Talented and inspired leadership the key to education success

by Ngā Haeata Mātauranga The Annual Report on Māori Education 2007/08


This case study explores how Te Kopuru School’s principal Lee Anderson has spent the past 8 years changing the culture of her small Northland school to improve the education, social, and cultural outcomes of the school’s Māori learners.

Research evidence shows effective leadership has a critical influence on Māori learner outcomes.

Effective leaders help improve learner achievement by focusing on achievement, creating a positive school environment that supports learning, demanding and leading effective, culturally responsive teaching, and engaging positively with parents, whānau, and Māori communities.

Latest research encourages school leaders to understand more about high-quality, effective, iwi, whānau, and Māori community engagement, including what works and doesn’t work well. Taking an effective educational leadership approach is a key part of the draft Educational Leadership (Schooling): Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration.

Reflective questions

These questions might guide you as you read the case study:

  •  Kopuru School has changed the school’s culture in a range of ways. It has a new school vision and everyday practices focused on te Ao Māori. Teachers participate in te reo Māori training and whānau are more involved in the life of the rural school. How could your school embark on a process of change that supports the learning outcomes of your Māori learners? How could you find out more about ways to make culture count at your school? What could help you achieve this goal and why?
  • In the article, principal Lee Anderson says the correlation between culture and achievement is clear. In what ways could you enable your Māori learners feel more comfortable about being Māori?
  • Lee Anderson also talks about the challenges that change brings. In what ways could you develop your knowledge and understanding of change management? Could other principals help you?

Further reading

Education Counts Māori Education homepage

Ngā Haeata Mātauranga The Annual Report on Māori Education. Read the latest evidence and data relating to Māori education. This report starts the process of reporting on Ka Hikitia Managing for Success Māori Education Strategy 2008–2012, which sets out the Ministry’s strategic approach to achieving education success for, and with, Māori.


Ministry of Education. (February 2009). Ngā Haeata Mātauranga The Annual Report on Māori Education 2007/08. Wellington: Ministry of Education.

Tags: Māori student achievement

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