Case studies

The Ka Hikitia case studies start a conversation amongst teachers, whānau, school boards, principals and parents by sharing the stories of those who are engaged in making a difference for their Māori students. Its aim is to help those working in education to bring about successful outcomes for these students.


Ka Hikitia is our strategy to rapidly change how the education system performs so that all Māori students gain the skills, qualifications and knowledge they need to enjoy and achieve education success as Māori.

Ka Hikitia is an updated strategy. Its forerunner, Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success 2008-2012, set the direction for improving how the education system performs for Māori students.

Mid-2013, the Officer of the Auditor General’s (OAG) released a report Education for Māori; Implementing Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success. This report identified that there is still much more to be done for Māori to enjoy and achieve education success as Māori. The OAG suggested that schools set up and share teaching practices that are effective in improving Māori students’ educational success.

The five schools involved in these initial case studies have opened their doors to share their practice. Each of the schools has faced challenges to deliver an education that accelerates success for their Māori students. These schools represent a range of schools we may encounter in Aotearoa New Zealand.




Māori %


Breens Intermediate

Year 7 & 8

U4 = 251



Intermediate school (Year 7-8) in Christchurch with around 250 students, 15% identify as Māori.

Makoura College

Year 9-14

U4 = 277



Secondary school (Year 9-14) in Masterton with around 280 students, 55% identify as Māori.

Newton Central School

Year 1-6

U4 = 270


Auckland Central

Contributing school (Year 1-6) in Central Auckland with around 270 students, 43% identify as Māori. Immersion and bilingual options are available for their community.

Porangahau School

Year 1-8

U1 = 31


Hawke's Bay

Full Primary school (Year 1-8) in Hawke's Bay with around 30 students, 77% identify as Māori.

Te Karaka

Year 1-13

Immersion Rumaki Māori

U4 = 163



Composite school (Year 1-13) in Gisborne with around 160 students, 94% identify as Māori.

Aim of the case studies

The case studies aim to:

  • promote conversation and develop shared understandings, plans and actions to accelerate education success for Māori students
  • improve access to a range of effective practice examples in contexts that teachers, boards of trustees, whānau, parents and principals can relate too
  • empower teachers, school boards, whānau, parents and principals  to have the confidence to engage effectively with one another to support their Māori students
  • identify schools that confidently use a range of data to track, measure and report the success of their Māori students effectively
  • promote effective practice in schools that prioritises resources and activities to action the goals to accelerate change for Māori students
  • allow teachers, school boards, whānau, parents and principals  to see how they can take action to challenge bias and low expectations for Māori students

Using the case studies

You can use each of the case studies to talk to individuals, groups, teams, departments, syndicates, school boards or your whole staff — whatever works for you.


  • Be aware that there will be a range of understandings and awareness levels about the Māori learners in your school.
  • Prepare to have honest conversations to identify and make the required changes.


The case studies can be selected and viewed in a number of ways. The following are some suggestions to get you started.

Quality, provision, strong engagement:

Critical factors – Ka Hikitia

Treaty of Waitangi, Māori potential approach, Ako, Identity, language and culture and productive partnerships:

Principles – Ka Hikitia

Composite, Intermediate, full Primary, Primary, Secondary, Immersion, Bilingual, roll size and Māori roll:

School context for Ka Hikitia

Because nothing in teaching is done in isolation the case studies have links to more than one focus.

Teaching as inquiry cycle

Since any teaching strategy works differently in different contexts for different students, effective pedagogy requires that teachers inquire into the impact of their teaching on their students. (Ministry of Education, 2007b, page 35.)

The purpose of the Teaching as Inquiry cycle is to improve outcomes for students. The cycle is also an organising framework that can be used to learn about current practice and build greater shared knowledge, plans and actions for change.

Focusing Inquiry

Establish a baseline and a direction for change.

The key question for the focusing inquiry is:

  • What is important (and therefore worth spending time on), given where my school/students are at?

Teaching Inquiry

Use evidence from research and from current practice to plan teaching and learning opportunities aimed at achieving the outcomes prioritised in the focusing inquiry.

The key question for the teaching inquiry is:

  • What strategies (evidence-based) are most likely to help my students learn what they need to learn?

Learning Inquiry

Investigate the success of the focus in terms of the outcomes; use a range of assessment approaches. This is an ongoing process that assists with the analysis and interpretation of information to consider the next steps.

The key questions for the learning inquiry are:

  • What happened as a result of the changes?
  • What are the implications for future practice?
  • Is there something we need to change?
  • What are the next steps?

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