NZ Maori Council launches National Taskforce on Education

Press Release – New Zealand Maori Council

With reforms abound in the education sector from schools to technical and vocational education, the New Zealand Maori Council has launched a new national taskforce to bring new ideas and thinking to the concept of lifelong learning “This is not justabout one part of the education system for Maori its about the end to end life long process of learning and how we can harness that to project our people forward.” Said Matthew Tukaki

The New Zealand Maori Council has established a new national taskforce to both respond to Government reforms in the sector and identify new ways and means of providing lifelong education and training to Māori. In making the announcement Matthew Tukaki, Executive Director of Council, indicated that this was a time when Maori education and training needs could underpin a stronger future:

“We have a lot going on in the education system at the moment from k-12 and schools right through to tertiary education and vocational and technical training. But, what we don’t often do is have a conversation about the role lifelong learning plays in the wellbeing and ongoing growth of our people” Tukaki said.

“In our schools and for our schools of course we want to see more funding and also a decrease in the teacher to student ration. To do that we need to look at what a meaningful workforce development plan looks like and what more we can do to increase the number of Maori teachers, Principals and administrators coming through. We also need to ensure that our schools in rural and regional New Zealand with high Maori population rates are treated equally in terms of access to both funding and technology. Just because you come might study or teach at a small rural school does not mean to say you should be treated less than heavily resourced urban centers.” Tukaki said And many of Māori tamariki reside in those rural schools

“In terms of technical and vocational training the conversation kick started by the Minister, Chris Hipkins, is a very important one. But, what does this mean in terms of Maori? The truth is we need a system that works for us on a number of fronts. We need focus in on how we can build the Maori technical and vocational skills base even further and this also means considering the return of the Maori Affairs Trade Trainee program – but revamped to take into account the burgeoning digital economy.” Tukaki said.

“The next part is life long learning. We know that there is no longer a job for life and that often we will now have up to five jobs and three careers. So what happens when if you’ve been working in a trade like bricklaying and at fifty you just cannot do it anymore? What does retraining look like for a second career and what is the career? Why do you have to be a teenager or in your twenties to embark on a new career and therefore what kind of training might you need? Training and education is a life long experience and we need to ensure that our people are not just part of the system, but both governing and leading it” This is also a health statistic as many Māori (men) go into laboring or physical work so by the time they are 50 the body is stuffed!! So your point is a good one which evidence can support Tukaki said
“in light of that our education taskforce will be considering the following (in addition to other matters):

1. The ongoing growth and role of Te Reo in schools and its funding Our evaluation states this that Māori tamariki responded extremely well to having te reo and their culture in mainstream schools. Raised self-esteem and levels of participation in the classroom across the board. All we need is to make sure they have a full puku and kai at school so they can learn better!
2. The need to look at the technical and vocational skills base of our people including the growing digital sector and how Maori can be more active
3. What sort of workforce will we need to meet the growing educational demands of our people and the broader community
4. How can we work with our young people to build stronger career path ways for them here at home so we don’t lose them offshore

The National Taskforce on Education will be led by Maori educationalist and business owner, Raewyn Harrison. Harrison has been in the education sector for many years with a particular focus on Te Reo Maori. Harrison is passionate about finding solutions about the complex needs of Maori when it comes to lifelong learning. Harrison is a member of Maori Council’s National Executive and a member of Maori Council’s Auckland District.
Additional members will be announced over the coming weeks.

Maori Council is also preparing a response and commentary to the Minister of Education’s review into the Polytechnic Sector.
Nga mihi,

Matthew Tukaki
Chairman, New Zealand Maori Council Auckland District
Member, National Executive of New Zealand Maori Council

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