Māori and the Out of School Services Sector

8. Getting the Best & Providing the Best

8.1 Overview

The previous section canvasses the out of school services sector for Māori. It concludes that this sector is diverse and complex. It results from multiplicity of the circumstances of parents and caregivers, the different roles of whānau carers and the mix of service providers and their programmes.

With this as a backdrop, this section explores how the out of school service sector works for Māori. It focuses firstly on parents and caregivers and what they say are their needs and priorities. And from this, it looks at the responses of service providers and whānau carers to these.

8.2 Māori Needs and Priorities

To gain an overall picture of the out of school services they want, parents and caregivers were asked to describe the out of school service that would work best for them and their children. Typically the responses indicate that they want a safe environment, high standards and quality programmes with a full menu of choice that enables them to the select the best possible service or care. They are not looking for babysitting services but an environment that will not only look after their children but support their enrichment and development.

The responses also highlight that these parents and caregivers are also looking for something more. Those interviewed want their children to experience out of school care that acknowledges them as Māori. What this experience is and looks like differs from whānau to whānau. For some, it is a tikanga-based programme as a preferred choice, or one where there is substantive Māori content or a programme that contains basic te reo Māori or tikanga Māori.

8.3 Specific Needs and Priorities

Parents and caregivers were asked to identify their specific needs and priorities for out of school services for their children (including school holiday programmes) and how they would rank them in order of priority of:

  • Extremely important and a critical priority for parents and caregivers
  • Very important, but one of a number of other priorities
  • Important but not a priority factor.

Service providers and whānau carers were asked what they considered to be the needs and priorities of their parents and caregivers and to what extent these have been accommodated these in their services.

Parents and caregivers stated four critical needs and priorities for out of school services for Māori (including school holiday programmes). They want:

  1. A safe environment
  2. Affordability of out of school care and services and school holiday programmes
  3. Access and availability of out of school services of their choice and at the times needed by parents and caregivers
  4. Quality and content of services which fulfill the needs of parents and caregivers and their children.

A safe environment was identified by all parents and caregivers as the most critical priority taking precedence over the others.

Affordability, access and availability, and quality and content of services were also prioritised as critical, with the order of ranking shifting in accordance with the circumstances of the parent and caregivers.

Service providers also identified the same priorities that, from their experiences, are critical for parents and caregivers for out of school services.

8.4 Safe Environment

Without exception, the research shows that all participants (parents, caregivers, service providers, whānau) say that a safe environment is the primary consideration for out of school services. This is regardless of whether children are cared for by a service provider or whānau. A safe environment cannot be compromised and is not negotiable.

Making sure the environment that my son was going to be in after school was going to be a safe environment where I didn’t have to worry about him. I knew that he was being cared for like I would care for him or how I would care for other children.

Parent, Rotorua

The main thing is the peace of mind, I know where they are and I can carry on with my mahi. I have no concerns for them while they are at after school.

Parent, Kawerau

Parents have a wide range of views about what is a safe environment for their children and what they expect to see reflected in the services or care they get. The research indicates that for them, a safe environment extends beyond safe procedures (although this is extremely important) to what has been described as holistic pastoral care which includes an integrated package of priorities that cater for children’s safety overall. As well as safe physical settings (buildings and facilities), this package comprises safe staff and carers, safety standards and procedures and having a whānau environment.

8.4.1 Safe staff, safe carers Trust and confidence

Parents and caregivers say that a safe environment is one where, first and foremost, they have to have trust and confidence in those caring for their children. This comes from knowing the service providers and their staff personally or hearing about them from others who are satisfied with their services. Parents and caregivers will also visit the service provider to observe while a session is in progress to get ‘a feel and a gut reaction’ to staff and their interaction with children.

Some parents and caregivers also access information from the internet. And in a few cases, also check out collaborative partners of the service provider to find out about their safety practices and procedures.

Trust and confidence is the primary reason that parents and caregivers choose whānau carers for their children. They know who they are; they know that the children will be safe and that they will be looked after in the same way that they are at home.

They are cared for by whānau because that’s who I trust with my kids. They know them and love them and they know how they are brought up at home and carry this on after school.

Parent, Hastings

Service providers acknowledge the importance of gaining the trust and confidence of parents and caregivers and their children. They say that once this is established with the children in particular, they (the children) feel far more comfortable and happier about engaging and talking with other children and staff and participating in the programmes.

I guess it’s about good rapport with the parents, they need to know you, they need to trust you. If they’re going to, you know they’re not going to have to worry about their kids. And I think that’s really important, it’s how you come across to the kids and to the parents. I guess especially to the kids because they’re the ones who go home and talk.

Service Provider, Lower Hutt Staff experience and qualifications

Many parents and caregivers said that they are not aware of their service providers or their staff being professionally qualified. They look primarily for service providers, staff and whānau carers who have empathy and who are experienced with children, will keep them safe and who are alive to those issues that may arise on a daily basis.

My view is that if they’re passionate and they love kids and they want to be around and work with children, it doesn’t matter to me whether or not they have a degree. If I see that they can treat my child the same way they would treat their own children, with love, with respect and encouragement, then a degree doesn’t mean much to me.

Parent, Hastings I would expect that there is at least a supervisor there who is professionally trained, etc, but like I said, qualifications don’t mean a lot if they can’t gel with the child, if they can’t get along with the child, if the child doesn’t like them, they can have all the qualifications in the world...

