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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 5. 3rd April 1974


Maori Language and the N.Z. Education Dept: Submissions written by Nga Tamatoa and C.A.R.E.

In 1972, a petition on Maori language signed by 33,000 people, was presented to Parliament by Mrs Hana Jackson of Nga Tamatoa. The petition stated that:

'We the undersigned, do humbly pray that courses in Maori language and aspects of Maori culture be offered in all those schools with large Maori rolls and that these same courses be offered as a gift to the Pakeha from the Maori in all other New Zealand schools as a positive effort to promote a more meaningful concept of integration.

Drawing of an office and stick figure

The main aim of this petition was to see Maori language offered in all schools as an integral part of the syllabus, beginning at primary school level. To implement this, Nga Tamatoa recommended that fluent Maori speakers be trained in teaching methodology at university and at training college, and that initially these people could be employed as visiting teachers until there were sufficient to have teachers of Maori language attached to every school in New Zealand.

Following the petition, Nga Tamatoa approached the Government with a view to running Te Reo Maori seminars to train fluent Maori speaking Maoris in the methods of teaching the Maori language. The Government refused to organise such seminars on the grounds of the expense involved, so Nga Tamatoa itself decided to run them. To date, five Te Reo Maori seminars have been held under their auspices. From these seminars it became clear:
1)That the seminars could be run on a very low budget.
2)That a large number of fluent Maori speaking Maoris were enthusiastic to participate in the programme.
3)That there were already trained teachers in schools who were qualified to teach Maori but who were employed to teach other subjects.
4)That there were many people with no formal training who were actively involved in teaching the language, and that some of these were actually being used by the Education Department to demonstrate their teaching methods.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Education assured Nga Tamatoa that courses would be set up wherever there was demand', provided the applicants were fluent speakers of Maori. However, the Education Department, acting in its usual independent manner, has produced a scheme of its own which runs counter to both Nga Tamatoa's proposals and the assurances of the Minister.

The Department has introduced a One Year Teachers' College Course for Teachers of Maori, which in its conception is inadequate, pakeha-oriented, and obviously designed to fail.