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Te Tiriti Must Continue To Be Honoured And Advanced In Our Secondary Schools

On the eve of Waitangi Day, secondary teachers are urging the government to continue affirming and advancing Te Tiriti o Waitangi in education.

“Honouring our Te Tiriti obligations has resulted in huge improvements in ākonga Māori achievement,” says Te Aomihia Taua-Glassie, PPTA Te Wehengarua Māori vice president. 
“The establishment of kura kaupapa Māori, wharekura and kura a iwi in our public education system has enabled so many rangatahi to thrive and achieve amazing results through 
the medium of te reo Maori.

“In our kura auraki (English medium schools) we have a culturally responsive context for learning, and Te Ao Haka, pōwhiri, whakatau led by rangatahi with the support 
of their mana whenua, Ngā Manu Kōrero and the frequent use of te reo Māori are part and parcel of everyday school life for all our ākonga – hoino we can still go further.”

PPTA Te Wehengarua president Chris Abercrombie said secondary teachers supported the growth of a secondary education system that promotes and enhances 
Māori success as Māori. “Schools must be places where ākonga Māori and their whānau feel a sense of belonging and connection.”

In 1974, the then PPTA Te Wehengarua national executive approved the recommendation from the Māori Language Panel to support the principle that the course of 
every pupil in New Zealand should contain elements of Māori culture. “Fifty years on we have mana ōrite mō te mātauranga Māori giving equal status for mātauranga 
Māori in NCEA. We have a history curriculum that educates all rangatahi in Aotearoa New Zealand about our colonialist past and its devastating long-term effects on Māori, 
and that involves working with local marae to get a real understanding of local history. We have other curriculum changes that connect ākonga Māori to educational 
content that validates who they are as Māori.”

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Local iwi and hapū need to be supported by the Ministry of Education so they can engage with schools to develop resources that will ensure mātauranga Māori is authentic and endorsed. School leadership should be able to access professional learning and advice on how best to partner with mana whenua to achieve an authentic Te Tiriti relationship.

Te Aomihia Taua-Glassie says secondary teachers are deeply concerned that 50 years of real progress could be about to be rolled back significantly by this government through 
changes to the curriculum, a refusal to value Te Reo Māori and a refusal to acknowledge that to get equitable outcomes, Māori rangatahi need approaches that reflect 
partnership and Te Ao Māori.

“Along with many of those who will gather at Waitangi tomorrow, secondary teachers are apprehensive about the government’s stance on Te Tiriti and the implications for 
our motu, particularly our education system and our ākonga. We urge the government to reflect on all that has been achieved through our affirmation and advancing of Te Tiriti.

“I kī mai to matou tupuna no Te Taitokerau, Tā Hemi Henare, “Kua tāwhiti kē tō haerenga mai, kia kore koe e haere tonu he nui rawa ō mahi kia kore e mahi tonu.”

(As the famous Māori leader, Sir James Henare, said, ‘we have come too far not to go further, we have done too much not to do more’.)

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