Letter to the editor: Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Whangaroa
I am writing in response to the press release from Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Whangaroa whanau published on Scoop yesterday (1 September) and dated 28 August. [http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/ED1409/S00004/te-kura-kaupapa-maori-o-whangaroa.htm]
The press release states that the Ministry of Education and the media are confused about the “real issues in relation to what has occurred at the kura”. As the spokesperson for the whanau who left I respectfully suggest that it is the press release which is confused. We as a whanau have been clear from the outset that the issue is, and has always been, the safety of our tamariki. The Whanau Chairman refused to engage with us about tamariki safety, and indeed arrogantly told us that the problem was with us – we didn’t understand the kaupapa. As a whanau we had very real and escalating concerns about the physical safety of children, the lack of a formal election process and a lack of transparency and accountability in kura governance dating from June 2013 – the time the “Board” was “elected”. As a result, we felt we had no option but to withdraw our children to protect them and pursue redress another way. This is what we have done and we wholeheartedly support the presence of Mr Forbes in the kura, because he has listened to our concerns, respected our privacy and provided us with a chance, finally, to address these issues and put them behind us and put our children and their education in te reo Maori first. That is much more than can be said for the former “Board” who have tried to obstruct this process at every turn and have resorted to personal attacks on “disaffected parents” who didn’t agree with them. The “voluntary election” the press release speaks of was found to be illegal and has been shut down by the Ministry of Education after unauthorised advertisements appeared in the Northern Advocate. The election will not be happening and we support Commissioner Larry Forbes’ continuing involvement until a proper and legal election can be held under his direction.