Principal warns of pressure on Māori-medium teachers

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

As primary teachers look to take rolling strike action across the country this month, a principal of a South Auckland wharekura says the pressures experienced by Māori medium schools are 'four times' worse than their mainstream counterparts.

According to Maahia Nathan, principal and teacher at Te Wharekura o Manurewa, teaching NCEA maths is a very difficult task.

“Although mainstream primary and secondary schools are faced with huge pressures,” says Nathan, “for me, those pressures are up to four times worse for Māori-medium primary and secondary schools.”

The shortage of reo Māori teachers is a major concern.

In the last three years there has been a decline in applicants hoping to teach in Māori-medium schools, often due to huge workloads and low pay.

“The starting salary for police is $60,000,” says Hemi Dale, “However for a teacher, they start at $50,000.”

The scarcity of Māori language resources is another huge issue, including NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3 subject text books.

“Even though the text books are written in English, the teacher speaks Māori to normalise the subject in te reo,” says Nathan.

The PPTA is in talks with the Ministry of Education over a pay rise of 15 percent, followed by annual increases of 3.8 percent.