Kohanga reo position understood - Sharples

  • Pita Sharples
Education Maori Affairs

The Associate Minister of Education and Minister of Maori Affairs, Dr Pita Sharples, is assuring the whanau of kohanga reo that their concerns have been recognised, and solutions are being investigated.

“The Government recognises the Kohanga Reo desire for recognition as a distinct kaupapa Maori that does not fit within current definitions of early childhood education. I understand also that the Kohanga Reo National Trust wishes to pursue a statutory definition of kohanga reo, and I look forward to discussing this with the trust. As Associate Minister, I have conveyed these views to the Ministry of Education in the past,” said Dr Sharples.

“I myself understand the wishes of whanau very clearly. I was there during the Hui Whakatauira when the idea of kohanga reo was launched, and even at that early stage, it was expressed that Kohanga Reo were a distinctly Maori kaupapa. Similarly we gained special legislation for Kura Kaupapa Maori in 1989.

“The importance of whanau in the revival of Maori language was clearly recognised in ‘Te Reo Mauriora’, the recent report of the independent panel that reviewed the Maori language strategy and sector. I certainly support the role of whanau, and want what is best for our language,” Dr Sharples said.

“We are currently working through a process of dialogue with the Kohanga Reo National Trust, and I have a meeting scheduled to discuss these issues in the next fortnight.

“Unfortunately I cannot meet the hikoi in Wellington because of prior commitments in Auckland and a death in the family, otherwise I would certainly have talked to the marchers myself,” said Dr Sharples.