Parent, Wanganui

Some parents and caregivers did express a preference for experience, trust and confidence as well as professional qualifications. They noted that if they had to choose between these, they would focus on experience, trust and confidence.

Professional qualifications are a particular priority for parents and caregivers who have children with special needs or children at risk.

To me safety means that the staff are suitably qualified and can pay particular attention to my child’s needs. I prefer them to be trained in behavioural management and that they have relevant first aid certificates in place, you know, that the environment is safe and comfortable for them to be in and that they’re well supervised. So that’s what I mean by safety.

Parent, Whangarei

Service providers have staff to run the programmes who may also be helped by volunteers who are over the age of 16 years. They primarily look for staff who have experience with children and who can and do foster trust and confidence with both parents and caregivers and children. Some specifically want staff who are trained in dealing with whānau and children at risk or are able to access this expertise from other parts of their organisation (if their organisation provides these services).

Service providers also indicate that it is often difficult to attract and keep people with both experience and qualifications for a few hours a day. The pay is not an attraction. Those who run school holiday programmes mentioned that it is easier to get staff over the holiday periods. Often, they have teachers on staff at this time which adds to the mix of experience and qualifications for these programmes.

Once staff are working, service providers generally put them through the basic training, such as first aid, and then look at other training needs as they progress. Some service providers make a considerable investment in staff training. Others find it difficult to fund staff training and/or release them from their programme to undergo training.

We make sure that their [staff] first aid certificates are up to date and we also do a lot of in house training as well and that’s based on practical things. Like a behavioural scenario or like when a parent forgot to include the child’s medication that particular day. Or it could be on how to handle disruptive parents of all things, because every now and then you do get some interesting characters.

Service Provider Christchurch Safety standards and procedures

Parents and caregivers indicate that they expect the service providers to have safety standards and procedures in place which can accommodate all likely safety events that may occur. They inquire about the staff: child ratio - the lower the ratio gives an indication of a higher level of supervision for each child and the programme as a whole.

Where parents and caregivers know about OSCAR safety standards they express a preference for their children to attend an OSCAR-approved service provider. They say that they know that these service providers have gone through an extensive process to become approved including safety checks. Many rely on this information generally without further enquiry.

The view was expressed that all service providers should have set safety standards for out of school services:

I feel that there should be a set standard for all out of school programmes, no matter where they are in New Zealand and everybody should have to achieve them, purely for the safety of those children because how do you know what’s going on in that programme. One thing about OSCAR is that once you become part of the ownership, is that they then have a field officer that’s appointed to you, but if you don’t apply for funding you’re not actually reviewed. So there has to be some system put in place for those who don’t apply for funding but still need to be reviewed on a regular basis to make sure that we are not slipping backwards we are always staying there or moving on.

Service Provider, Rotorua

In terms of safety, generally parents and caregivers say they are satisfied with the standards of their service providers and whānau carers. Some parents provided a few examples where they considered there had been some ‘minor slip-ups’ but these had been worked through with the service providers resulting in changes to their safety procedures.

Service providers agree that sound safety standards and procedures are essential. There are a range of safety frameworks in place which differ according to whether a service provider is OSCAR-approved or non-OSCAR funded.

OSCAR-approved service providers have a package of safety policies and procedures. They consider that this is their strength, that as OSCAR service providers, they are ‘certified’ as being safe. The safety standards are consistent across all approved service providers so parents and caregivers will know that being OSCAR means a safe environment no matter where that service is being provided in New Zealand.

And so the whole process was enlightening to say the least but it also helped us to understand that without the policies and processes in place, there was really no safety net... it was for the safety of not only the children but of us as a business, and it was our accountability to the government and to any funding ministries that we would get funding from...

Service Provider, Gisborne

As noted earlier in the report, parents and caregivers who know about OSCAR and its safety standards state that this is a significant reason for them to access out of school services from these service providers.

Non-funded OSCAR service providers develop their own mix of safety standards and procedures to support their safe environment. The research illustrates that they:

  • Start from scratch to reflect and cater for the specific services they provide, for example, use safety standards which are based on Māori values and are tikanga-based
  • Use the OSCAR standards as a basis for developing their own or adopt them and apply them to their out of school services
  • Use safety standards and procedures of their other programmes (other than out of school services) they are contracted to deliver by government agencies. Whānau environment

The research shows that parents and caregivers consider that a whānau environment is an important aspect of a safe environment. They describe whānau environment as one where staff and children are safe and interact and behave toward each other like a whānau.

...we want them to be treated well and we want them to feel comfortable while they’re there, like they are in a whānau, home environment.

Parent, Wanganui

This environment was also described as having tikanga Māori as a key component of out of school services. One parent from Gisborne considered that the “ultimate provider” for an out of school service would be one which involved kaiako nannies who could provide an environment where tikanga is learned not taught and where Māori children can be Māori.

Service providers, both mainstream and Māori, indicate that they do encourage a whānau environment as the basis for their out of school services because it brings respect, support and care into their programmes.

Some foster this environment by ensuring that the whānau of all the children in their programme are actively involved wherever possible. So the programme is seen in some ways as an extension of the care that whānau provide.

We come from a Māori perspective, all our school holiday programmes do not just involve the supervisor or the instructor or whoever is running the programme. Involving the whānau unit is a major, major criteria of all our programmes and is the major part of the success of our programmes.

Service Provider, North Auckland

Other providers also encourage tuakana/ teina support to foster leadership of the older children in the programme..

