Mixed reaction to new Māori language resource funding

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The Government will invest $7.6 million into Māori medium schools. The money will have a focus on developing new learning materials that depict events such as the Māori Land Wars, the Treaty of Waitangi commemoration and stories of Māori. 

More funding for reo Māori resources and school management is being welcomed.

"We're ecstatic. We can always do with more resources to support what we are trying to do for our Māori tamariki in terms of their Te Reo Māori language learning," says Sonia Johnston, Principal of South Auckland's Roscommon Primary School.

Over four years the Ministry of Education will allocated $7.6 million for Māori language in education curriculum resources. $1.7 million will be allocated to support the Boards of Trustees of Māori medium schools. 

Shane Pahi, kaiako in the schools total immersion unit, He Pua Mai i Rangiātea said, "It's good to have the new funding, but what about all the Māori schools across the country, will that be enough for everyone."

Last year students from Otorohanga College presented a petition of 13, 000 signatures wanting a National Day of remembrance for those killed in the New Zealand Land Wars. Part of the funding will be allocated to providing resources on the Māori Land Wars.

"Yes they should learn about our history. Then they can see how we are today and ask why that is?" says Pahi.

Approximately 180,000 children and young people participate in Māori language in education across Māori medium and English medium schools. 9,000 students are enrolled in Kura Kaupapa Māori. 

Education Minister Nikki Kaye says they're almost doubling the resources with this budget announcement.

"We now live in a world that is digital. We're going to be via this investment, not only funding paper based resources but also digital resources, so we've got to ensure we get the spread so that more young people have access to more high quality resources," said Kaye.

Priority areas will include literacy, numeracy, science and digital technology.