Kōhanga Reo Treaty claim still in the works

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Kōhanga reo are a breeding ground for te reo Maori and tikanga.

A $32mil commitment was given to kōhanga last year to assist with wages, maintenance and repairs.

Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis says, "It's a fundamental right for every Maori child to grow up and to be able to speak te reo Maori and we're not going to let some virus jeopardise that.
"That was a start but it was just showing some of the commitment we have to ensure Kōhanga Reo flourishes and thrives for future generations."

With over 460 kōhanga reo across the country that cater to over 9000 tamariki, the CE of the Kohanga Reo National Trust, Angus Hartley says there's more to be done.

"We can get to the start line because of lack of funding and get past the start line and keep moving (so) that we're in a stable environment for kōhanga to be able to exist going forward."
 
The Waitangi Tribunal found in 2010 that the MoE had failed to design and implement policy, quality measures, a funding and evaluation standards that provided for the unique role of kōhanga reo in early childhood immersion education.

It also recommended a readjustment to the Crown and kōhanga relationship.

Davis says, "This is an ongoing relationship that we want to support that will go beyond ministers and governments."

It's unlikely we will see an outcome before this years election, but the Minister says the settlement is still his priority.