Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Understanding Pasifika Educational Aspirations and Conceptions of Development in Wainuiomata

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Version 2 2023-03-14, 02:46
Version 1 2021-12-09, 10:37
posted on 2023-03-14, 02:46 authored by McLeod, Holly

Education is good for development. This positive relationship between education and development is often stated without challenge, resulting in education being posited at the forefront of global development strategies. Yet, within the subject of Development Studies, postdevelopment theorists have questioned the very basis of ‘development’, not only its definition but also the inherent assumption that it is necessarily desirable and positive. Instead, they point to examples such as Buen Vivir and argue that we should explore different ways of conceptualising what is a good life.  The present research has sought to examine the way the Pasifika community in Wainuiomata, Aotearoa perceives and engages with education to fulfil its own vision of development. Some 30 research participants contributed their valuable time and energy to this project through semi-structured interviews, offering insight into their own educational experiences and aspirations. Through employing a methodological approach informed by the ethos of talanoa and participatory research, this research has privileged the narratives of participants, giving voice to their experiences within an academic context.  This research has identified that while the experiences of these families within Aotearoa’s education system have been frustrating and challenging, such adversity has not served to disenfranchise Pasifika families from engaging within this educational system. Rather, it has served as motivation to create better educational experiences for youth in this community today. Furthermore, the vision of development aspired toward by this community is one that draws both similarities and contrasts with mainstream conceptions of development. The existence of alternative conceptions of development supports post-development’s call for development practise to examine local context and community aspirations, and to value community knowledge and action. In examining the way this community has engaged with education to progress their own vision of development, it was found that Pasifika families in Wainuiomata are taking ownership of their own development, and are actively involved in creating better educational outcomes for their youth.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Development Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Development Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

University Library

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Overton, John