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Investing in “success” as Māori and Pacific: The collaborative development of Ngā Tau Tuangahuru, a longitudinal evaluation study

Rachael Trotman, Fiona Cram, Tanya Samu, Moi Becroft, Reremoana Theodore, and Tony Trinick

In 2006, the ASB Community Trust (now Foundation North) committed $20 million to raising Māori and Pacific educational achievement in Auckland and Northland. Ten providers were funded through the Māori and Pacific Education Initiative (MPEI) to implement innovative educational approaches in their communities. Evaluators developed an overarching MPEI theory of change and assessed this initial phase of MPEI as highly effective. Foundation North has since committed to Ngā Tau Tuangahuru (“Looking beyond for ten more years”), a 10-year longitudinal evaluation study involving students and families from five MPEI provider communities. This study will test and deepen the MPEI theory of change, particularly from students’ and families’ perspectives. This article describes how the study team worked with six MPEI providers over 2 years to collaboratively design this study. Agreement was reached that the study will explore what ‘success’ looks like for Māori and Pacific students and their families, and what supports this success at individual, family, educational, and community levels. Community researchers have been recruited in consultation with the MPEI providers, to interview up to 100 Māori and Pacific students aged 8 to 16 years, and their families. The first round of interviews took place in 2017 and there will be three further interviews by 2025 to explore student and family journeys. Key ingredients of the study to date include relationships, resourcing, and time to collaboratively develop the study, and the transdisciplinary team.
Foundation North (formerly the ASB Community Trust) is a philanthropic organisation that has grown a reputation for being bold and inventive in its intention to enable social change and innovation. The purpose of this article is to describe the development of a longitudinal evaluation study of the Foundation’s Māori and Pacific Education Initiative (MPEI). An overview of MPEI is provided, including the emergence of the longitudinal evaluation study, before the collaborative development of this study is described. Section 3 explains the evaluative aspects of the study, and a final discussion synthesises the key enablers of the study to date.

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