Role models serve multiple functions as they influence Māori students’ goals and school aspirations. While Māori students are faced with various educational barriers, scholars contend that having a positive role model can influence their educational persistence and overall engagement at school. Therefore, it is important to consider who Māori students choose as role models and how they influence their goals and aspirations.
The notion of “success” for Pasifika students in higher education remains contested given the socio-political agendas of education in New Zealand targeting Pasifika engagement. The motivation to increase academic achievement for Pasifika peoples stems from “tail-end” outcomes, in which Pasifika populations are compared with other demographic populations in the attainment of higher qualifications. Many institutional “success” strategies are initiated essentially from a deficit positioning, to respond to barriers of participation, and ensure academic progression and student completion.