A quarter of all Maori students undertaking bachelor level studies or higher are doing so through the Maori institution, Te Whare Wananga o Awanuiarangi.
The Whakatane wananga introduced sweeping changes to its management processes in 2008, including re-structuring and setting up new programmes.
Its deputy chief executive Wiremu Doherty says that's resulted in more uptake at the degree level or higher, of which half of its students are enrolled in.
Awanuiarangi students make up 21% of all Maori enrolled in bachelors, 34% enrolled in Masters and 23% in doctorates.
Dr Doherty says Maori with a degree have a far higher chance of gaining employment, which drives the wananga to provide a pathway that enables Maori to maintain the cultural element of who they are while studying.