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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol 35 no. 22. 14th September 1972

Parent Attitudes

Parent Attitudes

The majority of Maori parents that send their children to Private Schools are delighted that Maori is taught, more so when they experience the advance in their own children's knowledge. Many literally leap with joy to hear their sons give a speech in Maori, not only do the parents swell with pride but so do all the elders Parents have often failed to pass on their own knowledge of Maori, but if the school can stimulate interest, they will help quite considerably at home or during the holidays.

For a very few the language as a subjects lacks prestige and it is not unusual for derogratory remarks to be passed about it e.g. "That Hori (hoary) language". This attitude does not seem to persist, especially when the pupil concerned makes a success of it.

Many Headmasters consider that Maori language is of no value; they argue complacently that French, Latin and German, which are part of Pakeha cultural heritage, are more useful for Maori students. I or this reason also Maori is not made available to Pakeha students in lieu of another language subject.

In her brief reply to me, the Principal of Queen Victoria School wrote this — "I do not understand why official Education Department policy seems to give little encouragement to the specialisation in Maori that is often desired by our senior pupils when they are considering teaching careers. Far more could be done in the schools if the opposite were true."

I would like to quote three propositions made by H.V. George of Victoria University of Wellington, which appeal to me very much and which have relevance to my topic, these are:
(1)"the child whose mother tongue is not English is basically a privileged child;
(2)his privilege becomes a social handicap when the teaching of English is unskilled, or is associated with indifference to or prejudice against the mother longue;
(3)investment in these children is not a regrettable duty but a profitable venture."

Kia ora koutou.