September 04, 2019
Samuels ups pressure for apology for language beatings
Former Labour cabinet minister Dover Samuels is counting on a positive reaction to his call for the Waitangi Tribunal to bring forward its report on his claim over the suppression of te reo Māori in schools.
Mr Samuels lodged the claim in 2015, but it has been grouped within the wider Te Paparahi o te Raki Northland claims.
It was part of a policy of assimilation that led not just to a loss of language and culture but of economic and political power.
He says an apology is needed before that generation dies off, even if it means giving the tribunal a hurry up.
"It is a matter of record. That's what happened. I gave evidence as to my experience as a six, seven year old to leave my horse, leave my language, leave my culture outside the gate and come into a new world. If you didn't abide by that and didn't conform to that, you were caned," Mr Samuels says.
He remembers being sent with other children to cut the supplejack the teacher used to whip them for speaking their native language.
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