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Agency over education for Maori

It was an emotional and significant day at Uepohatu Marae in Ruatorea yesterday as Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis launched a new learning resource to help the next generation learn the history of the Maori Battalion.

The material has been developed by the Ngarimu VC and 28th (Maori) Battalion Scholarship Board for tamariki of all ages, whanau, kura and schools.

It aims to provide an inclusive and engaging learning experience that is easily accessible for tamariki and whanau.

Mr Davis came to Uepohatu because there was not a more fitting place in Aotearoa, he said.

“The field outside is where the whanau of (Te Moananui-a-kiwa) Ngarimu received his Victoria Cross.

“These resources are not just for tamariki in schools to read about the deeds of the Maori Battalion while they were overseas, it's actually to help understand the implications of 600 of our leaders going overseas and not returning,” Mr Davis said.

“Those who did not return had a cultural and economic impact on each whanau, hapu and iwi.

“This is a very emotional day given there are these young people who are the descendants of the soldiers.

“You think of all the stories you have heard about your uncles who went over to war and the sacrifices they made. We don't want that to be lost to the younger generation who are slightly removed from it given that we only have one living member of the battalion among us.

“It's very poignant to have these resources launched while one of the veterans is still alive.

“This is not just for Maori, it is for all New Zealanders. The lessons learned here are applicable to all the battalions, companies and units that fought in World War 2.

Minister Peeni Henare and Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri also attended the launch.

By exploring the stories and history of the 28 battalion, students would have the opportunity to increase their awareness and understanding of the contribution the Maori soldiers and community made to whanau, hapu and iwi, and to the shape of our modern nation, Aotearoa New Zealand, Mr Davis said.

“This creates a meaningful, tailored curriculum resource that allows akonga Maori, nga rangatira mo apopo (students of Maori, tomorrow's leaders) to see themselves, to see their ancestors, in their learning. This is all part of a shift towards an education system that gives Maori agency over education for Maori,” he said.

In 2020, Ka Hikitia and Tau Mai te Reo — two cornerstone strategies for the direction of education for the next 30 years — were relaunched.

This new resource aligns with Ka Hikitia by providing examples of learning within the context of —

Te Whanau: responding to learners within the context of their whanau,

Te Tangata: culturally appropriate learning so that Maori learners and their whanau have a strong sense of belonging.

Te Kanorautanga: understanding Maori in the context of their diverse aspirations, lived experiences, and whakapapa.

Te Tuakiritanga: that education can support the identity, language and culture of Maori learners and their whanau so that Maori learners can actively participate in te ao Maori.

Te Rangatiratanga: the Ministry partnering with Maori to support Maori to make decisions about the education of Maori learners.

“This resource is Ka Hikitia in action. This resource is Aotearoa New Zealand histories in action,” Mr Davis said.

“We want to engage Maori learners in education, to help them achieve excellent outcomes. I see this resource as the first of many to be developed around Aotearoa,” he said.

This learning resource fits within Te Whakaritenga Papori Me Te Ahurea and Te Ao Hurihuri in Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, Te Takanga o Te Wa and social studies and Aotearoa New Zealand Histories in the social sciences learning area in The New Zealand Curriculum.

The resources are available at this link in English tinyurl.com/r3hj5j4s and in Te Reo Maori at tinyurl.com/4wbw7htv

' Platoon leader Te Moananui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu was killed in action in World War 2, in 1943 in Tunisia. He was awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery, determination and outstanding leadership. The medal was presented to his parents by the governor general, Sir Cyril Newall, at a hui at Ruatorea in October 1943, attended by government leaders, diplomatic representatives and 7000 Maori.

NEW RESOURCE: At Uepohatu Marae in Ruatorea yesterday, members of the Ngarimu VC Trust board and politicians launched a new learning resource about the 28 Maori Battalion that aligns with teaching New Zealand history in schools. This resource will educate students about the implications of the sacrifices the battalion made during World War 2. It is available in both Te Reo Maori and English. Among the dignatories at yesterday's launch were, from left, Dr Reuben Collier, Dr Te Tuhi Robust, Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri, Minister Peeni Henare, Wikitoria Hinekukurangi Reedy-Wright, Kelvin Davis, Linda Te Aho, Adrian Rurawhe, Phil Henney and Dr Monty Soutar. Picture by Paul Rickard
WELCOME: Schools connected to the 28 Maori Battalion were tasked with being a part of the pohiri yesterday. Picture by Paul Rickard
EDUCATION: Dr Wayne Ngata spoke about the importance of the new resource and kaupapa as a whole. Picture by Paul Rickard
LAUNCHING: Associate minister of education Kelvin Davis launching the new learning resource about the Maori Battalion at Uepohatu Marae yesterday. Picture by Paul Rickard