“It's about empowering the whānau”: Māori adult students succeeding at university

Tina Williams


A large number of studies have demonstrated that Māori students are not performing well in education. The literature in the general area of Māori education paints a very grim picture that demonstrates a clear preoccupation with failure and underachievement. These studies often overlook the experiences of Māori adult students who return to study long after leaving school and experience considerable success. This paper focuses on the academic success of 16 indigenous students at a New Zealand university. It is based on the findings of a qualitative investigation that explored the experiences of Māori adult students who entered university with very few formal school qualifications and then went on to attain undergraduate degrees. This paper pays particular attention to the role of the whānau in facilitating Māori educational success at university.

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DOI: 10.15663/wje.v16i3.35


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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015