December 05, 2013
Support needed for kohanga choice
Mana leader Hone Harawira says census data showing a decline in the number of Maori speakers, especially in the younger age group, highlights the need to whanau Maori to commit themselves to maintaining te reo Maori.
The census showed there were only 125,000 Maori speakers in on census night, and the proportion of speakers under 15 had dropped by 6.2 percent since 2006.
Mr Harawira says while kohanga reo has suffered from constrained funding and oppressive compliance and reporting requirements from the Education Ministry, Maori parents and communities have a part to play.
"We have to make kohanga (be) where our young Maori mums want their children to go. We can’t just say ‘the funding’s there, get on and do it.’ We have got to get out and actively market kohanga reo as the place to be. We want it to be the first choice for young Maori mothers and their children. We want them to be so encouraged and positive about what they are getting at kohanga reo they want that to continue, so kura becomes the natural extension of that," he says.
Mr Harawira says Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples has voted for more money for charter schools than he has for kura kaupapa.
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