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Student voices

Duration: 04:00

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Māori students leaving Te Kotahitanga schools at year thirteen, reflect on their experiences in these schools since year nine. They highlight their experiences in these schools and communities that have supported them to embark on tertiary study.



“When you’re a Māori student, as sad as it sounds, the expectations for you to fail are very high, so I think those are the kind of expectations we wanted to push away.”

“Oh when I first arrived here my goal was to pretty much just to have fun and just eat my lunch I guess, so that was fourth form when I arrived. And then fifth form started, my maths was started dropping out of school and then I just started realizing it’s getting a bit serious now.”

“Level 1 was like a hard year for me, I was just didn’t care anymore, it was just like, ‘Oh school, I want to drop out.’”

“There was only one teacher that actually taught me and that was my English teacher and all my other teachers just thought I was naughty as and sort of excluded me from everyone else. But when I came into the TKP system it was just no matter like how you dress or what you look like or how brainy or dumb you are they still treat you the same as everyone else. And that’s what made me want to be someone.”

“There’s like been a lot of times when I just thought I didn’t want to go or thought I couldn’t make it but then teachers are always there to encourage you, always had my mates and then my parents were just a huge influence on that sort of thing.”

“Some teachers they teach to the whole class, they don’t look at the individuals, so it’s kind of easier when they look to you as a person and then see what help you need, like not as a class because everyone’s different.”

“They have so much faith in you, almost like the expectations are so high that you don’t want to let them down. So you keep pushing yourself until you get there.”

“She did everything she could and she gave me extra help and just really believed that I could do it, and I felt as if if I hadn’t achieved the marks that she wanted me to then I’d let her down.”

“This place is home pretty much, the teachers become family, yea, and it’s easy to talk to them, it’s easier to get along with them, they know what you want, and they’ll help you no matter what.”

“For those kind of people that believe in you, that take the time after school to kind of um, to kind of help you.”

“If you fall behind, say like my history teacher this year I was struggling, I was falling behind and he said, ‘You know I’m here during lunch times, after school if you need anything,’ same with my physics teacher.”

“She was just the best, like she’s one of those teachers where she can give you this look and you’re just like, ‘Okay I’ll do it,’ like, like she was like you can do this.”

“They don't have to do any of this stuff but, yea, they just do it and I think it’s awesome that they do it, especially towards the Māori students in this school. Yea, it’s really like a, really gives us like a sense of whānau in this school.”

“I forgot to study because I had touch and netball. As soon as I came back and I told them they were willing to help me and try and get a little bit extra in there before the exams and I ended up still getting in the top 21 of our grades so I was pretty happy with that.”

“I used to be the dumb guy, oh no I still am but yea, I used to be the dumbest guy, but na yea, I’ve gotten better with English and I got all of my credits and everyone thought I wouldn’t so yea.”

“They have pushed me, they’ve given me motivation but also their stories as well, from when they were younger and how they went to university and all of that, and it kind of, um, kind of just made me want to do well as well.”

“It was cool like looking, like going into junior classes and seeing the same teachers that you have but they’ve just like improved on what they’re trying to do with you. And like you can just see the relationships starting to build and all that sort of thing.”

“Students expect the teachers to make the environment and learning good for them instead of them making it good for themselves, it’s like they just come and depend too much on the teachers where it’s a sort of a half way thing, like the teacher will meet you half way and you meet them the other half.”

“They want to know about us and our background, how we learn and we want to know about them as well.”

“Because my mum is so proud of me, because of what I’ve done and stayed in school, like my whole family, I get hugs.”


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