Return on Investment from Schooling in Māori, New Zealand

The problem

The educational outcomes of Māori school students in New Zealand are lower than the national average. The Ministry of Education wanted to know if it should direct more resources into education conducted in Māori language (Māori medium) in order to improve outcomes.

How we helped

Castalia helped the Ministry of Education understand the return on investment in Māori-medium education. Māori students who attend specialist schools which teach all or most subjects in Māori (while also teaching English) tend to have better educational outcomes than Māori students who attend general English-language schools. The Ministry wanted to know if better outcomes were due to self-selection—Māori families who were committed to education were more likely to send children to specialist schools—or if education in Māori medium produced better outcomes after other factors were controlled. We estimated school grades for Māori in general and Māori medium schools controlling for various factors and then estimated the expected income, justice system costs, welfare costs, and health costs over individuals’ lifetimes based on grades achieved at school. We were able to determine the return on investment in Māori-medium schools after accounting for additional investment.


Our work informed the Ministry of Education of the value of Māori-medium education and led to greater resources being allocated to specialist schools.

Our team

Alex Sundakov

Alex Sundakov

Executive Director

How can we help you?

How can we help you?