As part of the ongoing Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga, eight fono were conducted in South Auckland, West Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, Oamaru, Porirua, Lower Hutt and Dunedin.

The Associate Minister said over 2000 people attended these fono, and over 6000 comments were received. 

More than a thousand of those coments were from young people under the age of 24. 

Meanwhile, over 1200 people completed the online survey to provide their opinions.

“Many Pacific learners spoke about the pressure of ‘walking in multiple worlds’ and they want the system to be more understanding of these challenges," Salesa said. 

"A number of students, parents and some educators felt that cultural bias and racism exist towards them in education."

She said many respondents want the diversity of their cultures to be recognised, rather than all cultures being "lumped together as 'Pacific'".

The findings come as the country celebrates Tongan Language Week, and Salesa said many young people commented that they wanted their languages celebrated every day, not just for one week of the year.

“We also heard the need for more Pacific teachers as well as more support for teachers working with Pacific learners," she added.

"I am currently working with the Ministry of Education and the Education Council to address this.

"We want to ensure there are better tools and training available for teachers of Pacific leaners."

The findings of these fono will be published on the Kōrero Mātauranga website and used to inform changes to New Zealand's education system.

“I am pleased that what we have heard so far reflects our priority areas for Pacific education," Salesa said. 

"This includes quality teaching and learning, and the role of parents, families and communities – which are underpinned by language, culture and identity. 

“Over the next few months, I intend to refine these priority areas and ensure our Pacific communities are engaged and informed."

The Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga online survey is open until 14 October 2018.