Labour versus Maori and Partnership Schools

When announcing two new partnership schools ACT’s David Seymour blasted ‘relentless negative attacks’ on the education alternatives.

…they had also found themselves “the constant focus of relentlessly negative attacks” from other sectors of the education system who seemed to believe that the education system was funded for them, rather than for kids.

“I don’t think it is entirely fair that our Partnership school sponsors have had to be their own PR agents while also setting up schools in quite heroic and successful ways but nevertheless that is part of the reality they face.”

The Labour Party has strongly opposed partnership schools (aka charter schools), led by education spokesperson Chris Hipkins who seems to be closely associated with teacher unions.

The two new partnership schools that will open next year both aim to provide education leading to employment for Maori children. If Labour was serious about representing their Maori constituency they would recognise the potential benefits of fixing parts of our current education system that are failing many Maori kids.



From a closing address Hipkins gave to Te Ara Whakamana Pathways and Transitions Forum:

Our education system needs to prepare our young people for a world we can’t yet imagine. We might not be able to imagine ‘what’ they will be doing, but we can predict with a reasonable degree of certainly some of the attributes they’ll need if they are going to succeed.

Far from having a ‘job for life’ they can expect to chop and change careers on a regular basis. They will probably undertake a range of different types of work, some salaried, some contracted, some in a workplace, some from home.

Subject specific knowledge and technical skills will be a lot less important, transferable skills will be essential. Attitude and aptitude will be just as important, if not more important, than qualifications.

That poses enormous challenges for the education system and here, as around the world, we’re only just beginning to grapple with those.

The current focus on standardisation and measurement works against adapting the education system to the needs of the modern world. Those policies seek to refine a system that was well suited to the last century, but simply won’t cut it in the future.

Our focus has to be on a much more personalised learning experience, one that brings out the best in each and every individual. No two people are built exactly the same so we should stop forcing the education system to treat them as if they are.

One way to stop forcing the education system to provide more personalised learning experiences is through partnership schools. They provide an alternative for the many kids, by some counts a quarter, who are failing in the state system.

I want young New Zealanders to undertake courses of learning and study that leave their options as wide open as possible. Closer partnerships between schools, tertiary education providers, and industry will be vital.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean kids should be learning job-specific skills at school.

Job-specific skills are best learnt where they will be used – on the job. But a closer partnership between education and industry will result in a much greater emphasis on transferable skills, and less of an emphasis on subjects and credit accumulation.

One of the new partnership schools just announced:

  • Napier – Te Aratika Academy: a single sex (male) senior secondary school for years 11 to 13. It will have a vocationally-focused kaupapa Māori special character, and will target male Māori students. Sponsored by Te Aratika Charitable Trust. An opening roll of 67, with a maximum of 200 by 2019.

Te Aratika Charitable Trust is a new charitable trust formed by Te Aratika Drilling, a civil construction firm across the North Island.

Ronnie Rochel, the director of the company, said that since 1998 she had been working and mentoring young men.

“I am passionate about providing a platform for change,” she said.

She saw many young boys come in to apply for jobs and although they had been through the school system, they were were not employment-ready.

Sounds a lot like what Hipkins suggests – except that it isn’t under the control of the teacher unions that seem to have Hipkins as their spokesperson and seem to oppose diversification of education.

Partnership schools are one way of providing more personalised education and vocational preparation. Maori groups in particular see them as a more effective alternative for kids currently failing.

Will Labour put kids and Maori educational interests first?

Or do they have too close a partnership with teachers’ unions and don’t really want diversification beyond their control?

Duff versus Harawira

In a Herald column Alan Duff writes that Maoridom needs Hone Harawira back in politics like a hole in a waka (he said head but I like waka in it’s place).

The bone-headed fighter? No thanks

Oh dear. Maoridom needs Hone Harawira back in politics like the proverbial hole in the head. He couldn’t get on with the Maori Party, founded the Mana Party, had a bromance with the gifted but flawed German, Kim Dotcom. And when the admirable Kelvin Davis thrashed him in the last election, who does he turn on? Dotcom. But of course others, too.

