South Auckland maths programme building confidence in Māori and Pacific students

South Auckland students with a love of maths now have an opportunity to battle it out against other schools.

It's the first year the programme's run to help build confidence in Māori and Pacific students before they take on the rest of the region.

"We want to expose them to high-level mathematics, problem-solving, and the reasoning and logic that's involved," HOD mathematics McAuley High, Sosefina Paletaoga, told Newshub. 

Former workmates wanted to provide a maths competition for south Auckland students and hopefully give them some life-long skills in terms of building resilience, logic and strategy. 

It's the first year it's been done.

This environment mimics Math X - an Auckland-wide competition - where south Auckland schools, like those ones here, don't place first second or third. 

"We want them to enjoy maths, I want them to know it's cool to do maths, and it's cool for girls to do it," Katalina Ma, SAMC co-ordinator, says. 

And solving the problems isn't just a workout for the brain - students have 20 minutes and get five points for every correct answer.

"In maths class, we're taught and we know what we're doing but when we come here, it's something else," McAuley High School year 10 student Laufetu'u Tu'ipulotu says. 

That "something else" is what teachers are hoping students will cling to.

"Year 9 and year 10 we sort of lose them for a bit cause they're still finding their feet and all of a sudden we want them ready for NCEA," Ma says. 

But now, they're learning strategies on the best ways to approach a problem.

"Just try our best not to overthink the questions, read them really well and work together as a team," Siotara Neria Stowers, McAuley High School year 10 student.

And they're practising the best way to celebrate, ahead of next month's competition.