Not just compulsory Maori, also compulsory Maori history

Hot on the heels of digital technology becoming a compulsory school subject, education groups are now pushing to make Maori history part of the core curriculum too.

Spokesman Pem Bird, who chairs a group of 29 iwi-run schools Nga Kura a Iwi, heads a working group pushing for Maori history which includes the School Trustees Association, the Principals’ Federation and the two teacher unions.

“This is our country New Zealand saying yes we are ready for it, we want Maori history as a core subject, in other words it has the same status as English, maths, science and digital technology,” he said.

Those who write the history books, win the war.   

“Making things compulsory doesn’t make things happen. It has to be about people who have influence within schools saying, ‘This is really important, we need to do this’,” said Hoana Pearson, president of the Maori Principals’ Association Te Akatea.

“Change is in the wind. I think it’s a good time. The fact that we have all these cross-sector organisations around the table is amazing.”

Education Minister Nikki Kaye issued a draft proposal last month to make digital technology compulsory in Years 1 to 10 in all schools from 2020 – the first change in the school curriculum since 2007.

The Government has also responded to a petition from Otorohanga College students by putting $1 million a year into commemorating the Land Wars, with the first annual Commemoration Day due on October 28 this year.

The curriculum already says schools must teach social sciences in Years 1 to 10 and includes objectives such as understanding the Treaty of Waitangi and, at senior level, understanding “events of significance to New Zealanders”.

I have no issue with New Zealand’s unvarnished history being taught to our children.   But I do have a problem with “Maori history” becoming compulsory.

The social engineering that’s going on behind that is simply unhealthy.


– Lincoln Tan, NZ Herald

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