August 29, 2014
Mandarin ahead of reo Maori in language funding
An independent candidate for Tamaki Makaurau says Asian languages are being given more priority in schools than te reo Maori.
Raewyn Harrison has a programme to teach te reo Maori in more than 20 North Shore mainstream schools, reaching more than 6000 pupils.
She told the Te Wero debate that she has tried for two years to get Education Ministry funding for the scheme, with no response.
Now Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced she will spent $10 million over the next five years to increase the provision of Asian languages in schools.
Ms Harrison says she is offended by that, especially since she can see the effect of her programme will have on the 93 percent of tamariki Maori who are at mainstream schools.
"They start to hear their language and their tikanga being shared with their classmates they sit a little straighter they stand a little taller and they just beam with a new confidence," she says.
Hekia Parata says a priority with the new contestible fund is Mandarin, because China is now New Zealand's second largest export market.
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