Tribunal hear kohanga reo urgent application

According to Dame Iritana
Tawhiwhirangi, of the Kohanga Reo National Trust, although the National Trust is
leading the claim for the language it has major implications for
all Maori language organisations. Today was the first day of
the urgent hearing application before the Waitangi Tribunal. The hearing for an
application for urgency by the National Kohanga Reo
Trust who claim the Crown has sabotaged the Kohanga Reo. The Kohanga Reo is
spearheading this issue but it will impact on all
reo Maori organisations. The Kohanga Reo is seeking the right
to determine its own processes and how it administers itself. Over 1000 Kohanga Reo
supporters marched last month to file the urgency claim
with the Waitangi Tribunal. Ngati Porou’s Caren Fox
is the presiding officer and also one of the Maori
Land Court Judges who understands the Maori language. It’s appropriate that this
case be overseen by people who know what the Maori
aspiration is. Sir Doug Kidd is also a member and a
former Minister of Maori Affairs for the National Government. I’ve known him for some time and he has always informed
himself about things Maori. Kihi Ngatai from Tauranga
is the kaumatua member. His knowledge of the Maori world
is absolute, language and custom. It’s a privilege to have
him overseeing this claim. Two days have been set
aside for the hearing. Ngahuia Wade, Te Karere. We cross live now to Labour
Party MP Kelvin Davis. The Kohanga reo
presented their claim to the Waitangi tribunal
today. Your thoughts? I support their submission to the
Tribunal to resolve this issue. ECE taskforce report was
released last month stating that Kohanga reo were
similar to early childhood centres, but we all know that philosophies
and practices are different, between mainstream and kohanga reo
so it should go before the Tribunal. Has the government failed
to uphold the Treaty in its dealings with kohanga reo? The Treaty states that
Maori retain rights over our lands, homes and treasures. Our language is one
of those treasures. We all need to get
behind this cause. The government and Crown
should support the cause and Maori organisations should
be leading the initiatives. If Labour was in power what would
you do to address this issue? The Labour Maori caucus agrees that
we should support our kohanga reo. We’d look at funding issues, professional development
for teaches, additional resources for kohanga,
development of the language and discuss any other
needs required. National’s welfare changes – do you think the government
should manage the youth benefit? Firstly, I support the policy which restricts youth from
purchasing cigarettes and alcohol. I don’t have a problem with that. But the issue is lack of
jobs for youth. The way they spend their
money is not the issue, it’s the limited job opportunities. Kelvin Davis,
thank you for your time.

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