National | Cathy Dewes

'I will never agree to a Māori education authority' - Minister Davis

Educationalist Dr Cathy Dewes has renewed calls for an entity similar to that of the Māori Health Authority for education.

Dewes is a lead claimant forTe Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori, which has filed an urgent case with the Waitangi Tribunal citing 35 years of neglect and the lack of acknowledgement from successive governments.

But today Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis pushed back on the claim and says he has worked closely with Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa to devise a way forward, to no avail.

“I think any of the remedies they're seeking from the tribunal I had offered them so I don't know what more the government could have done,” Davis said

Te Rūnanga o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori chairman Rāwiri Wright questioned Davis’s ability to forecast the outcome of a Waitangi Tribunal case

"He matakite a Minister Davis? He nui kē atu tana roro, nui kē atu tōna mana ki te whakapae he aha ngā hua ka puta i tētahi tono ka puta i te Rōpū Whakamana i te Tiriti"

“Is Minister Davis a psychic? Does he have more brains, more mana to determine the outcome of a claim put to the Waitangi Tribunal”? he asked.

Dewes, a long-standing Te Reo Māori advocate. says change is needed.

“He momo tari mātauranga anō engari kei te whakahaeretia tērā tari e te mana Māori. He rūnanga, he momo poari e tohutohu atu ki taua tari.”

“A kind of Education Ministry but run with mana Māori, wth a caucus or a board that directs that ministry”

Along with dilapidated school buildings and inequitable access to resources, claimants say its time is up and the government needs to do better.

“He kaupapa Māori tēnā e hiahiatia ana e mātou. Me mutu te pōhēhē kei a rātou te rongoā.”

“It's a Māori outfit that we're after. They need to stop mistakenly thinking they have the remedy,” Dewes said.

But Davis says the answers will not be found in an entity like the Māori Health authority.

“What they're wanting is another bureaucracy. What I was offering them was an opportunity to develop the system for Māori medium.”

The tribunal is yet to decide if the case is urgent and when the claimants will get their day in court