Taking students back to their roots has proven to be a winning ingredient at Hamilton Boys' High.
The school is celebrating another successful year on the NCEA tables, with high pass rates among students across all levels in the past year.
What is particularly impressive, however, is the school's success with its Maori pupils, who make up 19 per cent of the student population.
Last year, 86.1 per cent of Maori students gained their level 1 qualification - a big jump from the 61 per cent pass rate in 2009.
Almost 98 per cent of Maori boys achieved their literacy credits last year - a significant increase from five years ago, when just over 72 per cent of pupils gained them.
Deputy headmaster Stuart Hakeney said the school had introduced a number of cultural learning aspects in a bid to help lift Maori students' results.
One of the key initiatives the school is involved in is He Kakano, a professional development programme, funded by the Ministry of Education, helping to build Maori students' confidence.
"It's about helping build leadership in them and focuses on living their culture - learning in a different way that connects with their culture," Mr Hakeney said.
Another school doing well in the Waikato region is Morrinsville College.
It has been witnessing an upward trend in pass rates across all levels over the years, with 86.4 per cent of last year's students gaining their NCEA level 1, 86.1 per cent their level 2 and 83.8 per cent achieving a level 3 qualification.
Principal John Inger said there had been a push for staff to be more committed in helping youngsters not only to pass their exams and gain credits, but to examine various future career paths - not just looking at university.
He said a lot of very bright students had chosen to go into trades and get into good jobs.