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Māori whānau talk about whānau success: Findings from Round 1 of Ngā Tau Tuangahuru—the Māori and Pacific Education Initiative (MPEI) longitudinal study

Fiona Cram, Tanya Samu, Reremoana Theodore, and Rachael Trotman

From 2009 to 2014 Foundation North, a philanthropic trust serving Auckland and Northland, funded a Māori and Pacific Education Initiative (MPEI) designed to facilitate Māori and Pacific students’ educational achievement. The longitudinal study, Ngā Tau Tuangahuru, described here was funded in late 2014 to explore what happened next for families and students who had been involved in MPEI initiatives, with a focus on family success and student educational success. The first data collection round of this study took place in 2017, and 69 families were interviewed. This article examines what the 35 Māori whānau (56 individuals) said about family success and about supporting the success of young people in their whānau. For many whānau, success embodied happiness, collective wellbeing, and good whānau relationships, alongside education and having a plan for the future. This success was most often hampered by financial restrictions. Whānau wanted young people to be achieving in education, working hard, and engaged in extracurricular activities. Getting distracted by outside influences (e.g., social media) was seen as the main barrier to young people’s success. Implications from this study for the evaluation of initiatives designed to support whānau success are presented.

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