It’s structural

[Geneveine Wilson] said most of the Māori students she knows at university are from Kura Kaupapa or Māori boarding schools – which speaks for itself.

“They’re quite different entirely because they have been taught that it’s great to be Māori and it’s great to succeed and this is what success in education looks like.

“They have had positive role modeling. Bias wouldn’t exist in an environment where being Māori is the most important.”

Source: Radio New Zealand, 11 July 2016

Tënä Koutou,

Remember when I said that Mäori charter schools might be a good idea?  It was yesterday that I said that.  We have had a long tradition of Mäori boarding schools, and charter schools could be their urban equivalents.  Each big state school could be partnered with one so that the students could access all the expensive specialist equipment, and the expensive specialist teachers that these big schools can afford to maintain.  If this was a fully funded government programme it would produce incredibly powerful results in 15 years.

Ok, so I need to keep reminding myself that I am not the dictator of Aotearoa and that this will not happen.  Perhaps one day, if the Greens have the courage and can free themselves from dogma.  I once met a education spokesperson for the Green Party and they said they had just visited a Mäori charter school up north and had said that if they were in charge they would be shutting down all charter schools: “sorry, we just will”.  I wonder how that went down?  The hegemony of the left will replace the hegemony of the right – you have no say in the matter.

But won’t we have a segregated society of one rule for you and one rule for me?  Aren’t we all Kiwis?  Well, aside from the fact that Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the te reo version, which is the one that counts in international law) actually has this two nation / one country system as its basis, no – this would not happen.  Any time you bother to look back at history at a point just before the scales were tipped and the British began imposing their will across the land you will see Mäori taking on all kinds of aspects of European culture while maintaining their own cultural, political and linguistic strength.  Which sounds like an actual bi-cultural country.  The Mäori I have met don’t want to return to some kind of pre-European fantasy world.  Who would?  European stuff is pretty great.  My impression (my biased Päkehä impression) is that Mäori would like to be Mäori like the Chinese get to be Chinese, and the Indians Indian; that is – negotiating the modern world from their own linguistic, and cultural basis.

So, yes, it’s structural – the structure is European and has been for 150 years.  Why, then, is changing the structure off the table?


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