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Talofa lava, Malo e lelei, Kia orana, Talofa ni, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Kia ora, Ni sa bula vinaka, Namaste.

We want to express our gratitude to all the parents, teachers, young people and communities who shared their ideas and opinions at our recent fono across the country.

We heard from around 2,000 people on a wide range of issues and opportunities in education and beyond. We hosted eight education fono in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Oamaru and Dunedin, as well as a series of smaller fono across Auckland.

A complete and detailed analysis of all of the ideas and comments shared throughout the fono across the country is complete.

We've created a summary document of the findings and highlighted the key things you have told us: 

  • Wellbeing is hugely important. Strong positive relationships support wellbeing and so too does healthy food and stable housing. Experiences of bias, racism and bullying are negatively impacting our young people’s mental health. For Pacific people wellbeing relies not only on being physically and emotionally safe but being culturally safe in our schools, homes and even online. 
  • You understand the importance of teachers building good relationships with our young people. Teachers need to be engaging in the way they teach and they need to listen to students and draw on their interests in the classroom. You want teachers to understand our children in the context of their Pacific heritage and what that means for them and you want to see a teaching workforce that reflects the diversity of our Pacific communities. 
  • Our young people want to be leaders and co-designers in what is taught in our classrooms. Many of them want to learn in groups and to see their faith-based values and their Pacific languages, practices, histories and stories included in their learning. You also want to better understand the variety of career pathways available to young people beyond school. 
  • You see education and learning as a communal activity and parents want to support their children by learning alongside them. You want to know more about NCEA, technology, pathways and the schools’ expectations for our children. You want to be an advocate for your child and keep the school accountable. 
  • Education should develop important skills that enable our children and young people to thrive. These include critical thinking, practical life skills, such as budgeting, a strong sense of identity and soft skills such as empathy and open-mindedness. 
  • Racism is a barrier in education – the incorrect pronunciation of names, the surprise when Pacific students are smart, and the criticism of scholarships for our Pacific students. Our young people want to know how to deal with this when they are faced with it and you all want to see a more inclusive system. You also want improved access to technology, community services and resourcing for learning support and bilingual education. 
  • Success for you is not about an individual’s achievements, it is about the collective – the achievements of the family and community. The way success is viewed in our schools is too narrow. 
  • There is a need for better pathways through education that strengthen Pacific identity, language and culture and you want acknowledgement of the diversity of the Pacific population. 

Following the publication of our first findings report in September, this is the  next step in an ongoing conversation around Pacific Education. To subscribe to updates regarding next steps – please send us an email at pacific.educationconversation@education.govt.nz