Court rules no Māori immersion school for child

A family court has ruled a seven-year-old girl be removed from her full immersion, reo Māori school because her father doesn't speak Māori and feels excluded.

The ruling has been appealed to the High Court by the child's mother, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, but spoke exclusively to Māori Television's Native Affairs.

"I think that if the shoe was on the other foot, if a non-Māori child was taken out of a mainstream school and put into a full immersion kura kaupapa, I think people would be very upset," she told Native Affairs. "I'm representing my daughter.  I'm fighting for her and her rights." 

The child attended kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa, a total immersion school for a total of six years.

But the father submitted to the family court his daughter was enrolled without his consent and had concerns about her academic progress.  He supported his daughter's culture but wanted to be involved in her education.

"I feel rather uncomfortable in that world and the school has not assisted in this regard I am treated as an outsider," said the father.

In January, the family court ruled in the father's favour for his daughter to be removed from her kura kaupapa and "enrolled in an alternative non-immersion school for 2017 and thereafter."

The child is now attending a co-ed religious school.

"I was shocked.  All I wanted was my daughter to go to a te reo speaking school so she could speak her language.  I was devastated," said the mother.