Closing the gap is a team effort

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WITT staff are proud to see a significant improvement in the course completion rates of Māori ākonga (learners), closing the gap with non-Māori learners.

“For several years we have been striving for parity of success between our ākonga and I am pleased the campus-wide changes we first implemented in 2022 are now paying off with encouraging completion results,” says WITT Kaiārahi Deputy CE Allie Hemara-Wahanui.

The statistics show that the completion rates for priority learners (Māori, Pasifika, students with disabilities) have increased significantly from 2021 to 2023;  Māori learners completions are up 11%, Pasifika are up 10% and students with disabilities are up 13% and the gap is closing.


WITT Completion Rates




All Students












With Disability




Last year 77% of all students who studied at WITT completed their programmes and 72% of all Māori students completed theirs; a gap of 5% when in 2022 there was a 10% gap. The same pattern applies to Pasifika and students with disabilities.

The changes are attributed to a number of factors but most significantly the institute-wide focus by management, teaching and support staff on early identification and intervention of at-risk learners.

“It’s all about ensuring the right support, to the right learners at the right time,” says WITT Director Student Success Zanetta Hinton.

The early intervention programme at WITT is modelled on TEC’s Oritetanga: ‘Tertiary Success for Everyone’ project and the learnings from Georgia State University.

“Georgia State University used student and course data, learner insights, personalised interactions, and timely targeted support to significantly raise the completion rates of indigenous learners – their completions were impressive as was their level of insight into the courses and learners,” says Zanetta.

As part of the early identification and intervention programme at WITT, teaching and support teams, with the help of technology software track individual learners from enrolment through to course completion and have personalised interactions sending text, emails, micro surveys and check-ins at various touch points in the student journey and provide support at the time of need.

“Our academic and pastoral support teams work closely with tutors and offer a range of wraparound services that focus on the whole person, their wellbeing and their success,” says Zanetta.

All WITT students having access to learning advisors, youth workers, and a counsellor, nurse, chaplain as well as dedicated accessibility and Māori Pasifika kaimahi (staff).

Māori, Pasifika and disabled learners meet with dedicated Kaitakawaenga and Accessibility teams helping them navigate their tertiary study journey from enrolment through to graduation offering a variety of support and following up on low attendance and attainment.

“At any age, learning new skills and knowledge is a journey of vulnerability and trusting the kaiako (teachers) and kaimahi where you study. Therefore, to witness ākonga succeed is a privilege for all WITT kaimahi,” says Allie.

*Course completion is an EPI (Educational Performance Indicator), one measure we use to ensure what we’re doing is working.

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