This qualitative study explored high-achieving Māori students’ perceptions of their best and worst secondary school teachers. Participants (N = 96) were Year 12 or 13 students at English-medium secondary schools in Aotearoa who had attained certificate endorsement at Level 1 or 2 in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). Findings showed that Māori students’ best teachers had high expectations for their achievement.
Role models serve multiple functions as they influence Māori students’ goals and school aspirations. While Māori students are faced with various educational barriers, scholars contend that having a positive role model can influence their educational persistence and overall engagement at school. Therefore, it is important to consider who Māori students choose as role models and how they influence their goals and aspirations.