Tū Māia e te Akonga – our strategy to raise the achievement of Māori learners

The Tertiary Education Commission/Te Amorangi Mātauranga Matua (the TEC) wants to see Māori learners participating and achieving at all levels of tertiary education on par with other learners, and attaining the qualifications that enable them to participate and achieve at all levels of the workforce.

Tū Māia e te Akonga (Tū Māia) is the name of our strategy to make this happen. The key outcomes we want to achieve for more Māori learners are:

  • achieving at least NCEA level 2 and University Entrance or its equivalent during their time at secondary school       
  • transitioning into higher levels of tertiary education and enrolling in qualifications that match their career aspirations and academic ability       
  • progressing from low levels to higher levels of education
  • graduating with skills at higher levels      
  • gaining the skills and qualifications they need for sustainable, well-paid employment.

What is Tū Māia?

Tū Māia has four key focus areas:

  • Collective Action on Pathways: Strengthen collective effectiveness of individual initiatives to support youth with low or no qualifications.
  • Kura to Career: Pilot a collaborative approach to contract for wrap-around services to strengthen regional tertiary and vocational pathways through to a long-term career.     

  • Quality Educators in Tertiary Education: Co-create a blueprint that steps out how tertiary education organisations (TEOs) can boost subject matter expertise with underlying good teacher practice and principles for Māori learners.        
  • Strengthening TEC’s focus on Māori learners: Put a Tū Māia lens over all of our business-as-usual activities, to ensure our goals are considered in all aspects of our work. In particular, we’re working on our TEO Investment Planning and our monitoring framework.

We’ll add more information to these as they progress.

Why is Tū Māia needed?

Over the past 20 years there has been a considerable improvement in the educational attainment of Māori people. For example, the proportion of Māori people with a tertiary qualification has grown, older Māori are participating at higher rates than the rest of the population, and Māori course completion rates and qualification completion rates have improved.

However, there are still some areas where we need the education system to support Māori learners to achieve on a par with their peers. The challenges for Māori learners can be summarised as:

transition into tertiary education

retention within compulsory and tertiary education

progression  from lower into higher levels

participation at higher levels beyond level four

achievement at all levels.


Data and research is essential for informing our strategy, and evaluating our success. Our TEC commissioned research page has a number of reports on the experiences of Māori learners.

Want to know more?

Want to learn more about Tū Māia, or share what you are doing? There are a number of ways you can get in touch:

  • Last changed: 6 July 2016
  • Last verified: 6 July 2016