Log in

Summary of reflections May (and November) 2012

Milestone 5/6, 2012

In 2011 we published our cluster reflective summary as an ongoing 'story'. After discussion with the National Facilitator, we have agreed to follow the same format in 2012.  The content at the moment reflects our cluster activity to May, 2012. Later in the year we will indicate where updates have been added.

Year level:

Year 3 of 2010-2012 cluster

Cluster type:

Regional Cluster


The Manaiakalani Programme is the education plan for a multi-agency long term government project to renew the larger area of Tamaki in Auckland. The Tamaki Transformation Project is looking for innovative approaches from all sectors to renewing New Zealand's oldest state housing community. This includes housing, health, social services, police etc.

It has grown far more rapidly than we envisaged at the time of writing the contract document.

This article explains this evolution through the eyes of the Chair of the Mananaiakalani Education Trust, Pat Snedden.

Research model used:

The first stage of research, 2008 - 2010 lent itself to a longitudinal study of trends over the three year period using a mixed mode of inquiry (qualitative and quantitative) methods. The methodology used was field research or ethnography using “participant observation research”. From 2011 as we entered the second stage we used a developmental evaluation model.  Colleen Gleeson continued as the primary evaluator, supervised by Prof Stuart McNaughton  Auckland University. This Evaluation was published here early in 2012.

A synopsis of the research findings for 2011, written with an audience of non-New Zealanders in mind, has been published by Hapara and is stimulating conversation for other countries.

Reflection by Trust Chair and Project Director

May 2012

At the time of writing this reflection, Manaiakalani is an education programme that is achieving significant improvement in student achievement outcomes for 9 Decile 1A schools in Tamaki, Auckland's oldest State Housing community. 95% of our students are Maori and Pasifika.
Our research to date shows that this improvement is supported by:

  • an effective blended learning pedagogy that is materially changing the schooling experience of students from Y1 - Y13
  • affordability of 1:1 digital devices for all students from Y5 - Y13
  • provision of fast broadband to all students to enable any time, any place, any pace learning

The Manaiakalani Programme began life as an ICT PD Cluster funded solely by the Ministry of Education and the Cluster Schools. Additional funding approved by the Minister of Education enabled us to fund the employment of a second professional development facilitator and to pay for research supervised by Professor Stuart McNaughton from the University of Auckland. An expectation of this support was that Manaiakalani would report progress to the Minister of Education as well as submitting normal milestones to the Ministry of Education.

We are pleased to report that, as requested by the Minister of Education at the time the extra funding was granted, the Manaiakalani Programme has expanded from 7 schools in the Tamaki area, to 9 schools, having this year added Glen Innes School and St Patrick's School. This expansion has been achieved one year earlier than mooted thanks to the provision of resource from Manaiakalani Education Trust.

Manaiakalani Education Trust was set up in January 2011 because none of the State Agencies we were working with as part of the Tamaki Transformation Programme were permitted under current policy or legislation to carry out the activities we needed in order to provision our students with the tools of digital citizenship. We needed an organisation or entity that could:

  • own a community wide wireless learning network
  • hold the liability for student/whanau netbook leases
  • supply back-end financial systems
  • supply end to end technical support
  • supply whanau/aiga training and capacity building
  • provide professional development and research above that being paid for by Vote Education

With the exception of the completion of our wireless Tamaki Learning Network (currently 25% built), all these systems and processes are set up and working.

Results to Date

The Manaiakalani Programme includes 2500 students from Y1 - Y13 in 9 schools.
The Programme now has 1500 students each with their own netbook.
The Manaiakalani Programme and Pedagogy includes all students from Y1 - Y13, however the 1:1 netbook programme begins at Y5 and includes all students from Y5 - Y13.

Since the Programme’s instigation in 2007, it has resulted in a significant increase in literacy and numeracy performance, as well as a significant lift in on-task behaviour in the classroom. Results to date in the pilot period include:

  • Students acquiring (from a much lower starting point) the education basics at an average rate of 1.5 educational years per calendar year, sustained over 5 years, compared with a New Zealand Mean rate of 1 education year per 1 calendar year. In effect, students are learning at 1.5 times the normal rate
  • Significantly shrinking the tail of underachievement evidenced by results from national standardised testing in reading and writing.
  • Increased attendance levels, greatly reduced truancy rates and a sharp improvement in on task behaviour as students are much more engaged. 


This heightened engagement directly improves educational results. Teachers raise their students’ capability in reading, writing, thinking, listening and speaking. This supports students in publishing their digital work locally, nationally and internationally using Web 2 technologies.

