Pasifika education policy, research and voices: students on the road to tertiary success

  • Lex McDonald
  • Tavita Lipine


The literature indicates educational systems need to be responsive to the multiple worlds of minority students. Increasingly policies and strategies in New Zealand have been adopted to promote the development of Pasifika learners and in the tertiary setting, improvements have occurred, although more is needed. In the reported qualitative interview study, the voices of 36 Samoan high school students from 6 schools were analysed to identify factors considered important for academic success. Thematic analysis identified the passion to achieve, capacity to deal with inconsistencies, and the importance of a holistic orientation each resting upon a strong family orientation as being important. Recommendations arising from the study are outlined.


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Author Biographies

Lex McDonald
Dr Lex McDonald is a senior lecturer and associate dean (academic) in the Faculty of Education at Victoria University of Wellington New Zealand. He has a background in teaching and the practice of psychology. Research interests include adult education, inclusive education, training of psychologists and
teachers, Pasifika education issues and instructional psychology. Lex has numerous publications in the area of training, Pasifika education and culturally responsive teaching.
Tavita Lipine
Dr Tavita Lipine is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the National University of Samoa (NUS). He trained as a teacher in New Zealand which subsequently led to research interests in cultural diversity in education, spirituality in church music, educational and cultural change in Samoa and ethnic minority educational issues. Involvement in sports also commands
Tavita’s time. Following the completion of his PhD, Tavita has been involved in the preparation of a number of papers readying them for publication.
How to Cite
MCDONALD, Lex; LIPINE, Tavita. Pasifika education policy, research and voices: students on the road to tertiary success. The New Zealand Annual Review of Education, [S.l.], v. 21, july 2012. ISSN 1178-3311. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 21 oct. 2020. doi: