Whāia te Ara Whetu: Navigating Change in Mainstream Secondary Schooling for Indigenous Students

Reference work entry


In New Zealand, the national education achievement statistics identify Māori (Indigenous), Pasifika (Pacific Islanders living in New Zealand), and other students from low income groups as “underachieving” in the education system. This chapter outlines the design, implementation, and outcomes of a longitudinal multifaceted secondary school intervention, named the Starpath Project for Tertiary Participation and Success (Starpath), which was designed to fundamentally change pedagogy and challenge the distribution of opportunities for students in some of New Zealand’s most under-served communities. In this chapter, we provide a brief summary of major school research and development projects carried out in New Zealand addressing the needs of Māori and Pasifika students in English medium schools. Then we provide a description of the project design, including the theoretical background of the approach. Following this, we outline of the New Zealand educational context, how we worked with schools, and the overall demographics of the student cohort. We then document the two phases of the project – the research and its outcomes, and the professional development design and its implementation. This is followed by an overview of the project outcomes and a discussion regarding the project’s mixed success. Lastly, we draw some conclusions regarding what we think is necessary for equitable and quality school reform.


Equity Research and development School improvement Data utilization Academic counselling Parent and community engagement 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand

Section editors and affiliations

  • Sharon Nelson-Barber
    • 1
  • Zanette Johnson
    • 2
  1. 1.WestEd,CaliforniaUSA
  2. 2.Independent ResearcherHawaiiUSA

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