Sub title: An article from one of the little people
For many years as a practising teacher in New Zealand, I watched the gradual but tangible creep of Maori influence upon the NZ education system. ‘And what is wrong with that?’ the Maori educationists and culturally liberated activists, may cry.
‘Nothing at all’, I would reply, ‘so long as the same opportunity is offered to every other ethnic group in the country’. We know that becomes cumbersome and impractical.
Before I get branded as a redneck, (a favourite Maori term for anyone who does not subscribe to their way of thinking), or as anti-Maori; let me openly state that my political position is in favour of equality for all citizens of New Zealand, (sorry, ‘Aotearoa-New Zealand), regardless of their ethnicity. That said, let me get to the nub of the issue.
I am always in favour of implementing innovations that bring about improvement, but I honestly cannot say that the changes in education, pushed by Maori protagonists, have had a beneficial affect across the board, there have been more negatives than positives come out of it.
I have seen the newspaper articles about the ‘dumbing down’ of subject and exam content, and lowering of assessment levels so that Maori are not disadvantaged by the ‘Pakeha” system. I have heard Pita Sharples call for entry levels to University to be lowered exclusively for Maori students. He has suggested that students sitting NCEA exams in the Maori language, receive a percentage increment for their marks. Surely these are admissions of lower levels of attainment by Maori.
I recall the frustration of some of my Maori-teacher colleagues, regarding the attitudes of their Maori students. These teachers considered that the students did not make an effort, because they expected to get special considerations in the system, simply because they were Maori’. There have been enough manifestations of such practices to nurture such views.
I recall when I was teaching at Manutuke School, a representative from Maori Affairs came to the school to inform the Maori students about all the assistance that they could anticipate from the government. I was present, since my students were part of his target group. My thoughts at the time were, that I should marry a Maori woman, so that my children would be eligible for the same hand-outs. All of these inequalities hinged upon who your parents are. Individuals have no choice over who their parents are. Birth is a lottery and that is what makes it so unfair. Two babies born on the same day, in the same town, in the same country, have different rights and privileges simply because of their race. Something needs to change.
I clearly recall the principal of the school, at which I worked, (circa 2010), reporting to the staff about the conference he had attended. He told us that the keynote speaker at the conference, a Maori academic, ‘who had the ear of the Ministry’, advocated that, ‘In the first instance, the curriculum should be written specifically to address the needs of Maori students’. He also stated that, ‘Non-Maori students would not be disadvantaged because they had traditionally achieved anyway’.
Hullo! Is this a race-based curriculum?
Is this apartheid in the NZ education system?
No we are not supposed to call it apartheid in NZ.
Oh I am sorry! We are not supposed to challenge any Maori initiatives if you work for the Ministry of Education.
It is not written down anywhere, but just watch the ‘inner circle of enlightened teachers’ around you scatter if you dare criticize the current bandwagon. Uh-oh! No-one wants to sit at your table for morning tea.
They do not want the principal to think that they sympathise with your views. Not a good career move.
Initially the changes were just to revive the Maori language and culture. No harm there, and it had the goodwill of us all. That went well, so other changes followed. At first they were minor, a process of de-sensitisation, and then changes grew bolder by increments.
Pita Sharples utterances became even more ridiculous.
Other manifestations of creeping Maori influence in education that I have witnessed first hand are:
At Wairoa College, after being appointed to the job by the Board of trustees and commencing teaching duties, I was required to be observed teaching the subject of metalwork, by the Ministry Inspector for Maori Studies, (a rose by another name, for those who know to whom I refer). Was this to assess my suitability to teach Maori students? If she was a skilled engineer then it was not apparent.
Another lady inspector from the Ministry cruised into the workshop. She demanded to know ‘to what degree I had incorporated aspects of ‘Taha Maori’ into the metalwork programme’. I replied, “To the same degree as the Maori Studies Department has done with ‘Taha Metalwork’. I am still awaiting a supply of ships nails.” She was not amused and left the workshop.
An edict was passed down from the Ministry that signage in classrooms had to be displayed in both Maori and English languages. The principal informed teachers that: frequently used terms and glossaries should also be available with their Maori equivalents. Keen to comply, I sought to find Maori equivalents for: micrometer, calliper, oxy-acetylene, and so on, to no avail. I sent a memo to the HOD of the Maori Studies Department, asking for assistance. He told me to disregard it, since it was all BS. I had to agree, but wouldn’t it be nice if we could nail down the faceless individuals who put this stuff in motion.
The Maori Art & Crafts teacher plus other Maori teachers and students, held a ceremony to plant some ‘Pouwhenua’ in the school grounds. (No they’re not flowers.) These were duly blessed by a Ratana priest. Now they are tapu and cannot be interfered with. A lovely aesthetic touch don’t you think, but do Pakehas understand the political connotations, I think not. (Pouwhenua are carved poles, traditionally placed to stake out territory, or mark tapu locations. Take your pick.) Where was this headed I asked myself. Funny! I thought, this was a state school that belonged to everyone in the community. I do not recall any consultations with the wider community, it just happened, under the radar.
