Tōrangapū | Teaching the Treaty of Waitangi is hugely important – Davis
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Tōrangapū | Teaching the Treaty of Waitangi is hugely important – Davis

February 25, 2020

The Government no doubt
will be buoyed by those initial results of students being taught
about the Treaty of Waitangi, ahead of the full report due
later this year. Joining me now is Associate Minister for Education
Kelvin Davis. Tena koe. Tena koe, Scotty. ERO says 80% of schools
that participated in their study are already teaching
about the Treaty of Waitangi – no doubt you’re pleased? Absolutely. It’s great to hear that that many schools
are teaching the Treaty. Hopefully they’re gaining an
in-depth understanding of the Treaty – the significance
of the Maori version and how it takes precedence
over the English version. Notwithstanding all the work
that was done before it – the Declaration of Independence; the relationship between Maori
and the English monarchy, namely with regents
such as King William, King George, and Queen Victoria – all those sorts of things. And the subsequent breaches
of the Treaty that came later, which led into the land wars – there’s a battle site
on the other side of the bay in Kororareka (Russell). All of that history, it’s important for these things
to be taught. Given the positive results
of that initial survey, and the work this government
seems to be doing in getting schools to teach
the history and about the Treaty of Waitangi – why do you think previous
governments dragged their feet on this important decision? Well, I can’t speak
for past governments but this government has heard
what the nation wants, and that’s to teach our history
in our schools, so this is important to us. We must support it through
providing resources, through changing
the national curriculum, so that our children
may learn our rich history. And it’s well-timed that this report
has been released now seeing as we’re both here
in Waitangi to commemorate 180 years
since the signing of the document. But because you’re
the Associate Minister of Education, specifically Maori Education, what’s big on the agenda
for education this year? Well, yesterday we launched
Te Kawa Matakura here in Northland. I was glad when today,
at the iwi leaders hui, a youth approached me to ask how they could implement
the programme in their community. So I was pleased that this young person
watched the launch on TV yesterday and had the gumption to come up
and ask for the Education Ministry to make it available
in their region. I was very happy about that. In closing, what have you been up to
here in Waitangi this year? There’s been a lot
happening this year. A special highlight for me has been the unveiling
of Dame Whina Cooper’s statue, as well as, today, the opening
of the Maori Battalion Museum behind me. It’s a beautiful project. Thank you, Minister, for your time.

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