Ah, compulsory te reo Māori in mainstream schools. It’s a grazing table for politician-elects and a fear-inducing topic for overworked teachers. It’s been on the cards since 1972, when 33,000 people signed a petition approaching Government on the topic, but so far, it’s been a fruit too high to harvest.
O a ia Taumafa? O Taumafa Manogi, ua fa‘atusaina lea i le fa‘aaogaina o le Gagana e fafaga ai tama a Samoa e Faatonu, Fa‘asino, Faapoto ma Fesoota‘i ai. E leitioa fo‘i le Fa‘autaga ma le ‘au fai Tofā a fa‘apea mai: “O fānau a tagata e fafaga i ‘upu ma tala ‘ae ‘o tama a manu o fuga o lā‘au.”
When asked to share some reflections on my three years as NZEI Te Riu Roa President, I was prompted to think back to the very beginning of this journey.
It is great to have the opportunity to contribute to Ako. I am really pleased that this issue is focussed on language, as it is top of mind for me.
Child of the mist, Tame Iti, says that “history has woven us together. We are the basket, the kete, that holds the future!”
This winter 2019 issue of Ako focusses on community and the different ways it is evidenced within education.
Children do not exist in isolation; their lives are embedded in families, communities and societies. Nested within these communities are the schools and early childhood education (ECE) services children attend.
When my mother and I first arrived in New Zealand, she was 22 and I was four. We didn’t know anyone or anything. We had to learn how to use public transport, ATMs, how to buy groceries and clothes, pay bills – all while learning a whole new language. This was very overwhelming and isolating.
Australia is home to more than 250 distinct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations – diverse geo-cultural communities, each with their own traditional languages, customs and connections to Country/place.
It is widely acknowledged that engaging whānau and community in educational activities that support the learning of their children is mutually beneficial. It is also acknowledged that this is not always straightforward.