Just one example of improved student achievement outcomes is in the table below.
Our target area for development in 2011 was student Writing, which is a domain of concern nationally as well as being a significant barrier to success in decile 1 communities. It should be noted that our cluster results over time show equally significant improvement in Reading & Mathematics.
These results cannot be attributed to one single cause. They are an effect of the application of the whole of the Manaiakalani Programme.


Replication methodology

The Manaiakalani approach to harnessing innovation and partnerships has enabled the development of a replicable set of solutions that we believe could benefit all of New Zealand, especially in financially challenged communities. Clearly the first priority of the MET is to establish and stabilise all the systems and processes and successfully consolidate the Programme throughout the entire Tamaki community. We aim to achieve that by school year 2013.
We believe we can codify this success to allow it to be reproduced in school districts struggling with outcome improvement in low decile communities elsewhere in New Zealand.

The success of this programme has come in large measure from the ability to coalesce a new kind of partnership around the aspirations for success of our children. This partnership includes government departments, community, whanau, schools, commerce, volunteers, philanthropists and local government.

Entities currently involved in this discussion supporting MET include:

  • ASB Community Trust
  • Telecom Foundation
  • Te Puni Kokiri
  • Universities & Academic Providers
  • Commercial groups

We are sure the financial resourcing of the Programme is replicable. Of the commitment to date of more than $4m in pro bono and direct funding for the four year life of the project, a third or more of the cash commitment has come from parents. This has been achieved in an area where the average adult income is $19,000 per annum. We can demonstrate that parent engagement, when handled well, creates a wellspring of financial investment in their children, in even the most financially challenged communities.

Our institutional and philanthropic supporters buy-in to the vision and intent of the Programme in Tamaki. They too want improved student achievement outcomes. Their support could be available to other like communities in New Zealand.

Pre-requisites for success
The Manaiakalani experience has taught us that this process cannot be forced:

  • Parents and school leadership must want it for their schools
  • Teachers must want to change for the improvement to be possible
  • These changed teaching methods accelerate learning only if the pedagogy has first been changed
  • The parent community must invest no matter how poor the community to ensure there is whanau/aiga buy-in to the children’s progress.

New groups that begin this work will be able to use efficient replicable and well tested methods and structures that emerge from the educational research of Annan, McNaughton, Bishop & others. Success in replication will require implementation integrity in principle around the domains of:

  • Content Knowledge
  • Pedagogy
  • Community Engagement & Co-constructive design
  • School Culture & Relationships
  • Evaluative Capacity
  • Technical baselines
  • Operational baselines

Cost of replication
Whilst the Manaiakalani Cluster commenced in 2007, the MET programme implementation effectively commenced in October 2010 with the decision to supply the first group of netbooks to children for school year 2011. We have thus captured all the costs from October 2010 that pre-dated the start up of the Manaiakalani Education Trust that began trading in April 2011. For additional rigour our costings include a value on pro-bono work done on our behalf and include instances where external supporters have provided cash support for necessary infrastructure that did not go through the Trust’s own accounts.

On this basis the initial start-up costs over a 15-month period for the first 750 Tamaki children were:


Funding to date only covered provision of 25% of the wireless infrastructure.
A feature of the total funding received is the impact of parent investment in their children’s learning. It is typically assumed that low decile families are unable to pay the price of the required digital support for their children. This experience suggests this is not the case.

This model demonstrates that the engagement between school and home can be one of interdependence, not state dependence. This model will fail if the support from the home fails financially or the attitude of the home to school is indifferent or hostile. It will also fail if the school does not address the pedagogical underpinning of a new approach to teaching and learning. The parent investment in computer netbooks of itself does not drive the improvement. The pedagogy must first be right and then the netbook technology becomes the accelerant to the improvement process.

The cost of this new pedagogy and improved access to technology is shown in the annual forecast for the 2012 school year below with parents contributing 34% of the total outlay:


This operating cost can now be represented as a cost per student:


Prior to the 2012 school year we were still in start-up phase. From the 2012 school year onwards the annual operating cost of the programme inclusive of research and professional teacher development, parent support, technical support and administration approximates $529 per student per year exclusive of GST.

The major capex cost still to come is one-off, being the wireless network. The major operating cost still unknown is the cost of data when children have access to wireless outside of school. Parents currently pay for the netbooks and it is likely they may have to pay a data cost in the future.

Once the full compliment of students are involved (1750 Y5-Y13 out of 2500 Y1-Y13) we expect the current operational costs will reduce to around $500 per student per year. On top of this will be the wireless network charge and the cost of data usage.