...it’s about practicing whanaungatanga. We encourage tuakana/teina support between the older and younger children. It’s about respecting tikanga that children bring from their homes and continuing the practices here so that it is a natural part of the programme we provide.

Service Provider, Christchurch

Tuakana/teina support was highlighted as an important part of the whānau environment. While the research focuses on the age range five to 13 years, some service providers have older children accessing their services or they invite them back to help with the programmes. These service providers (both Māori and mainstream) have rangatahi leaders as role models for the younger children and see this as an important aspect of the care and contribution to the whānau environment.

This was also described as giving something back to the community

...so there’s the taha wairua, there’s the contribution back into their community. So there’s a component of voluntarism and more contribution because when we say we’re gonna have a clean up, they really are volunteering, they’re following the lead, but in the sense that they are contributing back to their community. Then there are the leadership scales that go within a holiday programme so any of the young people who are like that age group of your 15 to 17 or 14 to 17 year olds are in the holiday programme as leaders. So there’s the thought of producing leadership throughout our holiday programme and giving young people the skills to maintain a tuakana/teina effect.
Service Provider, Hastings

8.5 Affordability

8.5.1 Affordability and choice

The research indicates that there are some parents and caregivers who can afford the fees charged by out of school services. They can also pay any related cost such as transport for their children to access these services. They have choices in selecting out of school services which they consider best meet their needs and priorities.

While affordability is not an issue for these parents and caregivers, they may still face issues relating to access and availability and the quality of services available (discussed later in the report).

My decisions are based on suitability for my boys and not on cost; it’s not a priority factor.

Parent, Auckland

No, for us we’re very limited in our selection so safety is the first consideration. We want our children to be supervised with homework, and that there is a whānau component to the out of school care and that the children are generally happy being there. Those are the main considerations. Cost is a factor but not the main factor.

Parent, Whangarei

Where children access OSCAR-approved service providers, if they meet the criteria, parents and caregivers are able to apply for Work and Income subsidies. Those that meet the requirements say that the subsidies do make a difference. For some, it can mean the difference between their child attending an out of school service or not.

Māori want more information about out of school services, for both OSCAR-approved and non-OSCAR funded service providers. They want to know what services are available in their areas, what programmes are offered and what costs are involved in accessing these services. They want to be able to compare and assess the services that are offered so that they can make informed decisions about out of school services for their children.

Not all parents and caregivers said that they knew about OSCAR and Work and Income subsidies when choosing out of school services. If they are first time seekers of out of school care, generally their first inquiry is to find out about safety and staff. These parents and caregivers said that accessing subsidies may have made a difference to their choice.

For those parents and caregivers that do know about OSCAR, they are more likely to look for an OSCAR-approved service provider.

Similarly parents with special needs children who know about OSCAR, understand that their children can attend an OSCAR-approved service provider free of charge up to the age of 18. Siblings are also able to attend free. Some parents and caregivers noted that they had to search hard to find this information:

Yeah, I just found out too. Not even Work and Income knew that. I read it online and Work and Income, even the 0800 number didn’t know, so, you know I rang them and they went and found out through the right channels, but it’s not something that is common knowledge.

There is a lot of help, but it’s not widely known, you have to dig deep, you have to talk to a lot of people who have worked with other children, or other parents of children with special needs to find out what there is.

Parent, Kawerau

8.5.2 Affordability is a challenge

The research highlights that there are also many parents and caregivers who struggle to pay fees for out of school services. They say that they struggle because:

  • They do not qualify for Work and Income subsidies because their income level is above the threshold so they pay full fees
  • They attend out of school services run by a non-OSCAR funded service provider where fees are not subsidised by government, so they pay full fees
  • They have more than one child attending out of school services which increases their fees.

A recurring comment from at least 15% of the parents and caregivers interviewed is that they also have difficulty in affording the fees, even with Work and Income subsidies. Their income levels are too low to be able to pay the reduced fees especially as a parent in Northland said that with the ‘cost of petrol and food, we have to watch every dollar we spend’. This message came from parents and caregivers in many areas - Hastings, Wairarapa, Wanganui, Northland, Kawerau, Gisborne, South Auckland, West Auckland and in some parts of Wellington.

In one situation, affordability has also has created significant debt for a parent who has accessed a non-OSCAR funded service provider:

I’ve got a $400 debt with the provider for after school care – they aren’t OSCAR – I didn’t know you could get subsidies. I asked if I could pay that off and I was told that I had to pay down $150 before I could start paying it off and so she wasn’t allowed to go until that was done. I just pulled her out. I’m a low income earner.

Parent, Anonymous

Not being able to afford the cost of out of school services gives rise to significant consequences for these whānau. If they continue to work, they need to find other care alternatives. The research indicates that if whānau support is not available, alternatives can mean that children go to parent(s) work, they are looked after by older children or they go with friends. In a few situations, children go home alone and are unsupervised until the parents and caregivers get home from work.

These alternatives have been raised in this research as a concern not only in regard to cost but also in respect to the accessibility and availability of services. Parents and caregivers generally take these steps as a last resort when they are unable to pay fees or access out of school services and care:

...because she’s not supposed to be home alone, I know I shouldn’t leave her home alone I send her off to the library. That’s what I have been doing because I can’t afford to send my daughter to a programme.

Parent, Anonymous

8.5.3 Affordability and whānau care

Whānau carers make it possible for parents and caregivers to work. Generally they do not get paid although they may get a koha from the whānau from time to time. Some parents and caregivers said that they try and give them regular payments when they can.

