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Five years of investing in Māori and Pacific Education

ASB Community Trust celebrates five years of investing in Māori and Pacific Education


An ambitious attempt by the ASB Community Trust to raise Māori and Pacific educational achievement is celebrating its fifth anniversary.

The Trust has invested $20 million in 10 initiatives across Auckland and Northland since 2009.

“Our trustees identified raising Māori and Pacific educational achievement as a major issue for our region,” Trust CEO Jennifer Gill said today. “We went out to Māori and Pacific communities, asked for innovative ideas, and from many applications we selected those we felt had the most potential.

“Over the last five years we have progressively provided the funding and support each organisation needed to deliver on their projects and achieve their goals. Today we are seeing the results.”

One initiative that has had a big impact is Mutukaroa, an approach to building a learning partnership between parents and school. Developed by decile two Sylvia Park school principal Barbara Alaalatoa, Mutukaroa showed parents how to support their children’s learning in their first three years at school. As a result, Sylvia Park has seen a substantial increase in student achievement since 2009. From just 57% of year three students reaching national norms for reading comprehension in 2009, rates of achievement are now heading towards 100%.

The lift in achievement has been considerable, and the Mutukaroa approach has now been picked up by the Ministry of Education. It is being rolled out to around 100 schools across New Zealand.

“Over the last five years the Trust has been guided by the vision created by the project’s reference group; Maa taatou ano taatou e korero. This concept, ‘we speak for ourselves,’ reflects the confidence that the community holds the solutions to its own problems,” Jennifer Gill says. “What we have seen has given us confidence to continue to invest in those people in the region prepared to tackle some of the toughest and most complex issues we face.”

The Trust has recently established a Centre for Social Impact to support its own philanthropic investments, and those of other philanthropic trusts.

The Trust is being joined by representatives of the 10 initiatives, and the Minister of Education, Hon Hekia Parata, at the event.

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