A man with a hero-complex is not what Maoridom needs. They – our people – do not need someone pandering to our lowest common denominator, telling them their failures are not their fault but the fault of rich white people, greedy capitalists, a stacked system, government, all on the assumption these people are incapable of helping themselves.

Not once have we heard offered a solution to “poor” people’s woes, to “poverty.” He came up with no ideas on creating employment. Nor use of Northland Maori land.

No ideas on instilling an education ethos in the outlook of the very culture of those he claims to be fighting for. His ideas were and still are zilch.

He hasn’t demonstrated by a single gesture that maybe he should take a less hardline stance. Oh, no. Not Hone. He’s the self-described “fighter.” Whoopee, that’s gonna put a lot of Maori into their own homes and give them jobs, lift us up to the educated, aspiring middle class, a scrapper representing us.

Duff continues to pile into Harawira, then continues:

The last thing we need are bloody bone-headed fighters. Sure, genetically, we’ve all got the warrior in us. But for God’s sake know when to apply it and certainly not to advancing the Maori race.

We need our woman elevated to absolutely equal status. Not this outdated model of assigning women seats behind the front row because – yeah, sure – they need the males to protect them. Yes, women do need protecting – from too many of our Maori males. Too many of our kids need protecting from adult Maori males.

That’s a valid point but is on a much wider Maori issue than Harawira.

Maoridom doesn’t need tough-guy rhetoric, or protest for its own sake, a ceaseless outpour of negativity and blame-laying. In case you’re not aware, Hone, we’ve long used role models at our schools to give positive messages like: “It’s cool to read. It’s cool to aspire.” That’s all. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

Not for Hone. He wants to make it a scrap, a brawl, a war of insults and sarcasm. The man who thought Helen Clark getting “the bash” when she was mobbed by protesters at Te Tii Marae was not so bad.

Protest is useful if used wisely and sparingly – it’s important to pick fights that can be won rather than be a perpetual scrapper.

We knew he’d be back because he loves a scrap and loves being a heroic warrior figure.

He could try sitting down with people who are reasonable and come up with solutions to end Maori poverty and all our other problems.

This half-Maori columnist certainly believes Maori have a bright future, if only we could shut down the negative messages.

Or at least get the positive and constructive messages out there louder and more often so there is more prominence than the victim movement.

Not surprisngly the Bradbury promotion is giving Harawira an airing – Exclusive to Waatea 5th Estate 7pm tonight – Hone Harawira & Marama Fox

The soft and loud of “Pākehā”

(I have posted and reposted this in 2012 and 2014 but some who haven’t seen it might be interested).

I’ve often wondered what ethnicity to call myself.

I’ve never felt anything like “European”.  I only recently visited Europe for the first time in my life, and didn’t go to the countries my ancestors emigrated from.

— adj
1.     of or relating to Europe or its inhabitants
2.     native to or derived from Europe
— n
3.     a native or inhabitant of Europe
4.     a person of European descent

I’m of European descent, but then a lot of the world except Africa could probably claim some European link. Anyway, I see “European” as having a link to Europe now, not some time in the distant past.

“Caucasian” is another term sometimes used but it sounds more remote to me than European.

Anthropology . of, pertaining to, or characteristic of one of the traditional racial divisions of humankind, marked by fair to dark skin, straight to tightly curled hair, and light to very dark eyes, and originally inhabiting Europe, parts of North Africa, western Asia, and India: no longer in technical use.

So technically, that’s not me either.

usage: The word Caucasian  is very widely used in the US to refer to people of European origin or people who are White, even though the original classification was broader than this

And I have no US heritage so ruled out there too.

So I should be using some local description. I certainly identify as a New Zealander and a Kiwi, so in a wider sense that is appropriate.

As slang for “a New Zealander,” it is attested from 1918.

That sounds fine, but it isn’t universally known. I was talking to an American once who only knew a kiwi as a brown furry fruit, the sort that was called a Chinese gooseberry back in the old days.

New Zealander
— n
a native or inhabitant of New Zealand

Yip, I’m one of those. But what sort of a New Zealander am I?

I was put off a common native language description, Pākehā, because I’ve heard some fairly derogatory “definitions” relating to fleas or fat pigs, but I’ve done some research that pretty much rules them out. What does Pākehā mean then?