A consistent comment made by research participants is the need for whānau carers to be financially recognised for their significant contribution to the out of school services sector. As one example (of many) a parent says:

...the last two years I would have to get my parents who are in their late 60’s to come over at quarter to 6 (in the morning) so that I could leave and get to work on time. And then there’s no funding available for them, because they won’t fund family members to look after your children so it was just a big drain on me. I was in a ridiculous job that only paid $13 an hour but I gave half of that to my parents just to pay for the petrol and for the three hours that they were there including taking my kids to school. So really I was working the week for $7.50 an hour.

Parent, Wanganui

8.5.4 Affordability and school holiday programmes

A consistent theme arising from the research is the cost of school holiday programmes. Some parents and caregivers said that the fees for school holiday programmes in some places are too high and that they cannot afford to send their children to these. The costs increase for them if they have more than one child. In these circumstances, parents and caregivers:

  • Organise themselves to share care of their children over the holiday periods
  • For two parent whānau, each parent may take annual leave over this time
  • Single parents have less flexibility. Annual leave is quickly used up. Share care arrangements may occur with other parents
  • Arrange whānau care or the children may go to stay with grandparents or other whānau members
  • Arrangements are made with neighbours and older siblings.

8.5.5 Affordability and service providers Fees

Service providers indicate that wherever possible they try and keep their fees to a minimum. They recognise that cost is a barrier for some parents and can make the difference as to whether their child attends out of school services or not. More than one child compounds the affordability for parents and caregivers in this situation.

Most service providers (both Māori and mainstream) said that they had become OSCAR-approved so that their parents and caregivers can apply for Work and Income subsidies and thereby reduce their fees.

We weren’t receiving MSD funding because we weren’t approved, the wages of the person was being paid by the local church and it just wasn’t feasible really, so we became OSCAR approved…and that enabled us to pay wages and rent... So it’s a lot cheaper for the parents and they appreciate that.

Service Provider, Christchurch

Service providers recognise the difficulty that some parents and caregivers have in paying their fees. Most of these were able to give examples where they had or knew of parents and caregivers who were having difficulty affording fees including subsidised fees.

A common response from the majority of service providers (both OSCAR-approved and non-OSCAR funded) in this research is that when they know that parents and caregivers are struggling with fees, they will often admit the child to the programme and then look for ways to fund this decision. Fees may be reduced or reduced further or waived altogether. It may be that the parents and caregivers give a koha when they can or they volunteer their time or provide/contribute kai to the programme.

We have families who we know need the service but for whatever reason they don’t meet the criteria (Work and Income). One example is a whānau with seven children. Mum obviously stays at home to look after these children while dad goes to work so they don’t meet the criteria. I said it to her, just bring him along, just bring your baby, it’s alright, we’ll find a way. In the past two years we’ve always run at a loss. I need as a manager to factor that in a lot more in our programmes, and it’s that Māori thing.

Service Provider, Kawerau

In Hastings, one service provider has a good working relationship with local businesses that sponsor children into the programme. In Christchurch and Kawerau, the service providers offer scholarships or part scholarships to assist with the fees.

We review on a case by case basis, I’ll put it in front of the board and say look this is what they can afford per week, how do you feel about that? And nine times out of ten what will actually happen is we will come up with a fee structure that is specific to that individual whānau so that they are getting quality care and they’re also being able to afford it as well, so there is nothing, there is no way that we are going to turn away a whānau because they don’t have as much money as they need, for example like $50 a week.

Service Provider, Christchurch Service providers, funding and resources

Often the decision to reduce fees has a broader impact on the operation and viability of the businesses of the service providers. They spend considerable effort in accessing funds to supplement or top-up their financial resources to cover the fees and other aspects of the programme. Some OSCAR-approved service providers say that the OSCAR Assistance Grant is insufficient to provide meaningful funding assistance:

...and then on top of that you’ve got to charge your fees which we may reduce in some cases, we’re forever going through pub charities, McCarthy, Mana Trust, different things like that...

Service Provider, Lower Hutt

Service providers who have programmes in what they describe as decile 1 and 2 areas say they have funding issues. These areas have proportionately a larger number of parents and caregivers who are on benefits or unemployed. Programme funding may have to cover more children than intended.

...we just have to work with what we have, that is what a marae does. We have a lot of parents and caregivers who can’t get a subsidy. We are a low decile area so if we cannot provide for them who can? Where can they go to get care for their tamariki? So we just ask them for koha and this could come in a donation, food or coming and helping with the programme such as being here early in the morning to look after the early arrivals at our before school service.

Service Provider, West Auckland

Continuity of funding is also a problem for non-OSACR funded service providers. They say they have to work hard to secure funding to ensure their programmes can be delivered on an ongoing basis. Some of these service providers obtain their funding through contracts with government agencies to deliver specific services which they can sometimes align with their out of school services programmes. Most rely on fees and fundraising efforts to sustain their programmes.

In a few cases communities have been disappointed because programmes have stopped because of lack of funding.

...it’s pretty much getting our systems in place, getting the relationships with the whole community and getting that consistency from the funding end, so there can be a guarantee that it’s going to be ongoing...

And in our community these kids rely on us. It’s like taking away something from them, it’s not, cause we don’t have anything, so what little we provide, they really love it and they appreciate everything and so it’s kind of for us when that’s taken away from them, that upsets the whānau and those kids because they rely on that for their positive outlet... otherwise they just roam the streets and they’re lost again.

