Frequently asked questions

Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020–2030

What is the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-2030?

The Action Plan for Pacific Education is the Government and Ministry of Education’s plan to ensure diverse Pacific learners and their families are safe, valued, and equipped to achieve their education aspirations. It was developed through engagement with Pacific communities and in partnership with the education sector (NZQA, ERO, TEC, the Teaching Council and the Ministry for Pacific Peoples) through an interagency working group.

The Action Plan was launched in July 2020 and outlines five key system shifts and the actions Government (including the Ministry of Education and education partners) is taking to achieve the shifts and the vision. The Action Plan outlines how early learning services, schools and tertiary providers can achieve change for Pacific learners and their families. It updates the previous Pasifika Education Plan 2013-2017.

What’s different in the 2023 refresh of the Action Plan? 

The 2023 refresh of the Action Plan includes the Government’s current investment, focus on Pacific languages in education and more actions.  

The 2023 refresh includes: 

  • a strengthened focus on Pacific bilingual and immersion education and Pacific Languages in Education through a change to Key Shift 1 and a new section on Pacific languages in education on pages 34-39 
  • the next set of further Government actions that will contribute to achieving the vision and five key shifts for Pacific education success. 

What are the 5 key shifts?

The Action Plan identifies 5 key shifts and a set of actions that are needed to achieve this vision: 

  1. Work reciprocally with diverse Pacific communities to respond to unmet needs, including growing and supporting Pacific bilingual and immersion education pathways.
  2. Confront systemic racism and discrimination in education.
  3. Enable every teacher, leader and educational professional to take coordinated action to become culturally competent with diverse Pacific learners.
  4. Partner with families to design education opportunities together with teachers, leaders and educational professionals so aspirations for learning and employment can be met.
  5. Grow, retain and value highly competent teachers, leaders and educational professionals with diverse Pacific whakapapa. 

What new investment is included in the 2023 Action Plan? 

The Action Plan includes the following new investment in Pacific education through Budget 2021, Budget 2022 and Budget 2023: 

  • Pacific bilingual education in schools, including additional operational funding and curriculum resources.
  • Professional learning and development through Tapasā, the cultural competencies framework for teachers of Pacific learners.
  • Development of Vagahau Niue and Gagana Tokelau as NCEA subjects.
  • Introduction of a Pacific bilingual and immersion teaching remuneration allowance for teachers in primary schools. 

How is the Action Plan monitored? 

The Action Plan for Pacific Education Measurement Framework is intended to be used:

  • across the 10-year lifespan of the Action Plan
  • to facilitate monitoring of progress on the 5 key shifts by linking them to 14 identified indicators measurable with available data
  • to monitor and report on progress on the Government actions. 

Since the Action Plan was launched in 2020:

  • we have delivered 21 of the 22 Government actions identified in the 2020 version of the Action Plan
  • we have been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting Pacific learners and families to access education
  • We have developed and released a progress report to show how the Action Plan’s 5 key shifts have been brought to life since it was launched in 2020.

Progress report(external link)

How does the Action Plan respond to COVID-19? 

The first stage of the Action Plan was developed before the COVID-19 pandemic worsened in New Zealand. 

Since the end of the engagement period on co-designing the Action Plan, the global and local context changed dramatically due to COVID-19 and the pandemic disrupted the delivery of education for all learners. As a result of the ongoing impact of COVID-19, Pacific learners and families will need to continue to access and engage in learning in different ways, including on-site and distance learning. 

We also know that many Pacific learners and families already experienced inequitable outcomes in education and have previously been vulnerable to the impacts of a recession. Financial barriers to accessing education will continue to grow and the risks for Pacific learners and their families achieving their education aspirations will be greater than ever before. 

The Action Plan responded to COVID-19 from 2020 to 2022 with the key shift: to work reciprocally with diverse Pacific communities to respond to unmet needs, with an initial focus on needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Key actions in response to COVID-19 within the 2020 Action Plan include:  

  • Expanding Food in Schools to provide free schools lunches for learners in areas with high levels of disadvantage.
  • Delivering the Pacific Education Innovation Fund.
  • Delivering the Pacific Education Support Fund. 

How was the Action Plan for Pacific Education 2020-2030 created? 

We heard from around 2,000 people in 2018, as part of a broader conversation on our education system, on a wide range of issues and opportunities in education and beyond. We identified key changes needed in education based on what we heard.

In 2019, we went back into Pacific communities to develop the Action Plan through a series of 28 fono across the country and asked: 

  • Have we honoured and valued your voices in our proposed vision for Pacific education and the changes we need to see to get there?
  • How do we know that we are making progress towards these changes?

These fono led us to produce this Action Plan to identify actions that respond to community aspirations and support, and to launch the first phase of the Action Plan.

Read more on what Pacific communities shared about what was important to them in education: 

The Action Plan was refreshed in 2023, as part of the commitment to make it a living document. The refresh was informed by the insights from our first progress report and from targeted engagement and Talanoa on Pacific bilingual and immersion education in 2022.

Pacific bilingual education Talanoa series – link).

