Many cul­tures en­rich

The Northland Age - - Opinion - HAMIORA Kerik­eri

In the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, Maori cul­ture and te reo won’t make Maori stu­dents fully com­pet­i­tive. In early mis­sion­ary schools old c a t = cat phon­ics taught Maori to read and write English.

They were so keen many ended up writ­ing let­ters for un­e­d­u­cated Pakeha sailors and labour­ers who were il­lit­er­ate.

Many teach­ers in the North did their best to give te reo a boost along with song and dance. Many did their best to pass on the sto­ries of Kupe, Ra­here and Heke ask­ing, “How much of Lon­don could I trade for these blan­kets?”

Le­gends and sto­ries not all par­ents were too fa­mil­iar with.

Maori chil­dren’s her­itage, very pre­cious and some­thing Pakeha chil­dren should have knowl­edge of. How­ever, it just isn’t enough.

As well as Maori po­ets the bril­liant Bri­tish, Ir­ish and Scot­tish po­ets. Beau­ti­ful Neapoli­tan songs, and an ex­cit­ing tra­di­tional Rus­sian song, a Welsh choir. The found­ing doc­u­ment of the United States. Pa­nia of the Reef, but also tell the story of Den­mark’s Lit­tle Mer­maid.

Chil­dren in small groups with an ex­pert maths teacher, away from a large class with its noise and dis­trac­tion, will achieve more real un­der­stand­ing in 10 min­utes. Sim­ple tales of fa­mous peo­ple from the world over. Cul­tures and mighty achieve­ments of many as well as Maori.

Teach­ers with the skills to hold the at­ten­tion of much smaller classes teach­ing to a well-bal­anced syl­labus free of the re­straints im­posed by pen­cil­push­ers, who in their minds have suc­ceeded once they es­cape the dreaded class­room.

I saw a school concert with haka and action songs. The par­ents were rapt. Then came along a spir­ited tra­di­tional Rus­sian song. The ta­mariki loved per­form­ing it, but some Maori par­ents weren’t happy with it. That was real dumb.

We need the best of all cul­tures.

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