A Porirua school principal says more children from Pacific Island backgrounds will succeed at school if the Ministry of Education recognises the importance of their culture in the national standards.
A report for the ministry shows half of all Pasifika children have failed to meet the required benchmarks.
Holy Family School principal Karl Vasau says barriers for Pasifika students include their limited early childhood education and their ability to pick up English as a second language.
He says the school places a large emphasis on the child's first language and their culture, which are completely forgotten about in the national standards.
Education Minister Anne Tolley says the standards provide more information about what help the children need.