1. (loan) (noun) New Zealander of European descent.
Te rongonga o te Māori i te reo kihi, hoihoi, o Kāpene Kuki rātou ko ōna hōia ka kīia e te Māori he Pakepakehā, ka whakapotoa nei ki te Pākehā. Nā te Māori tēnei ingoa i hua e mau nei anō (TP 1/1911:5). / When the Māori heard the soft and loud sounds of the language of Captain Cook and his sailors the Māori called them ‘Pakepakehā’, which was shortened to ‘Pākehā’. The Māori created this name. which is still used.

That sounds reasonable enough. What else is known about it? From Wikipedia:

There have been several dubious interpretations given to the word Pākehā. One claims that it derives from poaka the Māori word for (pig), and keha, one of the Māori words for (flea), and therefore expresses derogatory implications. There is no etymological or linguistic support for this notion.

Although some are apparently offended I’m happy with the derogatory versions being ruled out.

The origins of the term are unclear, but it was in use by the late 18th century. Opinions of the term vary amongst those it describes. Some find it highly offensive, others are indifferent, some find it inaccurate and archaic, while some happily use the term and find the main alternatives such as New Zealand European inappropriate.

New Zealand European seems very strange, associating opposites, like an Arctic penguin.

Historian Judith Binney called herself a Pākehā and said, “I think it is the most simple and practical term. It is a name given to us by Māori. It has no pejorative associations like people think it does — it’s a descriptive term. I think it’s nice to have a name the people who live here gave you, because that’s what I am.

I can comfortably agree with that.

So depending on the circumstance I’m happy to describe myself as any of New Zealander, Kiwi or Pākehā.

New Zealand land wars

From The Encylopedia of New Zealand: Story: New Zealand wars

In the 1840s and 1860s conflict over sovereignty and land led to battles between government forces and some Māori tribes. The most sustained campaign was the clash between the Māori king and the Crown. Land confiscations to punish tribes that fought against the Crown have left a long legacy of grievances.

The Short Story

A quick, easy summary

Read the Full Story

The New Zealand wars were a series of 19th-century battles between some Māori tribes and government forces (which included British and colonial troops and their Māori allies, known as kūpapa).


In March 1845 Ngāpuhi led by Hōne Heke Pōkai attacked and destroyed Kororāreka (later Russell). His men fought British troops and other Ngāpuhi led by Tāmati Wāka Nene, until January 1846.


In July 1846 Governor George Grey arrested Ngāti Toa chief Te Rauparaha, whom he blamed for attacks on settlers. A rescue attempt failed, and government forces pursued Ngāti Toa and their allies into the hills behind Pāuatahanui.


Tensions between Whanganui Māori and settlers were heightened in 1846–47 by the arrival of British troops, the wounding of a chief and the hanging of Māori who killed four Europeans. Upriver Māori attacked Whanganui town, and after a battle at St John’s Wood a peace agreement was reached.


Many Taranaki Māori opposed land sales, and in 1860 there was conflict over a land purchase at Waitara. The British army invaded, and there was fighting until March 1861.

In 1865 there were battles in South Taranaki, and Major General Trevor Chute led troops around Mt Taranaki, destroying Māori villages.


The Waikato was the home of the Māori king. The government wanted to punish his followers who had fought in Taranaki, and to make Waikato land available to settlers. Troops invaded in July 1863. War continued until April 1864, when King movement followers withdrew into what became known as the King Country.


British troops were sent to Tauranga in 1864. Rāwiri Puhirake’s men repelled a British attack on Pukehinahina (Gate ), but were later defeated.

Prophetic movements

Māori prophetic movements emerged to resist land loss. Some tribes opposed these movements, and numbers of kūpapa increased. The British government also began to withdraw troops.

In 1864 supporters of the Pai Mārire faith attacked British forces in Taranaki, and were defeated on Moutoa Island by lower-river Whanganui Māori. Pai Mārire spread to the East Coast, where its supporters were defeated by the armed constabulary.


Ngā Ruahine leader Riwha Tītokowaru wanted to defend Māori land in South Taranaki as settlers moved in and land was confiscated. He fought government troops and Whanganui Māori in 1868–69.

