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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 27, No. 14. 1964.

More Views on "Washday at the Pa"

page 3

More Views on "Washday at the Pa"

Although I find this booklet unsuitable for young children—In that It reinforces stereotypes—It may serve to highlight inadequacies in the Maori situation for some adults. For instance, in 1956 census figures, only 58 per cent of Maori homes had bath or shower, only 51 per cent had piped water, only 48 per cent had hot water. This is partly counterbalanced by the 45.000 (out of approximately 180.000 Maoris) who have moved into brand-new homes since then. Housing standards are reflected in health standards. The Infant mortality rate for Maoris (1954-58) was 57.5 per 1000 as opposed to 19.8 per 1000 for non-Maoris. The Maori Tb death rate is eight times that of the pakeha, while four times as many Maoris as pakehas die of pneumonia and of cancer. Living conditions may be reflected in crime. The rate of law-breaking by Maoris to almost 34 times the pakeha rate and moreover, it has risen 50 per cent in the four years between 1954-58.

But the Immediate cause of protest by the Maori Women's Welfare League was not the statistical truth or otherwise of the booklet, but its offensiveness to the family whose privacy was breached.

Barry Metcalf.

As Future Teachers we are very concerned at the precedent that the Minister has set in withdrawing "Washday At The Pa." but as New Zea-landers we are even more concerned at the thinking behind the withdrawal and the fact that a Minister of the Crown should be guided by it.

young boy

If educational material, prepared by a specialist branch of the Education Service for use in our schools is subject to withdrawal by the political head of the Service for reasons which are solely political then we must conclude that politics control not merely what children are taught but how they are to be taught. We consider that teaching method and the presentation of ideas to children is the role of the professional teacher who is trained for the Job, and that this role should not be impinged on by people who are not only unqualified but motivated by factors far removed from the problems of teaching.

As New Zealanders we are concerned that the window-dressing and self-deception prevalent in this country on matters of race and living conditions should receive such enthusiastic support from such a large body of otherwise responsible and intelligent people. It is apparent that in this sensitive area at any rate we are far less Interested in what is than what we feel children should know. We can only hope that their reaction, when they eventually lind out, will not be too damaging an experience for them.

Steve O'Regan.

John Nicolls.

young boy and girl