School-led learning at home: Voices of parents of Māori and Pasifika students

Authors: Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch, Ally Bull, Brenda Ellis, Kerry Hall, Jane Nicholls, Leali’ie’e Tufulasi Taleni and Richard Watkinson

This paper reports on a survey that sought the views of parents of Māori and Pasifika students on their experiences of the first week of school-led learning at home. 134 parents responded to the survey. These parents represented at least 105 primary and 79 secondary students from throughout New Zealand in English and Māori medium settings. Their perspectives are shared in the hope that these might help schools provide more equitable programmes whilst the restrictions on attending school in person remain, but perhaps even more importantly, to provide insights that might help refocus education in the longer term. The intent is to seize the opportunity afforded by the current disruption, to work more closely with whānau to rethink how public education can best be provided to meet the needs and aspirations of all New Zealanders.

In the survey, parents were asked about the benefits and challenges they had experienced, and also to provide suggestions for improving school-led learning at home. They were also asked how satisfied they were overall with the programmes that had been offered and the extent to which the programmes provided affirmed their identity, language and culture.

Finding ways to further strengthen partnerships and value the learning that happens across the boundaries between homes and schools, seems an important step in expanding our view of what counts as quality education, making schooling more equitable and in honouring te Tiriti o Waitangi. Our hope is that by sharing the voices of parents of Pasifika and Māori children, this paper might be a small step on the journey towards developing an education system that better meets the needs of all students.

Click here to download the paper.

Click here to watch - "Education report shows whānau became closer locked-down"

Dr Melanie Riwai-Couch speaks to Shane Taurima from Te Ao Māori News about this paper, the survey and some of the themes that emerged.


Thank you to the parents who entrusted us with their voices and also to those who provided images of their children learning at home that have been used in the report.

What started as an individual endeavour to collect parent voices from our Māori and Pasifika communities quickly became a collaborative project. I wish to acknowledge the University of Canterbury and the contribution of both Angus Hikairo Macfarlane, Professor of Māori Research who has provided a foreword to the research and Leali’ie’e Tufulasi Taleni who was a contributing author. This paper was a team effort including co-authors from Evaluation Associates: Ally Bull, Brenda Ellis, Kerry Hall, Jane Nicholls, and Richard Watkinson.