Māori and the Out of School Services Sector

1. Executive Summary

Māori are dependent on out of school services and care for their children if they work or want to work, train/study, obtain respite or simply want their children to mix and socialise with other children and adults. When Māori seek these services, they are not looking for babysitting services but seek an environment that will not only care for their children but support their enrichment and development.

Māori want to expand their choices of out of school services. The research indicates that these choices are grounded in a common set of priorities which are critical to their decisions and the out of school arrangements they make. Māori want:

  • Service providers that provide a safe environment for their children (a nonnegotiable priority)
  • Services that are affordable so that parents and caregivers can send their children to an out of school service and not struggle to meet fees
  • Quality programmes that are available and accessible no matter where the whānau lives and works
  • Quality programmes which include Māori content to the level wanted by parents and caregivers
  • Service providers that keep pace with the changing work environment and the flexible nature of the workforce
  • Service providers who can confidently deliver Māori content in their programmes.

The research highlights that the out of school services sector works well for Māori when their priorities are met. They have choices. They have access to a range of service providers with programmes that have the appropriate level of Māori content for them, that such services are available when and where they want and where fees are affordable, whether subsidised or not.

The out of school services sector works less well for Māori who have less choice and where there are obstacles which get in the way of them fully realising their priorities. For example, they may live in a rural area and may not have any services to access; or out of school services may not be available at the time that parents and caregivers need these services; or programmes may not contain the level of Māori content they want for their children.

Some Māori do not to access out of school services at all. A few examples in the research, while services are available, Māori chose not to access these because service providers and their programmes do not meet their priorities. Or access is not possible because out of school services are not available at all in their locations, or accessible when and where they need them.

Over 90 participants have contributed to this research through interviews and focus groups. The voices of Māori are strong throughout. These voices have come from parents, caregivers, whānau and service providers who have informed this research to find out what is important to Māori when considering out of school services and care for their children. It has also helped to gain an understanding of those services provided to Māori and to gauge the extent to which their needs and priorities are being met.

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