Mount Albert Primary School principal Enosa Auva’a will research ethnic minority leadership in American schools at the University of Hawai‘i next year, as the second recipient of the Fulbright-Cognition Education Research Trust Scholar Award. He hopes his research can identify ways to inspire more minority school leaders in New Zealand.
“Minority leadership in education is a serious concern in New Zealand,” says Mr Auva’a, “but it is recognised that ethnic minority leaders can make a significant contribution in efforts to raise student achievement, by role modelling success and achieving rapport with ethnic communities and families.”
Research has shown that the diversity of students in New Zealand schools is not reflected in leadership roles, where Mäori and Pacific people are under-represented in both senior management and principalship positions. A primary school principal since 1991, Mr Auva’a recently completed a Master of Educational Leadership and Management degree at Unitec with a thesis entitled Aspiring towards principalship: A Pacific Island perspective. His research found only 1.1% of the 2,700 principals leading New Zealand schools to be of Pacific Island origin, compared to around 10% of students.
Mr Auva’a’s Fulbright research will study the stories and experiences of minority school leaders in the US, to find out how aspiring minority teachers are encouraged towards leadership positions including principalship. He believes New Zealand can learn a lot from the United States with its greater population and involvement of ethnic minorities in school leadership, and hopes his research can contribute to the limited knowledge of this field in New Zealand.
“I hope this research will promote reflections on the type of leadership required for a multicultural school,” he says. “My ultimate wish is to influence policymakers to consider a policy of developing critical mass for aspiring minority leaders. I would like to see a deliberate plan to have more Pacific Islanders aspiring towards school principalship level.”
Fulbright New Zealand
Te Tüäpapa Mätauranga o Aotearoa me Amerika
Level 8, 120 Featherston Street
PO Box 3465