Te Kooti

Te Kooti Arikirangi Te Tūruki had been imprisoned on the Chatham Islands, where he developed the Ringatū faith. In July 1868 he escaped and returned to Gisborne, with 268 followers. He fled inland, and was pursued by the armed constabulary for almost four years.

Long-term impact

Figures are uncertain, but about 500 British and colonial forces, 250 kūpapa and 2,000 Māori fighting the Crown may have died in the wars. Māori who had fought the Crown lost large areas of land – about 1 million hectares in total.

Read The Full Story

Maori wards on every district council?

The Maori Party wants law change that requires Maori wards on every district council in New Zealand.

NZ Herald: Maori Party calls for law change

Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell will present a petition to Parliament at the urging of New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd, who championed the creation of a Maori ward in his city – a move blocked by a public vote last year.

Under existing legislation, councils can choose to establish Maori wards. However, if 5 per cent of voters sign a petition opposed to such a move, the decision then goes to a binding referendum.

Mr Flavell said mandatory Maori wards on every council would give tangata whenua better representation at local government, and would better reflect the make-up of communities.

“Everyone is aware of the low participation of Maori in local government and the existing legislation is clearly inadequate,” he said.

“A change is long overdue. The fact that 5 percent of the voting public can challenge any decision related to Maori representation is disheartening and means Maori will almost always be defeated in this process. How is it fair that mechanisms such as these can apply?”

This would be likely to be highly controversial in some districts.

Another approach would be for the Maori Party and other Maori groups to encourage more Maori candidates and help improve the quality of Maori candidates, giving them more chance of being elected under the existing system.

And to find ways of motivating more Maori to vote. That’s a challenge especially in local body elections where voter interest usually struggles, but there is opportunities for special interest groups – like Maori groups – to organise far better and get better candidates to stand.

Treaty and Maori sovereignty

In a followup to yesterday’s post Korero about Te Tiriti o Waitangi here is a guest post on the Treaty of Waitangi and Maori sovereignty from Dr Scott Hamilton.

Alan Wilkinson claims that ‘It is perfectly clear that the Maori signing the Treaty knew and accepted that they would have to obey British law from that time on.’

As someone who has spent too much time in musty rooms reading nineteenth century documents, I want to ask whether Alan’s confidence in his interpretation of the intentions of the men who signed the Treaty might be misplaced.

Anyone who has studied the behaviour of the British Empire in the nineteenth century ought to be able to appreciate the difficulty of the idea that the British were very interested in imposing their laws and institutions on a small and strategically unimportant colony at the bottom of the world inhabited by a well-armed indigenous people. The British were masters of indirect rule. Even in India, the jewel in their colonial crown, they often ruled by giving local factions a large degree of autonomy.

And anyone who has read about nineteenth century Maori society is also likely to be incredulous at the idea that the proud and tooled up rangatira of Nga Puhi and so many other iwi would surrender their mana to a handful of British bureaucrats who lacked much armed backup and had repeatedly promised them that the Treaty of Waitangi wouldn’t mean a surrender of sovereignty.

If Alan thinks that everyone accepted that the Treaty meant Maori had ceded sovereignty in the nineteenth century, and had agreed to follow British laws, and that it is only relatively recently that a new interpretation has developed, then he should jump on Papers Past or read Keith Sinclair’s classic book Origins of the Maori Wars, and look at what the leaders of the colonial governments of NZ were saying when they waged war against Maori in the 1860s.

Colonial Premiers like Alfred Domett, who presided over the invasion of the Waikato in 1863, absolutely despised the Treaty, and continually described it as an irrelevant document. They held this view because, according to the Maori who had set up the King Movement and other ‘rebellious’ organisations and also according to the colonial office in London, the Treaty really did allow for Maori to exercise legal authority within their rohe.

The British would hardly have inserted article 71 into the Constitution Act of 1852 if they believed that the Treaty was incompatible with Maori legal autonomy. Article 71 states quite clearly that Maori tribes may run their realms and make their own laws if the British governor or the colonial assembly agrees.

Vincent O’Malley has pointed out that in 1861, when Governor Gore Browne sided with the land-hungry settlers in the colonial assembly and prepared to start a war to suppress the de facto state the King Movement had established in the Waikato, his superiors in London rebuked him, and urged him to use article 71, and let the Kingites run their own affairs and make their own laws.

