Maori Education Developments: A Maori Unionist’s View
During 1992, many hands seized the chance to paddle the Maori education waka in the primary system.The Maori community continued to establish Kura Kaupapa Maori, immersion and bilingual programmes. Schools increased the involvement of whanau in their activities and generally attempted to improve the quality of Maori education programmes.The National Maori Congress, Te Whakakotahitanga o Nga Iwi o Aotearoa, completed a report that promoted the goal of establishing iwi education authorities. Government established an inquiry into Maori education and directed officials committees to:
(a) develop a bold strategy for the protection and promotion of te reo Maori; and
(b) develop a comprehensive policy for Maori education.
A Maori Education Group to comment on the Minister of Education’s “Vision for Education” was established. Maori government officials and others attempted to co-ordinate an effective Maori voice in education through Te Roopu Whakahaere and Te Roopu Whanui.Tino Rangatiratanga continued its work of co-ordinating, mobilising and politicising Maori in education and challenging the effectiveness of existing or proposed government education policy.
Finally, in an atmosphere of government hostility towards unions, the primary teachers’ union, the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) strengthened its philosophies, policies, priorities and practices by:
- establishing Miro Maori as an integral part of NZEI structures;
- giving leadership, direction and cohesion to the development of Maori education policies; and
- ensuring that Maori views are included in the activities, developments and changes in the general education system.
In putting forward a Maori unionist’s view, there is recognition that during 1992:
- Maori people put a lot of energy into primary education for the purpose of improving Maori achievement, revitalizing te reo me ona tikanga Maori andstrengthening Maori participation in the education of their children;
- NZEI, the primary teachers’ union, gave significant support to Maori education developments; and
- there was a lot of government activity and stated commitment but their work lacked rigour, direction and coherency.
Although many hands paddled the Maori education waka, by the end of 1992, it had made only a minor advance from where it had been in 1991. The waka tended to veer in motion from side to side, backwards and forwards and swirled around in circles rather than tracking forwards towards achieving significant goals. The Matauranga Maori waka clearly lacks strong navigational leadership, and government in particular is paddling against the tide of Maori aspirations...
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