This conversation took place at work, with work collegues, parents, and office staff:
Staffroom of the kohanga, during lunch break. 8 staff, 2 parents (relieving), 2 primary trained teachers.
I put the question to them and asked them ‘What is quality maori education?”.
The room was quiet for about 1 minute, so I rephrased the question.
“What are your thoughts on maori education? What do you think is Maori Education?”
- The values, protocols, language, and traditions that we as Maori live by, and learn by.
- Maori education is about our tamariki Maori having the right to quality education, that empowers them to be strong, confident speakers of te reo me ona tikanga.
- We must have strong, fluent speakers of te reo me ona tikanga in front of our tamariki at all times. I want my son to be able to speak te reo, when he completes his schooling.
- I lived overseas for 18 years, and when I came back, I didn’t realise how much I missed out on as as a child with my reo. My parents didn’t speak te reo to us, because they weren’t allowed. So I have had to learn te reo, in my later years, and now with my daughter in kohanga, we both can learn te reo me ona tikanga.
- You know, quality maori education to me, was when, I saw my 2 year old daughter stand up with 2 of her kohanga friends and do the ‘karanga’ for the kai. That just amazed me. To see my daughter in action, to know that she is being fostered and nurtured in te reo me ona tikanga, tells me that she is receiving quality maori education.
“Do you mind who is teaching these values, traditions and language to your child? For e.g. if Im from Ngati Porou and you are from Taranaki, do you mind that your child is learning my mita or dialect?”
- I want my child to speak grammatically correct reo. So as long as the reo is spoken correctly, then no I don’t mind. I can work on the dialect as my child gets older.
- I beg to differ. I want my child to learn his/her own dialect, and its up to me to support his kaiako to provide this for him, no matter where he/she is. I think with some iwi, there is no grammatically correct reo.
- I was raised by my grandparents, and I grew up with the reo they taught me, and I am happy and confident to pass that reo onto others if they so wish.
- I was driving to kohanga one morning, to bring my granddaughter, and out of the blue, she called out ‘e hika ma!’ I thought, ooh that’s our Ngati Poroutanga coming out in her. Ahakoa he iti, he pounamu.
- As a kaiako in kohanga, especially this kohanga, we are nga hau e wha, so we celebrate all dialects, iwi, hapu etc. This is great, too, because we get to learn from each other, and from the whanau.
“I believe that what you spoke about is quality maori education. Have any of you got any final thoughts to add?”
- I want my child to know who he/she is (whakapapa), where he/she is from (pepeha), and who she belongs to (whanau).
- And that is important to us as kaiako to acknowledge.