Service Provider, Central North Island

Affordability of resources such as venues, transport can also have an impact on the overall service that is provided to Māori. Often service provider budgets do not stretch to meeting these resource needs. Many service providers consider that having their own transport is a basic necessity so that their service can be more accessible especially to children in rural or outlying areas where they can collect them from schools and take them home. Having their own vans also presents opportunities, particularly in school holiday programmes, to provide a wider range of experiences for the children.

We have an old van at the moment, we need a second one but we can’t afford to get one and the funding doesn’t fund it. As far as I know there’s no funding places that will fund vehicles now.

Service Provider, Christchurch

A challenge for us is resourcing. I’m not talking about money challenges; it’s really around like buildings and facilities you know... often the challenge for us is you’ve got to pay big money to use some of the recreation grounds and I think that there needs to be some sort of subsidy to groups like us. We look for outings that aren’t going to cost us at all or too much...

Service Provider, South Auckland Affordability for all parents and caregivers

Research participants consider that the focus of the Work and Income subsidies should be on access and needs of the child rather than the financial circumstances of the parent(s). They consider that there is a gap with the subsides and suggest that they should be open to all parents who stay at home and look after their children, who receive the Domestic Purposes Benefit and who exceed the Work and Income income threshold for subsidies.

They also consider that non-OSCAR funded service providers and whānau carers should receive funding or be subsidised to the same extent as OSCAR-approved service providers.

8.6. Access and Availability

Māori want access to out of school services and care. There are many examples where parents and caregivers have expressed satisfaction with the out of school service they use.

I really like Barnardos, down to the one male care giver who does really neat things with my son. And I didn’t think it was going to be like that to be honest with you, because it’s quite a Pakeha environment… I’m always saying to them, you guys are doing a great job because I think that you know when I go in there and they’ve got strategies displayed….. I think, yeah, that’s great. You know and I see them managing conflict really well amongst kids there. I think they’re awesome.

Parent, Gisborne

Parents and caregivers talked about access and availability in terms of their experiences and in doing so identified gaps that they consider need attention. There are those who cannot access an out of school service because:

  • Out of school services do not operate in all areas or there are only a limited number of services available within these areas. This occurs in many rural areas (for example, Wairoa, Northland and Gisborne) as well as in urban areas such as Auckland
  • Their service provider of choice may be too far away from where parents and caregivers live or work
  • Out of school services are not available at times consistent with parents and caregivers work such as shift work, seasonal work.

8.6.1 Distance and location

The research highlights that there are some areas that do not have out of school services at all or if they do, such services are not easily accessible because of distance and the investment of time and travel for children to attend these. The cost of travel also has an impact on accessibility in these situations.

There are more out of school services available to Māori in urban areas and cities than rural areas. There are examples however, where access to out of school services in these locations can be difficult. In this research, this difficulty arises with access to service providers of choice who may be located in another part of the city/town but some considerable distance from children’s schools.

Rural challenges to access

Typically, living in a rural area poses challenges to parents and caregivers who want to have their children attend out of school services. There are some rural areas such as Kawerau and Raetihi that do provide out of school services and have high proportion of Māori accessing their services. The service provider in Kawerau has now set-up a fourth site for out of school services in response to the increasing demand for services in this area.

Where out of school services do not exist or are not easily available, parents and caregivers have to consider how to access services or care for their children. In Wairoa, there is one out of school service provider for the area so that choice and access for many children is severely restricted.

In Gisborne, Rotorua and Kaitaia, there are a number of out of school services in town which rural whānau access. To get their children there, gives rise to extensive effort and organisation from parents and caregivers. For example, in Gisborne, the parents and caregivers work in town. They arrange for their children to catch the secondary school bus that goes into town to pick up secondary school students to bring them home. The children are collected by the service providers and they go home with their parents and caregivers at the end of the day.

In Kawerau, until recently, children were travelling by bus from Taneatua into an out of school service in Whakatane resulting in travel time up to an hour each day. Now that an out of school service has been set up in Taneatua, travel (and associated costs) for parents and children have been eliminated.

Urban challenges to access

As with rural areas, there are some access challenges for those that live in cities. Parents and caregivers know what out of school services they want for their children but have difficulty in accessing them either because they are not available in the area or because they require travel, transport and time to get their children to the service.

As an example, in Auckland a number of parents and caregivers want their children (age range six to 10) to attend an out of school service that offers a tikanga-based programme. While located in Auckland, this service provider is a considerable distance from the home and workplace of these whānau. To get there, requires the children to travel across the city (both there and back). Rather than face travel time, cost and anxiety, these whānau have chosen a service provider closer to their location with a programme that does not meet their requirements in terms of Māori content.

On the other hand, in Christchurch, some parents and caregivers have chosen to transport their children across town to and from their service provider of choice even though there are other service providers who are located closer to their school.

8.6.2 Flexible arrangements and flexible hours

Parents and caregivers want their out of school services to reflect the more flexible nature of today’s workforce.

An issue raised by parents and caregivers in Wanganui, Wairarapa, Whakatane, Wellington, Auckland and Hastings is their difficulty in accessing of school services early in the morning before local service providers open for the day. These parents and caregivers want service providers to have more flexible hours and preferably provide home-base services in the morning. Because services are not available when they need them, parents turn to grandparents (if available) to provide care during this time.

