NZ First leader Winston Peters says if Nanaia Mahuta and Willie Jackson want to be in the Government they will need to watch their words.
Māori Development Minister Mahuta said compulsory te reo in schools was a matter of “not if but going to be when” on Tuesday morning.
I think we get tripped up on the word compulsory when it comes to te reo.
There is a body of opinion that argues te reo is an official language and is a cultural taonga and as such we must make the effort to make it compulsory. Sign language is also an offical language and I’m not sure making that compulsory would be justified.
I support public agencies lifting their game and making te reo inclusive but the backlash of making the language compulsory would get ugly and quickly derail the rest of the political agenda. The other problem is that we simply don’t have enough teachers of the Māori language to make it compulsory.
I say this while acknowledging my daughter is in a Māori immersion class and it fills me with immense joy when she speaks the language.
I think an easier way forward than forcing this is encouraging it. The Education Review did a good piece on this last year and their solution looks like the best move…
Big bold steps they may be, but Paora Trim has come up with a simplistic and scalable way that teaching and learning te reo could be achievable in our schools.
Trim’s practical solution is one that his son’s primary school is trialling this year. Each week, teachers will teach their classes two Māori words and one Māori phrase. The following week, they review the previous week’s words and phrase before learning new ones.
“Imagine if a child was taught two words and one phrase of te reo Māori each week from the time they started New Entrants. After 10 years at school they could potentially know 800 words and 400 phrases.”
It would take an estimated five minutes each day to teach two words and one phrase a week.
Trim acknowledges that teachers will have different levels of reo proficiency, but he doesn’t see this as a problem. He points to various apps and online programmes that could be used by anyone.
“They’d learn along the way too,” he says.
The key to the success of a programme like this is getting the buy-in from a school’s senior leadership team. They need to motivate and make staff accountable, says Trim, while the school’s language expert is responsible for providing resources and supporting staff.
…my only concern with the current cultural currency of speaking and pronouncing Māori is that it ends up becoming a new micro-aggression policing aesthetic.
Is it good enough in 2018 to champion Te Reo when the structural injustice of colonialism is so prevalent and apparent?
Māori are 380% more likely to be convicted of a crime, 200% more likely to die from heart disease & suicide. Māori are paid 18% less and 34% leave school without a qualification. Māori at 15% of the population make up over 50% of the 10 000 prison population. They are arrested at a higher percentage, feature in the worst education and social stats and make up a huge proportion of those living in poverty.
After losing 95% of their land and economic base in less than a century and overcoming almost being wiped out by disease and muskets, Māori have been cheated by the Treaty.
I believe that the majority of white New Zealanders live in a constant state of wilful ignorance when it comes to racism in this country. The facts of how racist our system really is are glaring in the statistical outcomes, and have come under investigation by the UN.
The NZ Herald’s first editorial ever was calling on white settlers to go to war with Māori and it took 136 years to get an apology for Parihaka, who will apologise for the racist failures of NZ since the Treaty?
Knowing your Te Reo is simply cultural appropriation if it isn’t coupled with the same level of effort in cementing into place the power dynamics laid out in the Treaty.
Getting tangled up in making it compulsory is missing the opportunity to progress while requiring focus on the structural racism that blights NZ.