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Hekia Parata

28 February, 2013

Appointment of independent advisor on kōhanga reo

Education Minister Hekia Parata has today announced the appointment of Sir Michael Cullen as an independent advisor to work with the Crown and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust.

“We share common goals to raise the educational achievement of Māori children, encourage the use of te reo Māori, and to strengthen and grow the kōhanga reo movement to promote identity, language and culture,’’ says Ms Parata.

“Both the Crown and the Board of Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust have agreed to work together in good faith to progress these goals.’’

Sir Michael’s appointment is the first step in a process of re-engagement following last year’s Waitangi Tribunal report, Matua Rautia: the report on the kōhanga reo claim.

The Government will consider the Tribunal report as part of this first step of appointing Sir Michael to work with government agencies and the National Trust.

“I am delighted Sir Michael has agreed to take on this role. His appointment reflects his standing both within Government and in Māori communities. It’s a positive first step in the process to rebuild relations between the Crown and kōhanga reo to support Māori children,’’ says Ms Parata.

“The Government and communities must work together effectively to reach out to those Māori children who do not participate in early learning, including kōhanga reo.

“Kōhanga reo has more than 9,000 children enrolled which is five per cent of all the children enrolled in early learning in New Zealand. They have an important role to play in the Government achieving its Better Public Services target in that area.’’