Shift work also impacts on choice. Often in small towns, both parents may work for the same company which operates 24 hours a day (such as a timber mill or meat works). They hope for different shifts so that one is available to collect children from the service provider. This becomes problematic when they work the same shifts. With lack of certainty, they either cannot place their children with a service provider or if they do, they cannot provide assurance that they can collect their children at the end of the day. In these situations, they often look to whānau care or other alternatives for out of school time.

...there are lots and lots of shift workers here in Wanganui and with different hours. I think they go 24 hours a day, so people will be on one shift, it might be the ordinary shift from 9am to 5pm for two weeks or a week and then they shift to 5pm to 12am and then from 12 am. Parents are always talking to me about how they’re hoping, that they’ve always got their fingers crossed that them and their partner won’t be on the same shift. Even if they’re on different shifts, it’s hard for them to get the kids looked after school...

Parent, Wanganui

Some parents have very limited work choices where they live. As an example, in Raetihi and Kawerau, for some parents and caregivers, seasonal work is the only work option they have. It has a significant impact on access to out of school services. This work is weather dependent. On any given day, parents and caregivers may not know whether or not they are working. They are often called upon to work at short-notice. The hours are not fixed which makes it very difficult for them to arrange their out of school care and provide certainty that they will be able to collect their children.

...the people here can’t specifically say they start from 9am and finish at 3pm, it could rain for two days and then the boss might say it’s clear, we’ll start at lunchtime and we’ll finish at 7pm or we’ve got to catch up, we’ll start at 8am and finish at 6pm, something like that...

Service Provider, Raetihi

There are many Māori who commute long distances to and from work. These parents and caregivers want service providers to accommodate their working arrangements at both ends of their days. They want a wrap around service so that their children are cared for early in the morning and after school beyond the regular closing times.

Parents and caregivers in this research commute to and from work from a number of places - to Wellington from Otaki, Waikanae and the Wairarapa, to Whakatane and Tauranga from Kawerau, to Auckland from outlying areas, generally some distance away.

In Wairarapa, there are parents who work in Wellington/Hutt Valley and have a commute of approximately 3 hours each day leaving Featherston at 6 am and returning home sometimes around 7 pm. They struggle to find services and carers during these hours and juggle their children between whānau, friends and neighbours. In some instances children also travel with their parents to Wellington/ Hutt Valley and access both school and after school services outside their home areas.

8.6.3 Addressing access and availability

Comments made by some parents and caregivers give rise to what they consider to be gaps in out of school services. These occur where:

  • Parents and caregivers do not operate to the same timetable as service providers because of the nature of their work
  • There is no out of school service available where and when they want them
  • Parents and caregivers experience difficulties in transporting children from school to an out of school services of their choice.

In terms of access and availability, whānau carers are more responsive and attuned to the needs and priorities of their whānau. Generally they don’t have set hours and are more likely to accommodate the diverse working arrangements of the parents and caregivers.

Service providers in general, do recognise the needs of parents and caregivers around access and availability of out of school services. Many work to address these and some service providers say that these issues can be problematic and have a wider impact on the provision of their services.

But some service providers do respond.

As noted earlier in this report, a response for a rural service has now been set up in Kawerau. This OSCAR-approved service provider describes herself as a mainstream provider. The service has grown and now operates from four sites within this area. In terms of access and availability, it meets the needs of:

  • Rural whānau by having out of school services located in the community
  • Parents and caregivers who travel some distance out of Kawerau to work. The service provider transports children to their work at the end of the day and in doing so, relieves their concern about collecting them on time
  • Children who do not have to travel far to get to the programme. Some children were travelling by bus into Whakatane..They are now collected and taken to one of the four sites where they have more time at the programme.

Wairoa has a strong Te Kōhanga Reo presence and Tamaiti Whāngai youth programmes. The gap for this rural community is that it has limited out of school services for its five to 13 year old children. There is concern that children are unsupervised after school and ‘are getting into mischief’. At the Wairoa focus group, participants identified the need to bridge this gap and are looking for ways to respond to the out of school needs of Māori in the area.

In terms of distance and location, many service providers within towns and cities, run vans to pick up children from different schools with their areas. However, none of those interviewed specifically go too far outside their ‘school catchment’ area to other areas (within cities) or into rural areas to do this collection. One service provider noted that once school finishes, the vans need to be waiting and they are unable to delay the collection while the van is transporting children from outlying areas. Service providers say that to collect children from schools some distance out of town will impact on costs to the service provider which will affect parents and caregivers in the long term.

There is a limited response to flexibility of hours (outside the current service hours). Service providers say that this poses problems for them. The demand for flexible hours may only apply to a few whānau. Opening outside their usual times requires staff who can work these hours which may result in an increase in their costs.

They do recognise that there are times when their parents and caregivers work past 5.30 pm and in those unplanned occasions they remain open a little longer. When parents and caregivers call and say they a running late to collect their children, they will accommodate, within reason. These are one-off rather than regular situations.

None of the service providers interviewed were able to specifically respond to the needs of parents and caregivers who are shift and seasonal workers and commuters. Some do have before school services and many noted that they were moving to accommodate their parents and caregivers needs in this regard.

8.7 Quality and Content of Services

8.7.1 Overview

Māori want quality programmes so that their children have fun and enjoy themselves. The research indicates that quality programmes have a number of components. They want programmes to cater for the different age ranges attending out of school services. For programmes to be structured or semi-structured with a range of activities and experiences for their children and they want programmes to be updated and refreshed so that children remain interested, stimulated and continue to have fun.

