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Labour Spins Another Yarn

Labour Spins Another Yarn

Dr Pita Sharples; Co-leader, Maori Party

Tuesday 12 September 2006

The Minister of Education, Steve Maharey, today confirmed that New Zealand students will not be able to respect and understand Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the basis of our modern democracy, given it is no longer a key feature of the school curriculum.

The Treaty of Education was removed from the key principles of the New Zealand Curriculum Framework (1993) in the latest national curriculum statement.

Although there is a vague mention of the Treaty, at level five of the Social Studies Curriculum (which states that “the Treaty of Waitangi is responded to differently by people in different times and places”); the Maori Party has consistently called for the Treaty to be accorded significance, by reinstating it as a key principle of the curriculum.

“I was fascinated to hear Mr Maharey confirm in the House today, that if the Treaty is not discussed as a key feature of the school curriculum, students can’t respect it as the foundation of our system of democracy” said Dr Sharples, Co-leader of the Maori Party.

“When I questioned him later, he confirmed that the Treaty was not in the curriculum - but might be referred to later, in Maori guidelines” said Dr Sharples.

“The key point is, that the Treaty of Waitangi provides a significant foundation for all New Zealanders, indeed it is the very basis of our nationhood”.

“While tangata whenua and many, many other New Zealanders have always valued the Treaty as central to the relationships we have in this land; it must not be marginalised or sidelined as worthy only of ‘Maori guidelines’, stripping the right of all other New Zealanders to understand its significance ’” said Dr Sharples.

“This Government must honour the memory of the late Lord Cooke of Thorndon, one of New Zealand’s finest legal minds, who described Te Tiriti o Waitangi consistently to the effect that “the treaty signified a partnership between races” ended Dr Sharples. “It must not be relegated to the ‘too-hard’ basket”.

ENDS

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