National | Kura Kaupapa Māori

Government's “new dawn for Māori education” rejected by educators

Kaupapa Māori education groups are expressing concern at a new proposed Māori medium and Kaupapa Māori pathway programme being introduced by the government.

Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis revealed on Wednesday a “new dawn for Māori education” aimed at seeing 30 per cent of Māori learners participating in Kaupapa Māori/Māori medium education by 2040.

An independent Māori education group, Te Pae Roa, has been established to oversee the work.

Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa chief executive Hohepa Campbell says they have met with the panel in recent weeks but have concerns Kura Kaupapa Māori could be absorbed into a "mainstream Māori-medium pathway".

“We have requested Te Paeroa to report back to the minister to say that it is imperative that a Kaupapa Māori parallel pathway be established.

“We would like to remind the Crown that the Tomorrow's Schools Taskforce recommended that an autonomous governance body be established to support Kaupapa Māori education pathways of Kōhanga Reo, Kura Ā-iwi, Kura Aho Matua and Whare Wānanga Māori. Te Rūnanga Nui supports this recommendation,” he said in a statement today.

By Māori. not by mainstream

Raniera Procter, who chairs Te Matakahuki, the recently formed organisation that represents Te Kohanga Reo, Ngā Kura a Iwi o Aotearoa Te Rūnanga Nui and Te Tauihu o ngā Wānanga says those groups have made it clear their focus is to find solutions designed "by Māori, for Māori, delivered by Māori".

“We believe this can only truly be achieved through the establishment of a parallel pathway under the authority of the Te Matakahuki collective. It is unclear why the minister insists on Kaupapa Māori working with and for mainstream which, despite best efforts and greater funding, cannot develop sound solutions for Māori students in a mainstream environment."

Procter says while Te Matakahuki supports the investment into Māori learners in the mainstream system, the contexts of each are quite different.

“In part our kaupapa was borne from families establishing Māori education institutes as a response to the lack of confidence in that system. We will not accept the homogenising of our Kaupapa Māori institutes by treating both the Māori Medium within mainstream education and Te Matakahuki pathways unilaterally.”

In announcing the pathway on Wednesday, Davis said, “The kaupapa Māori education pathway has been hard fought for by many who have come before us. But it has existed inside an education system that was not built for it, and therefore, cannot fully deliver on the aspirations Māori hold for the way we educate our future generations.”

Engagement is expected to begin with sector stakeholders and iwi over the next few weeks, with the aim of creating a system built "with Māori, for Māori and delivered by Māori," Davis said.

Determined to get it done

“A key focus will be to clearly understand the difference between what is now being defined as Māori medium education and Kaupapa Māori education. There are strong views on the different roles of both, so there is a need to respect each one.”

Davis wouldn't be drawn on commenting today in response to Te Matakahuki and TRN. His office referred Te Ao Māori News back to his comments earlier in the week on news that Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori has lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal, alleging the Crown has failed to meet its obligations under the Treaty.

“I respect their decision and would welcome their return to the table but I will not wait any longer while I have the ability as a Māori minister to improve things for the current and future generations of Māori learners.

“As always, the government will respectfully consider any findings of the Waitangi Tribunal but this kaupapa is too important to wait for Te Rūnanga Nui to take its claim.”