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Sharples: Karakia is part of our culture

The Hon Dr Pita Sharples

Maori Party Co-Leader | MP for Tamaki Makaurau

17 June 2013

Sharples: Karakia is part of our culture

Dr. Pita Sharples, Maori Party Co-Leader has expressed his concern over the recent issue at Kelston Intermediate where teachers have sought Union support to object to the use of karakia in the school.

Dr Sharples said “I know that school and the community very well, and there are a lot of Maori and Pasifika whanau whose children attend Kelston Intermediate. The school’s culture should reflect the community, and the whanau who send their children to the school.”

“It is absolutely fitting that karakia be used in the school, as it is a vital part of our lifestyle. It is also consistent with the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, through their learning experiences students will learn the values on which New Zealand’s cultural and institutional traditions are based. There is provision in both curricula to enable these values to be expressed in everyday contexts, and obviously Kelston is showing leadership in that regard”.

“If individual teachers have an issue with leading students through karakia, that is something that should be worked through between the school and the whanau.”

Dr Sharples said “many of our children have grown up in homes where the use of karakia or prayer is normal, and it is important for their success in education that our schools respect and reflect the culture of our kids to make them feel welcome and connected. Karakia is an integral part of kaupapa Maori education, and no doubt a contributor to our kids’ achievements.”

“We have made a lot of effort to ensure that all schools not only recognise culture, but are also competent in connecting with our kids from culturally diverse backgrounds, that is exactly why the resource “Tataiako” was created.”

Dr Sharples said “no-one is asking teachers to change their spiritual or religious beliefs, but our classrooms need to be a safe place for all kids, and cultural safety is part of that picture.”


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