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Extra Exhibit at Auckland Festival of Education

Extra Exhibit at Auckland Festival of Education

Visitors to the Auckland Festival of Education yesterday were treated to an extra exhibit outside the venue in the form of a new installation entitled ‘Nga kura mauiui o Aotearoa / The sick New Zealand schools’.

The installation, by Martin Thrupp, Donn Ratana and Viv Aitken of the Faculty of Education at the University of Waikato, involves a traditional hospital bed holding a mattress dressed up in a school jersey. The jersey represents the patient, New Zealand schools. It is a little stained and frayed and the corner of the school badge has been repaired by hand, suggesting having to make do with limited resources. The patient is on a drip but that too is running out. A clipboard at the bottom of the bed makes it clear that the patient is sick because of receiving inappropriate treatment. The issues raised on the clipboard are:

• Exposed to GERM (Global Education Reform Movement)
• Bedbound under the weight of official requirements
• Required to believe Government elixirs are always the best
• Under-fed with a diet of mainly numeracy and literacy
• Patient records inappropriately displayed.
• Continuing Novopain
• Disregarded during the birth of charter schools
• Constantly criticised leading to a depressed state
• Fearful that the illness could be terminal
• Education festivals and ‘InspiredbyU’ campaign creating fresh bouts of nausea.
• 'Super-roles' contributing to the malaise
• Prognosis is poor however the patient could recover with more appropriate treatment

Thrupp said that the ‘Sick schools’ installation held important messages of concern about the Key Government’s education policies. It had been useful to take it to the Auckland Festival of Education because the original London Festival of Education had included an element of dissent but this had been largely missing from the New Zealand version. Thrupp said a university had hosted the London Festival of Education.

More information about the ‘Nga kura mauiui o Aotearoa / The sick New Zealand schools’ installation is available on the Save our Schools New Zealand website at

The installation is also on YouTube at


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