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Secularists face Treaty claim over proposed ban of karakia

Secularists face Treaty claim over proposed ban of karakia - accused of "neo-colonisation"

Proposed court action by a group of secular parents, backed by the Secular Education Network, over religious instruction in the classroom could result in a Treaty Claim says Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin.

Mr Rankin says that the plan to ban religious instruction and prayers in school will impact on karakia, and will violate Article Two of the Treaty of Waitangi, which guarantees that the state will protect Maori in their taonga, which includes language and culture.

"the proposed ban on prayers will rule out karakia, and this will not only breach our Treaty rights but also threaten our reo (language) and culture," says Mr Rankin. "We will take this fight to the Waitangi Tribunal and to the courts if necessary."

Mr Rankin says that the Secular Education Network is carrying out a campaigns of neo-colonisation. "This is a clear case of a group trying to destroy our culture - it's the nightmare of the nineteenth century happening again in the twenty-first century. The difference is that this time, we're ready for them, and we know how to fight back"

Mr Rankin has received offers of support from hapu, iwi, education, church and other groups who share his fears over the proposed ban.


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