Why do we need an Action Plan for Pacific Education? 

There are pockets of good practice in the education system for Pacific learners and families. Evidence suggests that Pacific learners thrive in learning environments with lots of opportunities for collaborative learning where identities, languages and cultures are valued and educationally powerful connections with families and communities are made. 

Pacific families and those in the education sector strongly believe in the power of education to support their aspirations. However, communities are frustrated that issues persist despite repeated feedback and engagement. They want to see a better, collective, culturally responsive way of working that delivers real change.

The Action Plan is the first step to map a more responsive way of working because it coordinates action across the Ministry and partner agencies and takes action to invest in innovative practices led by Pacific communities.  

How do I use the Action Plan? 

Early learning services, schools and tertiary providers

Early learning services, schools and tertiary providers play a significant role in the experiences of Pacific learners and families.

The Action Plan includes possible actions, guidance and resources you may wish to use to support Pacific success. This includes planning templates and possible actions to understand what is happening in your place of learning and how you can best give effect to the Action Plan. You can find the supporting material in the full Action Plan document.

You might start by using:

This will help prioritise areas to focus on. You can then use the guidance to find resources and identify actions to respond to what you hear from your learners and their families.

Families and communities

Families and communities can also use the Action Plan to think about what’s happening in education for their communities. There is guidance and supporting resources for families and communities in the Action Plan, and a planning template to reflect on what’s happening in the community on page 80-81.

Why are there existing actions in the Action Plan? 

The Action Plan outlines the current actions Government is taking and commitments to future actions to support Pacific success. 

This includes continuing some of the actions from the 2020 Action Plan and some new actions we have started or have committed to since 2020.  

We have also completed some of the actions in the 2020 Action Plan. You can see these on pages 22-24 of the 2023 Action Plan.  

How is this Action Plan different to previous plans?

Previous Plans

Action Plan for Pacific Education (2020 – 2030)

5-year Pacific Education Plans – have not given sufficient time and support for change to happen.

This Action Plan has a 10-year vision and 5 key shifts needed to realise the vision. Actions will be updated every two years to respond to current needs and aspirations. This means that actions must be formulated off of unmet needs to see real change.

Previous plans have focused solely on Government actions with the Ministry of Education and other agencies as the main users.

This Action Plan maps actions of the Government and education partners and also provides tools for places of learning and communities so that they can create their own actions.

Previous plans have been national level plans.

The implementation of this Action Plan will involve the development of local regional plans that can respond to the unique and diverse needs that each region has.

Previous plans were not monitored frequently and findings were not systematically used to inform changes to the plans.

We aim to regularly monitor and report on the Action Plan. Where possible, findings will be used to inform new actions and investment.

Ministry of Education data usually focuses on Pacific as one group and previous plans had actions that were not ethnic-specific.

Where possible, this Action Plan will seek to use data that is ethnic specific so that actions and regional plans are responsive to the experiences and aspirations of diverse groups.

Previous Government actions for Pacific education have often been fragmented and have not been the core focus of broader Government strategies.

Many of the actions in the Action Plan will be undertaken as part of core Ministry business and information gathered through monitoring will be shared broadly across the Ministry to make sure all Ministry actions are supportive of Pacific success, as well as keeping communities, schools and agencies informed and involved in the next phases of implementation.

What is the role of Te Tiriti o Waitangi in the Action Plan?

Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Te Tiriti) is a key framework for Pacific people in New Zealand and for the education system. Throughout our fono, many Pacific communities expressed their commitment to Te Tiriti and tino rangatiratanga for tangata whenua.

We acknowledge tangata Māori as tangata whenua and acknowledge Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the guiding foundation for Aotearoa. We acknowledge te reo Māori as the indigenous language of Aotearoa, a taonga of iwi, hapū and whānau Māori and an official language of Aotearoa New Zealand. We honour and commit to Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We acknowledge the past, present and future unique and familial relationships between tangata whenua and tagata moana nui a Kiwa (Pacific Peoples).

Te Tiriti is the guiding document for Pacific peoples in New Zealand and for the education system. Throughout our 2018 and 2019 education fono series, many Pacific communities expressed their commitment to Te Tiriti and tino rangatiratanga for tangata whenua. Diverse Pacific communities are reflected in Te Tiriti through their position as tauiwi. Achieving equitable outcomes in education as tauiwi is an essential part of working in partnership with Māori because it honours the intent and articles of Te Tiriti.

How does the Action Plan relate to Ka Hikitia and Tau Mai te Reo? 

Ka Hikitia and Tau Mai te Reo, like the Action Plan for Pacific Education, are cross-agency strategies for the education sector. Ka Hikitia and Tau Mai te Reo sets out how we will work with the education sector to achieve system shifts in education to support Māori learners and their whānau, hapū and iwi to achieve excellent and equitable outcomes, and to grow te reo Māori through education and grow education through te reo Māori to protect and promote the Māori language for future generations. 

The Action Plan for Pacific Education maps how education agencies can achieve the 30 year Vision for Education for Pacific learners and families by setting five key system shifts to achieve equitable outcomes for Pacific learners.

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