Labour’s policy on te reo M¯aori ‘short on details’
Broadcaster Stacey Morrison says the Government’s new policy on pushing te reo Ma¯ ori in schools needs serious clarification.
The co-author of Ma¯ ori at Home said any policy would face a teacher supply shortage due to a lack of fluent te reo speakers.
‘‘To say teachers will have the opportunity to learn te reo Ma¯ ori is a little oblique. What does this look like?’’ Morrison said.
Labour has promised every child, from early childhood education through to intermediate school, would have te reo Ma¯ ori integrated into their education by 2025.
Labour deputy leader Kelvin Davis confirmed this week that the $14 million policy will be implemented as part of the Government’s education policy.
‘‘We want this to be nonthreatening for teachers,’’ he said.
‘‘People will be in different places along the continuum in terms of te reo Ma¯ ori and we want them to help them.’’
When asked for specifics, Davis said the Government hoped both languages would be integrated into a single lesson.
‘‘Say the teachers are doing a social studies unit on the bush. We want teachers to be able to use Ma¯ori words for the names of animals, insects and trees. ‘‘
Henderson Massey Local Board member Will Flavell is currently researching the te reo Ma¯ori learning experiences of non-Maori secondary school students.
‘‘This is a bold move and a great step towards formalising or rather, naturalising, te reo Ma¯ ori,’’ the Labour Party member said.
However, he said he believed there were two significant challenges to implementing the policy.
‘‘To say teachers will have the opportunity to learn te reo Ma¯ ori is a little oblique. What does this look like?’’
‘‘First, community attitudes are really important,’’ Flavell said.
‘‘Younger kids don’t have the backlash against te reo Ma¯ ori that there can be with older people. The second issue is that the government has to commit to resourcing this properly.’’
Flavell said it was important to invest in te reo Ma¯ ori language from an early age.
‘‘The survival of the Ma¯ori language is fundamental to our identity as New Zealanders.’’
Broadcaster Stacey Morrison says she would like the Government to go further with its te reo Ma¯ori education policy.