I, along with other new staff at the school, had to compulsorily attend a three day ‘Marae Course’. What the objective was, or if there was any benefit to the teachers concerned, I am not sure, but the Marae collected some nice kohas. Why it took three days, remains a mystery. Was it to assess our suitability to teach Maori students, AFTER we had been appointed by the Board of Trustees, or was it some statement, or subtle form of intimidation? You’re on our turf. At other schools, new teachers to the school generally receive a compulsory welcome onto the school marae. One hour. Charming. I can get to recite my whakapapa.
When I taught at Opotiki College, if any Maori student disrupted lessons, they were scheduled to be interviewed by the School Marae Committee, when it next convened. Non-Maori students were dealt with the same day and generally did detention. The difference in the results of the two protocols was markedly noticeable. There were no apologies or improvements in conduct from those students dealt with by the Marae Committee. Hang on! Isn’t this a race-based protocol? Isn’t that called ‘apartheid’? Oh no, silly me.
The Jim Moriarty Maori Drama Academy turned up at Opotiki College to give a performance. I do not recall the title of the performance, but what I do recall is the ‘race hate’ message of the play. It portrayed nasty pakehas and honourable Maoris. The acting was from the heart. I regarded the play content as offensive propaganda. I was astounded that the school administrators would allow such content into the school. The school administration routinely bent over backwards to appease the local iwi, (whose members had previously pulled down the NZ flag at the Council Building, hoisted the Kotahitanga flag and occupied the Council Chambers). Yes the school’s upper management resembled a croquet pitch. But never mind, the performance was an example that Maori were good actors and other young Maori would be similarly inspired. What was really remarkable was that non-Maori students had to compulsorily attend the performance, and pay an entry fee for the opportunity to be offended.
Whilst teaching at Wairoa College and again at Opotiki College, part-way through my mathematics classes there was a regular exodus of Maori students headed to ‘Kapa Haka’ practice. The consequence was, that these students missed out on so much learning in the subject, that they were not able to reach the required achievement levels in numeracy. Let’s blame it on the Pakeha system that does not address Maori students’ needs.
At the most recent school I taught in, the morning staff meetings had to begin with a ‘waiata’. We are doing this the Maori way, so get used to it.
A lot of this stuff is laughable BUT it is all evidence of a Maori agenda to manipulate the education system to their own ends.
They need to condition the teaching work-force to accept and implement their strategies without question or opposition.
In my examples above, note the number of times these Maori initiatives were compulsory.
‘Cultural Safety’ and political indoctrination are well entrenched into teacher training, as well as in nursing training. If you want to graduate then you must toe the political line. They call it cultural, but they are fooling no-one. A bit of web-surfing will produce the evidence. (The article I refer to, is in ‘Investigate’ Magazine Oct/Nov 2014, titled ‘Training Parrots’). I salute the author of that article for the conviction and courage to publicly voice their concern. I now add my voice to this cry and invite other teachers and nurses to raise the volume so that we are heard.
If you think that a Maori oriented education system will benefit the general populace of New Zealand, think again. The result would bring down the educational achievement levels of all ethnicities.
Not even Maori can deny that their education achievements need to rise, so that they can compete in the open job market. Non-Maori set the benchmark. It is for Maori to meet that challenge and not try to manipulate the system to achieve parity by de facto means. If the performance of our current Maori Minister of Education is a taste of what is to come, then God Defend New Zealand. I also question whether their ultimate objective relates not to achievement, language and culture, but to political ends.
Looking to the future, consider the following scenario:
A Maori initiative for the introduction of ‘A New History Of Aotearoa”. It would probably be edited by someone such as Sir Hugh Kawharu or Dr. Danny Keenan. This would be the exciting new history from a Maori perspective. It would have the objective of conditioning the up-coming generations to believe a fabricated history, according to the (discredited) Waitangi Tribunal. (The researchers for the book, might also have difficulty getting paid for their work, until they had portrayed the Maori as the aggrieved party). Written records of who said what would also be ‘reinterpreted’ regardless of eyewitness records to the contrary.
How much easier it would be in twenty years time, for Maori claims to gain a toehold, if the old history was replaced by the new history. To achieve this, Maori need to be able to pump this into the Education system without any opposition, and they are virtually there. The work force have been conditioned not to prod the sacred cow. The taxpayers will continue to fund Maori interests for eons, whilst the hospital waiting lists grow longer, because the Health system is deprived of the necessary funds.
Teachers who are currently employed in the system, and have woken up, are reluctant to make a stand under the present political and social climate. The teachers who are retired, are in a position to speak up without damage to their careers. They need to come forward and inform the general public of what has been, and still is, going on. So let’s have a few more retired teachers voice their anecdotes and opinions. If you say nothing, then this manifestation just festers away with dire consequences for the future. This topic needs to gain volume, so that politicians realise that it is an issue that must be addressed in their manifestos, for the next election.
By voicing my opinions on this controversial subject, I anticipate a tirade from enlightened, emancipated young teachers, freshly indoctrinated at university, with new world, politically correct and culturally safe views. Yes, I know, if you can’t take the heat then stay out of the kitchen. I am prepared to take the heat, but remember, I was once like you. The difference between you and me, is years of experience I education, that might well equate with the learning required to become a professor.
I was not born with opinions, they developed from my real experiences.
The examples that have formed my opinions, are far too common to be ignored.
If people are too scared to put their head above the parapet, then that is what Maori want.
It would be a relief to be proven wrong.
‘Investigate’ Magazine Oct/Nov 2014 – ‘Training Parrots’.