Because education is likely to undergo more changes in the next term – and some truly awful ones were made in the last term – I was interested to read about the new Minister of Education, Hekia Parata. Hopefully Parata will be more clued up about education than the last one!
Anyway, this paragraph caught my eye in the Sunday Star Times:
Hekia “Parata said what it meant to be a New Zealander – what she calls the ‘gift of citizenship’ – had been on her mind ever since she’d done a stint overseas with the Foreign Affairs Ministry in her mid-20s. ‘It seems to me [it] deserves that we do our very best by and for our country.’ …Parata said they wanted the girls [her two teenage daughters] to grow up speaking Maori as their first language and have a strong connection with their extended family. Now aged 15 and 18, the girls have experienced the vagaries of New Zealand’s education system.” (C12)
Citizenship, as a concept, informs each of our national curricula, so her stance on it may prove influential…
Interestingly, for all the article focuses on her Ruatoria upbringing and her Maori connections, you have to read between the lines in the second column to pull out Parata’s iwi affiliations and it’s never clearly stipulated… I think that’s a bit wierd. Hopefully, though, her background with Kohanga Reo and a father in education, etc. means we can expect serious attention from her.
Ref: Imogen Neale (2012) ‘Education, education, education’ Sunday Star Times, Feb 26 [Focus section], p. C12
(And BTW… according to ‘Meet the Minister’ pp10-12 Swings + Roundabouts Autumn 2012, Hekia Parata affiliates with Ngati Porou, Ngai Tahu, and English, Irish, and Scottish descent…)