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Fiona Mackenzie

What’s really going on in our schools?

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If history has anything to teach us, it’s that we should never take anything for granted. We need to be vigilant in protecting what’s good about our society.

New Zealand has so much to be proud of. We have led the world by ensuring equality of all citizens before the law, introducing universal male and female sufferage, and we’ve largely had great and integrated race relations. So when the Ministry of Education starts demanding that schools give people of one ethnic descent superior rights to all others, the hackles ought to be rising.

We were forewarned when the Maori Party’s Pita Sharples (Associate Minister of Education in the National-lead Government) began talking about “cultural education”. Little did we realise he intended systematic brainwashing of our young people in schools.

The Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Update entitled “Treaty of Waitangi Principle” encapsulates this process. This edict was sent out last year after an Education Review Office report (2011) claimed that many schools were finding this “Principle” difficult to implement. Now their difficulty may be because this “Principle” is indefinable, let alone impractical, goes against the grain and all New Zealanders’ customary rights in our multi-cultural democracy – but that hurdle hasn’t stopped our radical bureaucracy.

Our schools are being told:

– The Treaty affords Maori a dual set of rights.

– Schools must consult with the local Maori community about the school’s direction.

– Te reo Maori should be promoted in school management (i.e. in day-to-day staff communication and admin), as well as teaching and learning.

– All pupils need to learn Maori, gain knowledge and experience of important Maori concepts and customs, and understand and celebrate the place of Maori as tangata whenua.

– Schools will learn to share power, control, and decision-making while validating the unique position of Maori and recognizing the contribution Maori make to education.

And the Update provides useful examples of how other model schools successfully carry out their indoctrination.

Why We’re Concerned

The Ministry’s Update is very disturbing because it goes way beyond the teaching of Maori content. It is a blatant attempt to change and control the behaviour of schools, teachers and students, to promote the “Maori world view” and to elevate “Maori” to a superior status not afforded anyone else.

 Race-based Discrimination

Equality before the law and democracy (along with property rights) have long proven to be the foundations of strong and prosperous economies. Yet here at home and certainly in this Ministry, these tenets are being aggressively and persistently undermined.

Increasingly we see that anyone with a teaspoon of Maori blood are being given greater rights than any other member of the population (with no corresponding emphasis on their responsibilities). Meanwhile other New Zealanders are required to pay tax to fund the double-dipping, dictatorial control or free ride of Maori advisory boards, consultants, politicians, activists, guardians, and the recipients of numerous race-based grants and subsidies.

Control by Consultation

Consultation with iwi is increasingly becoming a noose around our necks. It adds significant costs, delays and complexity to any process, on anyone’s land, often to no reasonable or democratic purpose.  It is also a misnomer in that we are obliged to meet any iwi demands.

Traditionally, schools have worked closely with their communities but to suggest they need to “share power, control, and decision-making while validating the unique position of Maori” is discriminatory, onerous and asking for trouble.  Think of John Key’s “sweet, little old lady”, Titiwhai Harawira and her family’s history of bullying behavior at Waitangi and elsewhere. They are just one example of what we can expect should a school and its entire community be made subservient to forces within the local marae.

Effective Communication

Learning the Maori language is a nice, cultural activity but it isn’t going to help New Zealanders get ahead. The purpose of language is to effectively communicate with as many people as possible. Being competent in te reo Maori may help get you a job with an iwi corporation and seems to be becoming a prerequisite for work as a government employee, but it certainly won’t help much anywhere else in the world.

English is considered the international language of business. Along with other high-growth languages such as Mandarin and Spanish, it’s what people choose to speak if they want a career and opportunities in an increasingly competitive world. Just as Gaelic is of cultural rather than commercial value, so is te reo Maori.

Our Future Depends on Quality Education

Education should be all about preparing children; giving them the skills to progress independently through life as adults capable of critical thought, earning a living, caring for families and contributing to society and the economy.

Will Maori-directed and dominated schooling adequately prepare our children for the future?  Competency in English, Mandarin, maths, the sciences or woodwork could be mighty useful……. but Maori?

Don’t get me wrong. All learning can be beneficial – but not at the expense of the truth, day-to-day realities and subjects necessary to living a self-supporting and rewarding life. Maori language and culture are an inherent and enjoyable part of our homeland but away from select parts of New Zealand, it is simply not in demand.  So should it be given this compulsory status, above everything and everyone else – above community, scientific and commercial realities in 2013?

Indoctrination an Unscrupulous Tool

We are certainly not alone in being subjected to those wanting to take control of our thoughts and opinions. Dictatorial political and religious movements have strived to control the masses for centuries, accounting for many a “third world country”.

But do laid-back (and oh so tolerant) Kiwis have the will to resist this mind control? Some school children are stifling yawns and moaning about the force-feeding of all things Maori.  Some students are complaining that academic rigour and open debate are casualties in Maori Studies’ departments. Some hardworking young people are seeing those claiming any Maori ancestry at all getting preferential treatment (i.e. funding, reserved places, lower course entry criteria and generous leeway over meeting term requirements) in tertiary institutes and are feeling resentful.

But will they, alone, have the will or the power to restore some balance to our education and political system? Or will they be like the rest of us – simply comply for the sake of not rocking the boat?

It takes a lot to stir we Kiwis up and we generally want to please or appease. With the pressure to earn a living, raise a family and pay more and more taxes, most do not even realise that we are well on our way down a very slippery slope. The constitutional reform being driven by the Maori Party will entrench an ever-expanding apartheid system and commit those without Maori blood to a permanent, second-class citizen status.

Time to Speak Out

For all the sake of New Zealanders, it is time to end this crusade for Maori domination. We need to face reality and go forward as one united country. While we should definitely celebrate our many cultures, it is vital to the health of our nation that we operate equally under the same rights and obligations. If we persist in trying to revert to 1840 tribalism, re-write history and make economic slaves of those with no Maori ancestry, our problems will only magnify and our futures will become very bleak.


Reference: The New Zealand Curriculum Update: The New Zealand Curriculum Treaty of Waitangi Principle”   “nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/content/download/…/NZC-update-16.pdf