14 Sep 2017

Māori in kaupapa institutions more likely to stay in school

7:03 pm on 14 September 2017

Statistics New Zealand says a new report offers evidence which vindicates parents who choose kaupapa Māori education for their children.

Students at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi. From left to right, Tumaia Hamahona, Anahera Hamahona, Trey Aitokia and Mataamua Biddle.

(File photo) Students at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Atihaunui-a-Pāpārangi. Photo: RNZ / Leigh McLachlan

The report uses data from Te Kupenga 2013 - Statistic New Zealand's first survey of Māori well-being.

Stats NZ Kaihautu Rhonda Paku said the data allowed them to delve deeper into wellbeing indicators.

It found Māori who attend kaupapa Māori schools were more likely to stay in school until they were 17 - compared to those in mainstream schools.

It referenced Ministry of Education data that showed 78 percent of students stayed on in kaupapa Māori schools until 17 or above, whereas the number was 68.8 percent in the general roll.

They were also more likely to achieve NCEA Level 2 or above.

"We know kura kaupapa Māori do help tamariki to form a better sense of their personal and cultural identity as they transition to becoming a young adult."

Ms Paku said there has been a lot of speculation about the value of kaupapa Māori education.

"For parents who already have their children in Māori education, this vindicates their decisions and for parents who might be thinking about kura as a possible option for their children - these findings will help them make these decisions with a bit more clarity."

It has also found almost half of all Māori parents who spoke te reo at home were likely to enrol their child in kaupapa Māori education.

"The findings are very positive and we know there has been a lot of commentary about how good kaupapa Māori education pathways are good for our tauira but now we actually have some evidence that back that up and supports it."

"It provides a lot of acknowledgement for those people who have been providing this education, all the teachers in kura kaupapa and kohanga reo that have been slogging about for over 30 years to provide te reo Māori education for our tamariki that they are on the right track and they always have been and our tamariki are achieving well through it." Ms Paku said.

The report also found parents from a low socio-economic background were more likely to enrol their child in kaupapa Māori education.

The survey did not specify the form of kaupapa Māori education.