Supporting Te Kohanga Reo Trust

The relationship between the Crown and te Kōhanga Reo national trust and kōhanga reo has deteriorated over the 2000 to 2011 period as a result of mismatch between government policy design with the aims and objectives of kōhanga reo (Preface).

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This is my last post for 2012 and so I end the year off by supporting Te Kohanga Reo (TKR) and wish them well and greater success in the New Year, 2013.

For me, Te Kohanga Reo provides a critical learning environment for preschool children to begin their educational journey immersed in the Māori language and cultural philosophy. It provides that vital first step towards this realization in order to maintain a connection to their ancient, present and future identity simultaneously contributing to the maintenance of te reo Māori and principalities underpinning Māori culture.

If we are serious about te reo Māori and culture and their practical use in society, then it is important that TKR continues to thrive and provide a tirohanga Maori teaching and learning environment at the same time embracing other knowledge and modern technologies to which our children are quickly becoming accustomed. TKR must not be allowed to fall away into oblivion if we are to avoid the lamentation of our language and culture in the future. It must not become another statistics of failure that seems to be prevalent against things Māori as reflected in the quote above.

Mismatched government policies in direct conflict with TKR objectives over an eleven year period that has resulted in its decline and not its increase seems unfathomable and is unacceptable. The sheer amount of time wasted here could have been used in a more productive manner and we would, therefore, be reading more positive reviews about TKR than the one in the quote at this current time. Nā wai i hē kātahi ka hē kē atu must not continue in 2013. There is much work to do considering all sides of the argument that are brought to the table in order to achieve successful and positive outcomes. And a lot of work has occurred, but it seems with little result considering that debates over certain matters have led to a hikoi by the TKR and supporters. An indication that there has been and continues to be a breakdown of communication and enforcement of law by the powers to be.

If I could, however, offer any advice (with no intention of being offensive or seeming somewhat contradicting), Sir Apirana Ngata was a stalwart advocate in maintaining the integrity of the treasures of the ancestors (i.e. knowledge and beliefs) but also gave counsel to consider and apply Western knowledge and ideas (tōu ringa ki te rākau a te Pākehā…). If, the latter, therefore, can enhance and contribute in a positive manner to the success of TKR without being intrusive or forceful in any way on its traditional values and stance, then that can be a good thing, it must be a good. Taking these things into account, two key points emerge 1) the safety and well-being of the children for whom these services exist and 2) the growth of te reo Māori and culture ,which both hang in the balance. I hope better outcomes will prevail in 2013. Nga mihi.

Thank you to all those who have subscribed to this site and for your comments (you know who you are). It is much appreciated, but most importantly you contribute to the greater knowledge of the Māori culture and language. Watch for more posts in 2013 and feel free to comment.

click on ‘reports’ link below to see other reports about te reo Maori and culture.

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