Schools on the East Coast have earned a big tick from the Education Review Office, 15 years on from finding the quality of schooling wasn't high enough.
Its latest evaluation covers six kura kaupapa and a dozen English language schools in the Ngati Porou region.
All have improved their overall performance and only three needed extra help to improve students' education.
ERO credits whanau for being actively involved in their schools and for being proud of them.
It says the schools have used the flexibility of the curriculum to review and design their local curricula to reflect local history and Maori ancestry.