March 03, 2013
Kaumatua role critical in kohanga
Kōhanga Reo hopes a Pākeha kaumatua can get kaumatua Māori back into the language nests.
Sir Michael Cullen has been appointed as independent advisor to help the Kōhanga Reo National Trust and the Education Ministry implement the Waitangi Tribunal’s recommendations on how to fix long-standing difficulties between the two organisations.
Trust co-chair Tina Olsen-Ratana says under the ministry’s regime, the role of elders has been minimised.
’The kaumatua of course are the experts and the repository of our language, our culture and our knowledge base. They haven’t been respected. They have been replaced by ECE teachers. Teachers are great, teachers are wonderful but when you’re looking at a movement, whose only focus is on trying to rescue a language from dying, it’s not the teachers who are qualified or experts in knowledge. It’s our kaumatua, our kuia and our whānau,” she says.
Tina Olsen-Ratana says the aim is to agree on a new working relationship and get legislation introduced this year.
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