All parents and caregivers interviewed for the research say they have expectations that service providers have a whānau environment to support their programmes and that they want these programmes to have Māori content. They consider that they do not expect these programmes to be provided exclusively for Māori. Along side of these expectations, parents and caregivers want service providers who have a good appreciation of te ao Māori and understand the importance of incorporating Māori content into their programmes.

8.7.2 Māori content

Parents and caregivers describe what Māori content they expect to see in the out of school services accessed by their children:

  • All programme content is focussed on expanding their children’s knowledge of themselves as Māori and their place in te ao Māori. Te reo Māori is spoken all the time
  • Māori content is woven into the programmes where tikanga Māori is practiced and there is a preference for te reo Māori to be used as much as possible
  • Māori content is visible in the programme, not just on occasions. For example, through activities which have a Māori focus.

There are parents and caregivers who advise that it is their responsibility to ensure te reo Māori is spoken and tikanga is carried on in the home. They do not look for programmes where these are a specific focus. They recognise that not all service providers can kōrero Māori but support any attempts to do so or to visibly use te reo Māori as part of the programme (signs on furniture).

Tikanga and te reo are my responsibility as a parent for my children. They participate at the marae and in those things Māori. I still think that there needs to be some awareness here [at out of school service] as there should be anywhere, but I wouldn’t think it’s not good to send the kids here because they weren’t providing something for the kids in terms of being Māori.

Parent, Wanganui The role of iwi and hapū

Suggestions were made by parents and caregivers that iwi and hapū have significant roles and responsibilities in out of school services by providing these services or supporting service providers to deliver iwi/hapū specific programmes within their rohe. Some expressed the desire to have their children attend such services, if they are available.

The researchers interviewed two service providers that deliver these programmes. Both are non-OSCAR funded service providers. Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Whatua also indicated that it wants service providers in its rohe to have a consistent approach to out of school services. It is exploring how this can be achieved so that Ngāti Whatua is reflected in the programmes delivered. School holiday programmes

Parents and caregivers also look for Māori content and a whānau environment in school holiday programmes. Some regularly send their children to stay with grandparents and whānau and to attend school holiday programmes in their areas. These children go to programmes during the school terms which may not necessarily have everything they (or their parents want) in terms of Māori content. School holiday programmes which operate within their iwi rohe offer unique programmes which support their knowledge and understanding about who they are as Māori.

This happens in Northland where a Māori service provider (non-OSCAR funded) reports that her programme gets inundated with tamariki from the cities during school holidays. She now designs her programme so that they can learn about their iwi, themselves and the place where they come from.

Other parents and caregivers are looking for the same type of programme. A parent in Auckland describes her ideal school holiday programme as:

...having Māori speaking care givers or providers. And as well as you know educational outings, day trips, do things that are specific to the children, like whakapapa and learning where they are from. I don’t know how it would work but my ideal holiday programme would be able to send my boys to Rotorua where they’re from and for them go to a holiday programme there and learn from their kaumātua and things like that about where they’re from and you know learn about their land and things. That would be an ideal thing...

Parent, Auckland

In Gisborne, one parent described the ultimate school holiday programme as taking the whānau (not just the children) back to their marae with a programme based around their whakapapa, their land and their resources.

It is interesting to note, that some parents and caregivers of children who attend Kura Kaupapa Māori or Māori immersion classes choose mainstream school holiday programmes. The main reason given is that they want their children to mix with children of other cultures and to get an awareness of the wider world.

One parent said this was very important to her and her whānau:

Because they’re in a total immersion class putting them into a mainstream holiday programme gives them the opportunity to mix with other races and they’ll come home and they’ll ask you, well I think, quite good questions about why do they do it like that mum? So they’re not just sort of cocooned in this Māori world, they still have that but they meet kids and develop friendships.

Parent, Wellington

8.7.3 Diverse responses to Māori content

Parents and caregivers in this research want a diverse range of out of school services that have Māori content in some form. With few exceptions, service providers in the research recognise the need for Māori content in their programmes. Researchers were told that it is important for Māori to have their ‘world’ reflected in the programmes.

For all programmes, it makes a difference if the service provider is Māori and if staff or some of them are Māori. This generally has an impact on the shape and content of the programme and the way they are delivered. It is noted that Māori service providers and Māori staff tend to deliver programmes where there is a focus and emphasis on Māori content.

Diversity gives rise to differences underpinning the development and ongoing refreshment of the programmes. There are service providers within the research with programmes that fall into four broad groupings:

  • Programmes grounded in tikanga Māori and te reo Māori
  • Programmes that integrate Māori content as its core feature
  • Programmes that have some Māori content and practice basic tikanga Māori and use some te reo Māori.
  • Programmes that have no Māori content. Programmes grounded in tikanga Māori and te reo Māori

Parents and caregivers who want this type of programme have children attending Kura Kaupapa Māori or Māori immersion classes. They want a seamless service which reinforces their learning from home and school.

The content of these programmes differ. They respond to the needs of parents and caregivers and what they want to see provided in out of school services. Typically, they are run by Māori service providers with Māori staff. These service providers in this research are non-OSCAR funded.

A service provider who runs a tikanga-based programme in Northland says that the basis of this programme comes from a Māori perspective, from the area, the people and iwi:

Our Māori is very much part of the teaching. Our instructors, they kōrero Māori all the time. Tribal history, we go out on the harbour, fishing, you know whoever takes us out they’re talking about this place that place, a part of our tribal history. All these sort of components to us is important, being Māori and identifying ourselves as Māori and having this as the programme.

