June 18, 2013
NZEI offers help in karakia row
The NZEI’s kaitakawaenga Māori says the issue of whether classes should start the day with a prayer needs to be sorted out at the school level.
A Kelston Intermediate teacher has asked the union to intervene because they object to the practice of starting classes and assemblies with a karakia.
The West Auckland school has a high Māori and Pasifika roll.
Laures Parkes says while the policy is that the state school system is secular, schools have leeway to adopt cultural practices they feel appropriate.
"The choice that happens with whether to say karakia or say prayers or a greeting for the day or to bless the day or whatever you want to call it, that's really a discussion that happens in the school and they make that decision themselves as to what they are going to do," she says.
Ms Parkes says the NZEI does not have a policy regarding prayer, but it has offered to broker a discussion between the principal and the staff who have concerns.
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