A recent unconscious bias in education report claims some teachers have lower expectations of Māori students and this may influence their achievement.
The report also suggests Māori students take on board negative stereotypes and live down to this expectation.
Tejay Rimoni, a Māori student now at university, says, "School was always seen as that place that white people do, and it's horrible to say, I don't like saying it, but that's the ideals that we were fed."
"Because I didn't tuck in the shirt, because I didn't wear the right shoes, shouldn't affect the way I attain knowledge. But it did," she says.
Dr David Tokiharu Mayeda, a senior lecturer in sociology at the University of Auckland, says, "I wouldn't say it was normal but it was not uncommon at all for the students to say, 'Yeah, I had teachers label me and say you're not gonna make it to uni because you're brown'."