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 “What deliberate steps are we taking to change teachers’ expectations? Pacific kids are being streamed into subjects that won’t get them UE.”

“I want to be employed on my own merit – not because an organisation or industry is seeking a greater representation of Pacific people”

Are these important to you?

  • Yes, racism is important but also discrimination based on class and economic wealth
  • Other areas are supported, with particular mention of addressing racism, involving parents and communities and having bilingual opportunities
  • Some see the prioritising of learning about western cultures and countries as a form of racism and want to see learning material that is relevant to their own cultures and identities. Others felt that to be taken seriously in the workforce you needed to have the highest qualifications (Masters, PhD etc.) whereas non-Pacific are taken seriously by default
  • PowerUP is helping to make parents more aware and involved but still a long way to go before there are relationships between schools and parents. Language is a major barrier. 

Is there something missing?

  • Need Teaching Council to support Pacific trained teachers to work in New Zealand
  • Use the Bible as spiritual guidance for the mental wellbeing of our children
  • Learn about Pacific histories and cultures and localised curriculum – Treaty of Waitangi is taught but we also want to learn about Pacific events such as the Dawn Raids and Pacific migration
  • Need to set up services that would encourage future Pacific teachers and leaders
  • All teachers need to be culturally responsive, not just Pacific – some see this as the most important way forward. There should be mandatory cultural competence requirements
  • Improving access to technology
  • Having an engagement strategy that goes alongside the plan and create spaces for sharing best practice for Pacific peoples in education to disseminate knowledge
  • Clearer support for pathways beyond school
  • Might be valuable for parents to have a portal to access information about education supports e.g. Tapasā, PowerUP etc. At the fono parents found out that there are schools who are using Tapasā and if they knew that, they would send their child there but they don’t have that information. Parents need information. 

What would you change about the areas?

  • Switch around racism and valuing Pacific cultures so you talk about valuing first
  • Have more of these conversations in public sector spaces so they know on the ground perspectives
  • Tapasā is a great resource and primary teachers are excited about it but MoE has released it with no training or PLD to support its use. A desire for parents to know about these things so they can ask the school and keep the school accountable
  • MSD has some good values-based work on what family means to different Pacific ethnic group. Could learn from this for Education 


  • How does MoE support inclusion of indigenous knowledge in the curriculum?
  • Will there be more scholarships to encourage more Pacific teachers?
  • How do we encourage Pacific parents and families to get more involved in education? How do we get more Pacific teachers and more Pacific on Boards of Trustees?
  • How do we overcome the persistent challenge of being a minority?

Most common indicators of success (in order)

  • Pacific learners can learn about their culture and heritage
  • Pacific learners and their families are free from racism and discrimination in education
  • Pacific learners have the skills to succeed in the workforce
  • Pacific learners and their families feel accepted and included
  • Pacific learners see themselves reflected in their teachers and leaders

Hamilton Fono Summary [PDF]