Kōhanga Reo didn't pay me for a term, kaiako says

By Taroi Black

Kōhanga reo teachers who complete a Tohu Whakapakari three-year course think they will gain a teaching qualification but they don't, the Ministry of Education says.

The ministry has allocated increased funding for kōhanga reo aimed at improving sustainability in revitalising te reo Māori.

But Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust did not intend the Tohu Whakapakari to be a teaching qualification, acting deputy secretary, Māori Education Māhina Melbourne says. 

This may come as news for Latoya Whatarangi, who has almost completed her "Tohu Whakapakari qualification to get more income" to help her whānau. She teaches at a kōhanga reo in the Waikato region and is now signed up with NZEI - Te Riu Roa union after not getting any pay for working a whole term.  

"I am frustrated they haven't paid me. But, because I love my job, I have stuck around," she said. 

Her issue is one of many concerns among kaimahi in kōhanga reo who want to be paid at least the minimum wage. Their claim, Te Ake Rautangi, has been lodged by Te Riu Roa with the ministry to recognise their members who have completed the three-year course, Te Tohu Mātauranga Whakapakari Tino Rangatiratanga o Te Kōhanga Reo. 

Last week an Education Review Office report, Te Kura Huanui, showed tamariki have excelled in kōhanga and kura kaupapa.

"We're seeing success rates looking positive for our kids," union official Tiraroa Toki says.  "So, can't they see the evidence?"

Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust has been asked for comment.