Our approach has been to source all the necessary revenue through innovative partnerships that include parents and schools, the Ministry of Education, government departments, commercial supporters and philanthropists. Without doubt this step change is eminently affordable if all parties work as partners around the programme.

Conclusions and next steps

MET with the help of its partners will seek by end of school year 2013 to:

  • consolidate and ensure sustainability of the Manaiakalani Programme in Tamaki.
  • ensure robust research and evaluation findings so that we are able to demonstrate with confidence the ability to bring about a step change in outcomes for our lowest decile Maori & Pasifika children
  • ensure that high quality professional development is absolutely aligned with research and evaluation findings
  • identify clearly the essential components of change so that effective implementation integrity is assured when solutions are taken to other contexts
  • support and encourage communities in New Zealand that want these kinds of solutions and help them generate the capacity to implement them.

Pat Snedden Executive Chair Manaiakalani Education Trust
Russell Burt, Principal Pt England School, Director Manaiakalani ICTPD Cluster

November 2012 Update:

The Manaiakalani Education Trust, in partnership with the Manaiakalani cluster of schools and the parents of the Manaiakalani community, has successfully delivered netbooks to over 2000 students in our community from years five to thirteen. This has been the culmination of much hard work, community collaboration, creative solution finding, and exceedingly kind hearts from around the country. We are also working towards a completely sustainable free community wireless network that will encompass the entire Tamaki cluster, and are well on the way to making this goal a reality.

This project began with a cluster of 7 schools in the Tamaki community and by mid 2013 we will have 11 schools, with over 2,500 students participating in our drive to ensure digital citizenship for the people of our community. Among the schools involved we are already seeing fantastic results. Student engagement has improved dramatically while reading, writing, numeracy and oral expression have been improving steadily, in line with programme expectations. And above all, parent investment has been incredible. Despite an average yearly income of $19,000 per annum, parents are investing in their children’s futures with 83%-87% of weekly payments ($3.50) for student netbooks being made on time, and breakage, loss and theft very low.

Our Whanau Engagement Programme currently teaches around 300 parents how to use the netbooks at home and support their children’s learning and we hope to grow this programme even more in the coming year. Our parents play an important role in Manaiakalani and their significance in making this all possible cannot be overstated. Their $3.50 per week investment in their children’s futures cumulatively amounts to 30% of the money committed to this project, making the parents of Tamaki community the single biggest contributor to the Manaiakalani Education Trust.

This is a sensational achievement, not only in a low-decile community like ours, but for any community around New Zealand and the world. We aim to create a replicable blueprint for community engagement in student learning, and digital citizenship as a means to furthering educational achievement.

Because of this, our story is being talked about. Here are a selection of media stories and student-made films to give you an idea of what is going on in our community:

Google published a post about Manaiakalani on their own Blog!

Education Review Article

Tagata Pasifika

RadioLive interview

Tamaki College goes 1:1

Computer Clubhouse

Students talk about their learning

Teachers talk about their teaching  

Our progress over the last year has been incredibly gratifying. Seeing the vision unfold after much planning and dreaming has been a joy for all involved and we are excited at the prospect of continuing to grow and build on what we have achieved.

In the last year we have, with a commercial sponsor, raised the funds and finalised the construction of the infrastructure for the Tamaki Learning Network (TLN), which will provide free wireless internet to the entire Tamaki area- the first project of its kind in New Zealand. Commencing in 2013, all Manaiakalani cluster students with netbooks will have exclusive access to the TLN, allowing educational engagement to transcend the classroom and enter into the homes, parks, and public spaces around our community.

We are also developing an Innovation Hub in our community. We have just received funding to allow ten Manaiakalani cluster teachers release days which they will use to push boundaries on blended eLearning innovation both collectively and with personal programmes developed for their schools, ensuring Manaiakalani continues to be at the forefront of innovative elearning solutions in this country and around the world.

We are extremely interested in obtaining measurable, concrete data on our programme and the effect it is having on learning achievement outcomes in our community, not only so we can say, “This is what we are doing, and why we know works,” but also so that we can codify and share our results with others, inspiring other programmes like ours. Because of this, we have partnered with the Woolf Fisher Research Centre (WFRC) at Auckland University to monitor our progress under the direction of Professor Stuart McNaughton. This has led to our Learning and Change project, involving nationally recognised academics, Kura Kaupapa a Iwi, and over 40 decile 1-3 communities around the country, to spread the blended eLearning pedagogy we have pioneered in the Tamaki community. We publish all of this on our site, www.manaiakalani.org, and are open about all aspects of this programme.



Growing the mindware as we transform Tamaki: living local, learning global.