Like the American constitution, the Treaty is a document that inevitably means different things to different people at different times. It is up to us to decide what the Treaty means today.

But the question of what most Maori and the British Crown and settlers thought the Treaty meant in 1840 and for decades after is relatively easy to answer. We only have to look at what Maori and British and settlers did and said to see that they believed that the document did not extinguish all Maori sovereignty, and did not preclude the possibility of Maori making their own laws.

PS Let me just offer a link to something I wrote a couple of years back in response to Kitty’s claim that ‘Maori were not the first people here anyway’:

Korero about Te Tiriti o Waitangi


Morena Aotearoa. Let’s have a korero about Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

First off, can everyone please stop calling it the Treaty of Waitangi.That refers to an unsigned English translation of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Te Tiriti o Waitangi is an agreement in Te Reo Māori which guarantees kawanatanga to the British and Tino Rangatiratanga to Māori.

Kawanatanga is a transliteration of governor taken from the reference to kawana in the Māori translation of the bible in reference to the Roman governors in place throughout the occupied territories of the Roman Empire. These roles were peace keeping more than anything.

At the time, the main thrust of the Māori request for intervention by the British was to provide policing over the lawless hordes of Pākehā who had settled in the North. Local Māori had become increasingly nervous about imposing Tikanga over the immigrants.

Tino Rangatiratanga refers to the absolute right of Māori to control their own affairs over their home territories, people, & resources.

Read together, Kawanatanga & Tino Rangatiratanga set up a dual governing arrangement with Māori & British responsible for their own people.

And this is how it operated for about a decade after the signing nationally, and for another 60-70 years in other parts of the country.

Te Rohe Pōtae, for instance, remained largely self governing until the late 19th, early 20th century.

This is useful, I’ve learnt something from it.

Self government and responsibility for one’s own people becomes tricky where and when extensive integration has occurred.

Under TToW, Māori never ceded sovereignty. This is not an opinion but a matter of law as determined by the Waitangi Tribunal.

But while Māori sovereignty remains intact, the practice of sovereignty has been usurped by the Crown primarily through occupation & force.

We are seeing Māori start to reclaim their sovereign practice through a range of activities that give expression to Tino Rangatiratanga.

And the more these progress, the more Pākehā NZ will have to become comfortable with models of dual sovereignty so common elsewhere.

And finally, the principles of the Treaty, as 1st laid down in the 1987 Lands Case, provide a good framework for the Māori-Crown relationship.

Principles such as partnership, consultation, active protection, the right to development, and so on form the basis of Crown engagement and provide a legal framework for assessing breaches of Te Tiriti by the Crown. Which is why the Waitangi Tribunal performs an important function in NZ society as the arbiter of that relationship and the adherence of both parties to Te Tiriti and its principles.

Hope you found some of that enlightening, and provides some ideas for reflection as we recognise today the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Certainly some ideas for reflection there.

Too many Maori, not enough chiefs

Breakfast has just had two contradictory items on the continuing mess at Waitangi.

First they interviewed Manu Paul who slammed John Key for trying to bring talk about the TPPA to Waitangi.

They have followed that with “former politician” Hone Harawira slamming Key for not coming to Waitangi to discuss the TPPA in the political debate tent he is organising.

Paul criticised Key for poor communication. The problem is who the hell should key communicate with?

Some say Key should talk to Maori about their issues. Others say they would have done everything the could to stop Key from talking there.

Too many Maori and not enough chiefs?


It’s sad to see how much Waitangi Day has become an excuse to have a political slanging match. Any celebratory aspects of an important commemoration are overshadowed by attention seekers being given attention by media.

No wonder much of the country ignores or derides the activist antics in the far north.

There’s ongoing controversy about whether Prime Minister John Key will attend this year.

Ludicrously, with claims that the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement was undemocratic and denied consultation, some are suggesting that Key be allowed to attend as long as he doesn’t speak.

So he is supposed to front up and remain silent in front of a haranguing?

This year the TPPA is receiving most of the focus and criticism, but if we weren’t having the signing this week the annual activist uprising would have something else to moan about.

