Education policy requires that schools and teachers enable Māori students to enjoy and achieve educational success as Māori. Teachers are expected to ensure Māori learners can see and be themselves in their education and can participate in and contribute to te ao Māori (the Māori world). This article discusses how this policy can be implemented by drawing from a research evaluation project on the effectiveness of the He Kākano professional development, a project carried out in 80 English-medium secondary schools. Interviews with students, teachers, and whānau in nine case study schools indicated that understandings of the policy and its implementation varied from teacher to teacher and school to school. Findings show that Māori students’ school experiences depend strongly on the school they attend and the teachers who teach them. Implications include that, consistent with the themes of Tātaiako, meaningful communication and strong academic relationships between teachers, students and whānau is needed to enhance implementation of the policy, and through this, Māori student achievement.