Encouraging tutors and great role models are being credited for the rising number of Maori students enrolled at the Manukau Institute of Technology.
The number of Maori students enrolled at the institute rose from 12 percent in 2009 to just over 15 percent in 2014.
This year's graduating classes also had the highest proportion of Maori students since the institute was set up in 1970.
Student Kevin Bell of Ngapuhi descent is from south Auckland and is in his second year of a bachelor in sports and exercise science.
He said Maori and Pasifika in south Auckland often grew up thinking they were not good enough for tertiary studies.
But Mr Bell said having tutors who believed in their students had motivated him in his studies.
Institute data showed that about a quarter of students were studying hospitality-related qualifications and about a third were in creative industries.