To many people Waitangi Day is being taken over by opportunist activists, most of whom are from one small part of the country.

Just now on Breakfast:

“Let’s not lose sight of why protesters are upset. They are using Waitangi as a ground to protest the TPPA” MP Kris Faafoi

But protesters are ‘upset’ every year. They are perpetually upset. The TPPA just happens to be this year’s excuse to protest against the government of the day.

Many other centres have far more respectful commemorations of Waitangi Day but because they are uneventful they get little coverage.

So most of the country abhor or ignore what should be an important day for us, I suspect many Maori included.

There are still valid concerns about Treaty issues – from both Maori and non-Maori. And there are valid concerns about social problems in New Zealand.

But it’s a real shame that the closest thing we have to a national day is dominated by a small minority bickering, grandstanding and continuing with their perpetual whining.

Like any country we have unresolved differences and problems.

But surely we also have much we could be celebrating, together. This looks unlikely to happen with what has become Waislangy Day.

Waitangi could lead celebrations of what a relatively great country New Zealand has become, and there’s some attempt to do that, but the day and week are hijacked by harassing hordes.

Mixed Māori messages on TPPA

There are mixed messages from Māori interests over the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, with some individuals and groups strongly against it, while groups with business interests can see potential benefits for Māori .

Protests are expected at Waitangi this week, and a hikoi is on it’s way from Cape Reinga, with Hone Harawira coming out of his political hiatus.

Māori Television reports Hikoi against TPPA sends loud message from Māori:

Mana Party Leader, Hone Harawira says, “The TPPA is a new treaty or covenant by which government can steal, usurp our sovereign rights.  So I’m calling on the public to be united to retain our sovereign rights and not just sit hopelessly allowing it to happen.”

“If the horse has already bolted then it’s our Prime Minister who opened the gate and that’s the issue.  We must get rid of him and create a Māori government and a Māori parliament that will rid us of this deal that is no good for this country or its people.”

The march may have only just begun but it’s already attracting support from a diverse range of groups.

Heeni Hoterene says, “This march is bringing a whole range of diverse groups together all in opposition to the TPPA.”

Of course all groups who join an anti-TPPA hikoi will be in opposition to the TPPA.

But not all Māori groups are against the TPPA. NZ Herald reports: Māori see TPP benefits, risks

Some Māori business leaders say there are risks with the Trans Pacific Partnership, but people should look at it again to see the benefits it offers for the Maori economy.

Harawira is not likely to look at it again, but some Māori groups see potential benefits.

Paul Majurey, chair of the Hauraki Collective:

The Maori economy has been estimated at $40 billion and Auckland lawyer Paul Majurey, chair of the Hauraki Collective, said Pare Hauraki’s fishing and aquaculture assets would benefit and the trust was supportive of the deal.

It already exported to China and Japan and the TPP would open access to Japan where fish products faced stiff tariffs.

The agreement would also allow Maori to form partnerships with investors from those countries, as happened under the China FTA.

He said there were risks and it was natural Maori would be concerned about sovereignty and the erosion of Treaty of Waitangi rights.

“There are issues and question marks with any international agreement that involves our sovereignty.”

He said the TPP protected the Treaty and reserved the right to protect rights to traditional knowledge and plants, according to the Wai 262 finding.

Traci Houpapa, the chair of the Federation of Maori Authorities (Foma)…

…said the TPP had obvious benefits for Maori exporters and businesses and that would flow through to communities.

She said New Zealand could not miss the chance to sit with global heavyweights such as the US and Japan, and hoped consultation on the agreement over coming months would provide Maori with assurances about the Treaty partnership.

“People are wanting assurances that partnership is in place and isn’t impacted by the TPP.”

She was comfortable that other trade agreements had upheld the Treaty.

“And our expectation is this Government will do the same,” she said.

She said New Zealand was the only country with protections for indigenous rights in the trade agreement.

Taranaki-based Parininihi ki Waitotara chair Hinerangi Raumati…

…said most of the assets were in dairy and while the deal did not deliver as much as had been hoped for, she did not believe it was something to be scared about.

“If it benefits the New Zealand economy, it’s got to be benefiting the Maori economy and I guess we’ll see that in time.”

The protesters are likely to get much more media coverage than the supporters.