Compulsory te Reo Māori in schools?

Te Wiki o te Reo Māori  (Māori  Language Week) is being used to promote wider use of the language, and calling for compulsory te reo Māori in schools.

There has been some teaching of te reo Māori in schools for years, like days of the week, counting in Māori and other basics alongside cultural awareness and more. Schools in Dunedin with very small numbers of Māori pupils have popular kapa haka groups.

So I think the question is how much te reo Māori (and Māori  culture and history) should be taught in schools.

I’m happy for a continuation of what is being done with te Reo Māori in primary schools now, and perhaps an increase, alongside all the other specific and general topics on the curriculum. Fundamentals like reading, writing and arithmetic are essential, as well as art, music and physical education. Māori history, Aotearoa history and new Zealand history are important for kids to know something about.

All of these subjects are compulsory at Primary level now, so there’s no reason to change that. One question is whether to increase how much is taught.

And probably the biggest question is whether conversational Māori should be taught. I’d be happy if it was, to an extent. It should at least be promoted as a positive thing to learn.

But when it comes to Secondary level I don’t think Māori should be compulsory. Most subjects at this level should be choices for pupils.

Is English still compulsory? I expect so, and I think there’s a good case for this, especially to say Form 5 (now year 11). Everyone benefits from a good working knowledge of English in this country, and it is useful in many places around the world.

But I think that Māori, and French and Japanese and Chinese and any other languages, should be optional rather than compulsory at Secondary school.

 

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19 Comments

  1. artcroft

     /  September 11, 2018

    Agreed.

    Reply
  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  September 11, 2018

    It’s quite alarming how much media group think as someone said yesterday is displayed on this kimd of campaign.

    Reply
  3. Griff.

     /  September 11, 2018

    Māori history, Aotearoa history and new Zealand history are important for kids to know something about.

    I would wholeheartedly agree a good understanding history is important to understand who we are.
    However what they teach is propaganda not history,
    Rubbish like Maori wanted protection from those lawless settlers .
    During a period were inter tribal wars had slaughtered 25 to 50% of the Maori population. 60,000 well armed, battle hardened Maori were really scared of the 2,000 odd hardworking settlers living mostly around Russel focused on whaling, sealing or logging .
    If you read the history, the accounts written at the time. you understand were that idea comes from and why it is prejudiced . Instead they warp the account to paint a picture of hard done by natives subjected to abuse by colonial oppressors .

    We have falling education standards in this country.
    We should focus on getting the basics right before we start introducing distractions like a obsolete language that almost no one speaks. There is a place in New Zealand English for Maori words. Understanding enough to know the meaning of common place names would be worthwhile. Insisting limited resources are directed at being fluent enough to hold a conversation is a step to far.

    Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  September 11, 2018

    maybe they should just offer it as an ‘elective’ option.. for willing students, similar to other languages.

    when I was at school, we did ‘Social Studies’ (mixture of history, geography & other relevant issues) I would have been happy to have ‘introductory Te Reo’ as part of this course :/

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  September 11, 2018

      Zedd you should have seen Social Studies in my day. Could tell you every major river, hill industry, city etc etc of the UK. Never learnt much of NZ.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 11, 2018

        We had NZ history and geography as well as learning about the rest of the world. We learned some Maori, had action songs and that sort of thing. We made and used pois (not that I was much good at that) and I seem to remember some sort of string game.

        We learned about the settlers, Hone Heke, the moa, the Moriori….Hinemoa and Tutanekai, Maui and the old legends….

        Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  September 11, 2018

      It is available as am elective in many schools plus people can opt for full immersion as well if they want

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 11, 2018

        Immersion is a two-edged sword. If someone wants to work anywhere but NZ, English MUST be their first language, this is just being realistic. English is the lingua franca of the world now and anyone who doesn’t have it is at a major disadvantage.

        Reply
        • NOEL

           /  September 11, 2018

          Ironically during my walk this morning a Chinese couple with very little English asked me where the tourist park was. Bit a of slow start by me to endeavor to understand what they wanted then the man passed me a phone with Chinese the web page and indicated that I listen. Translator app appeared to work as he nodded at my directions.

          Reply
  5. phantom snowflake

     /  September 11, 2018

    The floating of the idea that Te Reo Maori become a core subject in schools (Compulsory!) has caused a massive meltdown of right wing snowflakes. (+ Griff) And It was all quite unnecessary.
    What the Government should have done was set a directional goal of incrementally increasing the numbers of Te Reo Maori teachers and the availability of optional Te Reo in schools, and addressed the issue of “core subject”/”compulsory” at such future time as the resources were such as to make it a viable option.
    At this point the climate regarding Te Reo is likely to have changed due to: (a) increased Te Reo in schools having demonstrably not produced some kind of cataclysm, and (b) many of the dinosaurs who are currently so vocal having died off.

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  September 11, 2018

      Typical socialist. “Solve” a problem affecting 10% of the population by penalising the 90% unaffected. Produce a workforce capable only of entertaining tourists or bureaucratic paper pushing.

      Reply
      • phantom snowflake

         /  September 11, 2018

        I’m at a bit of a loss as to how to respond to you; there is so much distance between our respective worldviews that I am unable to bridge the gap. Is that utter contempt for Te Reo that I’m hearing, in that it’s a penalty to 90% of the population and only fit for tourism and bureaucracy?? Some kind of visceral disgust maybe?

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  September 11, 2018

          No disgust at the language. It’s an innocent party. Disgust at the stupidity of those who want to force it on the nation’s population.

          Reply
    • Griff.

       /  September 11, 2018

      (Compulsory!) has caused a massive meltdown of right wing snowflakes. (+ Griff)

      Still trying to work out if thats a complement or not.
      I think i will file it under dammed with faint praise..

      Reply
    • Trevors_elbow

       /  September 12, 2018

      Snowflakes oh gee… so hurtful!!!

      If Maori want Te Reo to survive the impetus needs to come from within.

      They have had 30 odd years of funding and pushing the message and it’s still dying… Te Reo is obviously of little utility to Maori themselves

      Compulsion wont work. You try it and any number of parents will tell their children to ignore the I destruction and focus on other subjects…

      Any politician who fronts compulsion will get arse carded at the polls

      Reply

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