Service Provider, Northland

Another service provider from Christchurch said the aim of her programme is to provide care for children who are being raised in Māori language speaking homes. The programme allows children to further develop their language skills with other children who have the same level or above proficiency in te reo Māori. It also gives them wider opportunities to use their language skills.

Tikanga-based programmes are also fundamental to those programmes that focus on whānau and children at risk:

Well, what we’re based on here is whānau, hapū, iwi. You know, self-esteem, self-respect, self-determination – our programmes are based on these.

Service Provider, Lower Hutt

But there are few tikanga-based programmes within this research. They are not readily accessible to Māori because of where they are and the time and cost investment of transporting children to attend these programmes. There are examples, where parents and caregivers place the care of their children with a service provider in closer proximity with programmes that have less Māori content than they would prefer. Programmes that integrate tikanga Māori and te reo Māori

The research indicates that these programmes are more available than those that are grounded in tikanga Māori. Children who attend these programmes are predominantly Māori with some non-Māori children. Service providers describe themselves as either Māori or mainstream providers. There is reluctance from some service providers to describe themselves as Māori service providers because they want their programmes to be inclusive for all children.

Service providers who deliver these programmes are either OSCAR-approved or non-OSCAR funded.

The programmes in the research generally focus on children learning about themselves as Māori:

The kids respond very positively to our programme. Oh very positively. Tikanga, karakia, that’s just part of their life that the school encourages. The marae visit, when we go to the marae, it’s a little bit more of a step for them sometimes, not all of them are from whānau who regularly spend time at the marae and are involved as a whānau at one.

With the five to ten year olds, they’re doing the walk of the ngāhere for the holiday programme and those kind of things all about ngā tipu Māori, so that kind of stuff, I called it the other day fragments and echoes of our culture. That’s what kids need and we think whether they’re engaging with the marae or not, they still have these fragments and echoes that feel very comfortable to them and they don’t feel contrived and so it feels like we’re building off those fragment and echoes and trying to put together some kind of picture for them.

Service Provider, Tauranga

These programmes do not have specific components which can be separately described as Māori content but these are organic to each programme. Māori content can be mixed:

  • Te reo Māori may be spoken all the time. Others may have a mix of both te reo Māori and English. Others may kōrero English mostly with some te reo Māori. For the most part, the level of te reo Māori used in a programme will depend on the fluency of the service provider and staff
  • Tikanga Māori is practiced as an ordinary part of the programme where learning from home is reinforced by service providers. The basic concepts are already reinforced (karakia, pillows, tables) with other concepts in regular use, such as tuakana/ teina relationships
  • Māori specific activities may focus on the environment and its importance to the whānau, connecting the whānau to the community through stories and may include activities on marae in the area. Programmes that recognise tikanga Māori and te reo Māori

Service providers who deliver these programmes describe themselves as mainstream providers. They recognise tikanga Māori and te reo Māori as part of their programmes and have specific Māori activities on regular occasions. These include poi making, weaving, celebrating Māori occasions, such as Matariki and Māori Language Week.

The research highlights that approximately 30% or more of the children attending these programmes are Māori and service providers and staff are predominantly Pākehā. There are more of these programmes in the research than programmes grounded in tikanga Māori or integrated programmes. They are predominantly run by OSCAR-approved service providers.

These are the programmes that are accessed by most of the parents and caregivers in this research. Parents and caregivers choose out of school services that provide these programmes for a range of reasons:

  • The service provider has a good reputation and the programme meets parents and caregivers requirements
  • The service provider is OSCAR-approved and parents can apply for Work and Income subsidies
  • The service providers offer programmes grounded in tikanga Māori or integrated programmes are not available or are located in other areas
  • The service provider may be close to parents and caregivers place of work and/or childrens school where transport and costs are not an issue.

Generally, service providers find it hard to attract and keep staff. It is more difficult to get staff with experience in designing and delivering programmes with Māori content. In Gisborne a service provider is looking for staff to help children with their homework in Māori. In most other areas, service providers are looking for more Māori staff to help with the increasing number of Māori accessing their programmes. Programmes that have no Māori content

There were only two service providers in this research (both OSCAR-approved) who say they deliver programmes with no Māori content on the basis that parents and caregivers do not ask for this content to be incorporated or such inclusion is ‘not part of our policies and procedures’. In these situations, the service providers concerned do not proactively engage or follow up with the Māori to find out if Māori content is a priority for them and their children.

8.7.4 Other activities

There are additional activities that parents and caregivers consider are important to be included in programmes. While they are not the critical factors to reaching decisions for out of school services for their children, parents and caregivers want to see learning life skills reflected through programme activities. These include budgeting, cooking, sewing, gardening and other skills which they consider will support their children to be self sufficient.

Homework is an area that has generated some response. There is an expectation from some parents and caregivers that it would be helpful to them if their children did homework as part of programme:

...in that window of time that they’re
there, we want them to do things that
they would be doing at home. Things like
that make things easier for us to spend
the time with them, so we want them to
do their homework...

Parent, Whangarei

For others, it is not a significant consideration and they have a preference that their children play rather than extend school into their out of school programme:

...it’s their play time, so I’m not overly concerned. You know if they get time to do their homework, that’s great, as a working parent, that’s great. But you know that is my responsibility to oversee that part, but if it gets done that’s fine, it makes it easier when I go through it with them at home.

Parent, Bay of Plenty

Back to top