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A recent study into the social impact of interventional Māori education has found that for every dollar invested, students are receiving almost twice as much value in return.

Te Kete Aronui: Social Return on Investment report published today by Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust (TPWT) and Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency (WOCA) has revealed that their four-year, $4 million literacy and numeracy intervention has delivered over $7 million in targeted social impact to Māori learners.

The report measured tangible and intangible value generated by the WOCA-led interventional educational programme, Te Kete Aronui, against a set of financial measures, calculating that after just one year of participation, every dollar invested generates a social return of $1.72 for ākonga Māori.

“This report quantifies the social impact made possible with a by Māori, for Māori approach to education – impact our tamariki may not have otherwise received without targeted intervention,” says Te Pūoho Kātene, Kaihautū of Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust.

“What we see here are benefits that far outweigh the initial investment, and evidence that yet again re-affirms the significant value in investing in targeted Māori education.”

Established in 2011, Te Kete Aronui was developed as an innovative solution to addressing the inequities for Māori learners in the mainstream education system.

The programme pairs existing teaching tools recognised by the Ministry of Education with a tikanga-centred whānau ora approach designed to accelerate the learning and achievement of Māori students.

Findings from the report have found that investment into Te Kete Aronui has not only improved the core literacy and numeracy skills of participating students but has also resulted in a significant positive impact on student confidence, motivation, and behaviour.

“After a successful decade delivering tailor-made education that is culturally appropriate for our tamariki, Te Kete Aronui is clear evidence of the change that is required – I put the challenge to the Government that they catch up to our forward way of thinking,” says Hon. John Tamihere, CEO of Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency.

The recommendations of the report echo the Education Review Office’s Kura Huanui report, which identifies a holistic approach as a key component in fostering Māori education success.

“Previous research has shown us that there is a gaping need in our education system for programmes like Te Kete Aronui as we continue to see the one-size-fits-all approach to education contribute to inter-generational cycles of inequity and poverty,” says Kātene.

“Te Kete Aronui bridges the gap where mainstream education falls short, rather than trying to find a way for our tamariki to fit, we are providing a system which fits around them.”

Read the full report here

Key findings of the report

Māori are 2.5 times more likely to leave school with less than NCEA Level 1 than non-Māori
Attendance for Māori students is 17.5% less than Pākehā students
Between 2019-2022, Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust has funded $4,102,500 to Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency to deliver Te Kete Aronui which has generated $7,317,269 in value for Māori learners (1.72:1 SROI)
Te Kete Aronui is delivered to over 200 tamariki per year across 11 schools and community centres in Auckland, Hamilton, and Wellington.
Delivery partners include Te Whānau o Waipareira, Te Kōhao Health, Te Rōpu Āwhina ki Porirua, and Manukau Urban Māori Authority.
In addition to delivering the learning programme, Te Kete Aronui provides students and whānau with wrap-around support including counselling, food packs, parenting programmes, and stationary.
80% of tamariki were reported as feeling more confident and motivated after participating in Te Kete Aronui
86% of tamariki demonstrated positive changes in their numeracy skills and 88% demonstrated improvement in their literacy skills
71% of whānau were reported as understanding their tamariki learning needs better after participating with the programme.

Background information

Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust is a leading Māori voice in Aotearoa’s social investment and philanthropic scene. The Trust holds and manages funds on behalf of the beneficiaries under the 2004 Māori Fisheries Act, to promote education, training, and research, including matters that relate to fisheries, fishing, and fisheries-related activities. Te Pūtea Whakatupu Trust is a product of the Deed of Settlement (Māori Fisheries Settlement) 1992 and an entity of Te Ohu Kai Moana Group.