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The Maori Party: Education Policy Launch

Education Policy Launch; Hato Petera College, Northcote, Auckland

Hone Harawira, Candidate for Waiariki

Dr Pita Sharples, Co-leader and Candidate for Tamaki Makaurau

Thursday 8 September 2005

"If it is true that education is the transfer of knowledge from one generation to the next, then who are we to charge our children for something that we got for free?

The Maori Party will:

- Ensure all children can read, write, count, speak and think with confidence; and to be bilingual;

- Support free, high quality education for all in Aotearoa, from pre-school to tertiary;

- Initiate cultural audits as part of the Education Review Office work programme;

- Develop the curriculum to include matauranga and te reo Maori, and the history and evolution of Aotearoa as a nation;

- Increase support for Maori-medium education at all levels;

- Increase te reo Maori teaching resources;

- Investigate development of iwi education authorities;

- Improve quality of teacher training and support, including teachers of te reo Maori;

Review operational grant funding for teaching support staff.

- Support free tertiary education for all New Zealanders;

- Introduce a iveable allowance for all students;

- Interest on all student loans waived immediately;

- Initiate a five year grace period for debt repayment once graduated;

- Existing loans to be repaid at 10% when earning above $60,000 (i.e. 150% of the average income);

- Commence a Review of the Performance Based Research Fund (PBRF).



Nelson Mandela said:

'Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world'. We believe education is an investment in our future, and that we must take comprehensive action to raise the well-being of all of our children in order to contribute to the genuine progress of the Nation. If we are to continue to contribute to the advancement of innovation and enterprise in Aotearoa, we need to deal with the enduring issues of concern to whanau, communities and the nation.

The Maori Party believes that regardless of the ability to pay, there must be opportunities for everyone to be successful to the highest levels of their potential. Over 100,000 New Zealand households experience low food security (where food runs out, sometimes or often).

300,000 children are living in households with incomes below the poverty line. We cannot be a successful nation if 300,000 are left out of the equation. Evidence has shown that school breakfast and lunch programmes can do much to address the physical and psychological harm caused by low food security, including addressing the particular issue of obesity. Children are more likely to attend school regularly and reach higher achievement levels.

There are many studies to show that the education, health, life-expectancy, and employment prospects of the children of families with low incomes are much worse than they are for children born to better-off parents. We need to take urgent action now to ensure the prospects of our future leaders.

Whakatau Whanau: Co-ordinators

- The Whakatau Whanau Co-ordinators will provide support, avocacy, and practical assistance in working with families, community and schools to address the impact of poverty upon families and children;

- The initiative will encourage partnership between business, community and government, to deal with the issue of poverty in tangible ways, such as providing breakfast in schools;

- The Whakatau Whanau co-ordinators will facilitate whanau support - with the purpose of working alongside whanau, supporting their ability to be self-determining and solution focused;

- The Whakatau Whanau co-ordinators will inform the work of the Whanau Development Commission;

- Whakatau Whanau co-ordinators will be located in ten communities;

- The project will receive $5m in start-up funding;

- The programme will target decile 1 and 2 schools - and pre-schools in neighbouring locations ;

- Strategies that may be considered as part of the programme are:

- organising breakfasts in preschool and schools resourced by government, business and community;

- developing clothing banks at the preschools and schools based on donations from the community;

- identifying what resources are necessary to ensure that children from low-income households are able to participate fully in school projects, camps, extra-curricula activities such as sport, music.


Government currently provides two specific initiatives for recruitment of Maori medium educators:

Teach NZ scholarships for Maori-medium pre-school / primary teachers: Currently there is no limit placed on the number of scholarships allocated.

Pouwhakataki roles - twenty face-to-face contact people who act as 'recruitment brokers' for the Ministry of Education, through attending hui, career expos, liaison with local whanau, hapu and iwi etc.

The critical factor is not so much recruitment - but more about retention and completion rates through to employment as Maori immersion teachers.

1 The Maori Party will establish a new initiative to foster two hundred students per year, through to graduation as Maori-medium teachers at kohanga reo, kura, wharekura and wananga. The programme will introduce a range of initiatives to create a supportive learning environment which will in turn, underlay a successful teaching experience, eg

- mentoring programmes,

- tracking them through as a whanau group/cohort with support,

- a national hui

- whanau support.

2 Review Teach NZ scholarships with a view to improving accessibility and establishing entry criteria and conditions which are fair and reasonable.

3 Recruitment mechanisms widened - all interested applicants to benefit from a tailored package put together for them, with components such as scholarships, academic support, childcare, finances, programme of study (content, location, duration) each being offered in way that can be custom-built for each student/group of students. Co-ordinators will be employed to open the possibility for more people to make the transition to study.

4. Resources to enhance retention - academic and pastoral mentoring initiatives, environmental changes to institutions; people to assist students to negotiate study and whanau responsibilities.


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