The Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs is calling for more funding for Pacific early childhood centres and bilingual education to lift the poor performance of students.
The call comes in a briefing to incoming minister Hekia Parata, who is also in charge of education.
The briefing says the education system is failing to meet the needs of Pacific students.
The ministry's chief executive, Colin Tukuitonga, says educational underachievement is dragging down Pacific communities - and the country as a whole.
Dr Tukuitonga says more money is needed to boost Pacific participation in early childhood education and for bilingual education.
He says research shows bilingual education can be a path to better achievements for Pacific people.
This year's review of the Pasifika Education Plan needs to set higher targets for lifting students' performance, he says.