Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Education of Secondary Samoan Students in New Zealand: The Road to Success

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posted on 2021-11-10, 07:22 authored by Lipine, Tavita

This research was undertaken under the framework by Bronfenbrenner (1990). This study was carried out in six secondary in New Zealand to identify the factors that successful Samoans students believe have contributed to their educational success. A phenomenological approach was adopted for the research and a constructivist-hermeneutic-interpretivist-qualitative paradigm was used for data collection. There were four phases used in the data collection. In phase 1, the researcher identified low decile schools that could be part of the research. Phase 2 consisted of pilot interviews. In phase 3, focus group interviews enabled the identification of 49 significant factors related to the respondents' successful achievement in education. All factors identified in phase 3 were discussed and verified in the individual interviews, which made up phase 4 of the research. The respondents gave detailed descriptions of the factors they believed to have influenced their schooling achievement and success. All factors identified in the interviews were analysed using a thematic analysis procedure, and this was significant in the identification of three important themes - the passion to achieve, the capacity to deal with inconsistency and a holistic orientation to fa'asamoa as perceived by the students' aiga. The key finding related to the students' aiga, which played a significant role in their lives and impacted positively on their educational achievement. The influences of culture, church, community and change were important to the students and these were central to the development of the themes in the context of New Zealand. This research has identified the complexity of the factors which contribute to the understanding of how best to meet the needs of Samoan students in the New Zealand context. The factors by the students are perceived by the researcher as important factors and direction for future educational development for Samoan students. This research has also provided another dimension to Bronfenbrener's (1990) theory, which is important in the understanding of educational development of other ethnic groups such as the Pasifika students.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline


Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Educational Psychology and Pedagogy


McDonald, Lex; Willis, Deborah