More Top Stories

Editor's Pick
Editor's Pick

TB cases detected

1 June 2024


Alleged rapist in remand

27 April 2024

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Letter: Te Reo Māori in schools

Friday 24 May 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Letters to the Editor, Opinion


Letter: Te Reo Māori in schools

Dear Editor, “Schools told to teach Te Reo Māori ECE to Year 6” (CINews 21 May) would really benefit from a strategic plan (or dare I say it, Master Plan).

The command/statement brings to mind a raft of possibilities of what that might even look like! Does it mean an ‘Enrichment’ type programme where each class ECE to Yr6 might get 1-2 hours a week from a Māori speaker busting butt to get from class to class and spend half of their time managing student behaviour and expectation? Does it mean bilingual or Māori medium where ‘magical’ numbers appear and instruction looks like 50/50 – meaning 50 per cent Māori/50 per cent English instruction? Or are they talking about the the whole Hog! Immersion similar to Kura Kaupapa Māori Aotearoa styles? Whatever it looks like, and if ‘our reo’ is the poutoko of our future aspirations for revitalisation efforts, then a little more than a commanding statement needs to be made.

Peel back the layers of that statement and you’ll find the iro (Idea Really Over-stretched) crawling through it. Resourcing – the bane of a local teachers existence is partially deflected but the expectation of teachers to move ahead and speak it, doesn’t seem to bode well for the numbers of teachers in our schools that well, just can’t!

Resourcing also is not so much about the books that will come, but about being able to use them in a cognatively useful way for our tamariki. Research will tell us about the transferability of these skills let alone the cognative benefits of bilingualism. Resourcing also comes down to a prepared workforce who are considerately remunerated and can graft their way through to the light at the end of the tunnel – imagine, a transparent educational pathway in the HR strategy...

Maybe consider a more measured approach that recognises capacity and builds on that foundation? Maybe it’s time to look at, how a new localised curriculum might allow us to consider engagement with today’s world but through the vehicle of our language and culture? Maybe look to similar contexts where this type of education system has been working? Aoteroa seems a good place to start?             

There is much more I hope that will be considered through the Master Plan and its associated strategies and policies that drop from it? I hope that the work ADB funds, builds on the consultation data already collected by a very competent local consultant and MoE staff last year?  

The statement needs to be commended because of the vision it speaks to - we do know however, through our navigating ancestors, that a vision is not just an easy grab, it needs some planning, some collaboration and most of all, the resourcing, when something as important as our language and culture is the legacy we want for our Ipukarea. And if it is important, as other national documents and strategies articulate, then get out of the silo, it is not just an Education thing, it’s for all of us.

Mānga manako ua tēia nāku

James Uri-Puati