Regional | Learning

Company making learning fun for Māori and Pasifika students

Some 60,000 Māori and Pacific Island students are believed to be still missing school in the aftermath of disruptions such as Covid-19, extreme weather and the cost of living.

Lālanga is a company that provides tools, mentoring and technology for schools to tackle the issue, and improve student learning, health and life outcomes.

Lālanga founder Lesiele Oliver believes that education is a means to see children succeed later in life.

“I started Lālanga because I know through my own experiences how powerful that tool of education is in enabling your success. Education is the most powerful tool. We have a lot of problems with our Māori and Pasifika especially in education, but it is education that will enable their success,” she says.

Forty-year old Oliver established Lālanga during the 2020 Covid lockdowns, and now she has found new and exciting ways for kids to enjoy their learning, such as working with technology.

She says she has found great success using technology as a tool for tamariki and making learning more engaging for them.

“Through that we’ve also seen a problem route through learning resources, and the help that teachers need to make sure that the learning resources in class are relevent and engaging. So we’ve started creating culturally relevant learning resources and it really has been about trying to improve attendance, engagement and achievement.”

But for Lālanga the goal is to see children grow and flourish in education, and Oliver says that teachers have given positive feedback, saying the children in their classes are more engaged and keen to learn.

“Learning isn’t just about learning in primary school, intermediate and high school. It’s about being a lifelong learner and loving learning... We know that if kids love school and learning in primary school, it will carry on into intermediate, high school and that’s what we want to see, is the kids falling in love with learning, to catch onto and see a vision for their life that is better than the current problems and circumstances that they’re growing up in or the challenges they experience.”

At the moment Lālanga works with three schools in Auckland, and next year it is expected more will join in, in taking what Lālanga calls a collective effort to see more Pasifika and Māori students thrive in education.