education.
The ministry's chief executive, Dr Colin Tukuitonga, says 20% of the country's schoolchildren will have Pacific backgrounds by 2050, and improvements to their education outcomes are critical to the future of New Zealand.
Dr Tukuitonga has called on Pacific people to embrace education as enthusiastically as they have traditionally embraced the church.
But he says government agencies and teachers also need to make more effort to improve education outcomes for Pacific people.
Dr Tukuitonga says there are some positive initiatives, but they need to be applied more widely.