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Kelvin Smythe, Maori & Pasifika Education, NZEI, Parata (Hekia), Poverty & Socio-Economic Status and Education

Ngati Porou section of the National Party at work, by Kelvin Smythe

Within a month, unless the two teacher organisations have united, and on an agreed programme, teachers will find themselves near powerless, and at the fate of Hekia Parata, Peter Hughes, John Key, John Hattie, Andreas Schleicher, Core, Cognition, and overseas multi-nationals. For this to happen, Phil Harding will probably need to be pushed aside. But that is up to him.

My ministry source tells me that the ministry coffee talk is all about how Hekia Parata and representatives of Nga-Kura-a-Iwi (Iwi Education Authority) seem to have worked together to harass Judith Nowotarski, president of NZEI.

Delegates at the conference were taken aback at the way Pem Bird and Hekia combined to to put Judith down.

What was that all about delegates asked?

The issue in question was the protest by NZEI in Auckland and Wellington against pay inequities of support staff in schools and the wider community.

Hekia set the tone, saying that ‘she was disappointed with the protest timing, especially given NZEI’s involvement in the organisation of the summit …’

Then a cold threat: ‘We will continue to try to work together but it does take two.’

I interpret this as utu from the National Party section of Ngati Porou. And I connect this behaviour to her behaviour to protect Edie Tawhiwhirangi over the kohanga reo scandal.

In respect to that scandal, I wish the matter had been exposed earlier so it could have been resolved better. Edie is a remarkable person (as an aside I played golf with her but she didn’t find me in great form that day) and deserved some kind of protection, but not the arrogantly absurd clumsy partisan way Hekia went about it.

Co-chairwoman of Nga-Kura-a-Iwi, Arihia Stirling, in a matching arrogantly absurd clumsy partisan way, chimed in about the NZEI marches, saying it was an ‘inappropriate time to be airing dirty linen.’

What? At a conference about inequity and its effects on education performance? Do we still live in a democracy? Or is it now democracy as defined by the National Party section of Ngati Porou?

However, Arihia, at least you agree in a roundabout that it is ‘dirty linen’. As a result, perhaps you could inform Sir Toby Curtis also of Nga-Kura-a-Iwi that the link between inequity and child performance is not ‘lame or dodgy’.

Oh, and Arihia, seeing you recognise the existence of inequity as dirty linen, meaning your criticism was really just the timing of the protest, can we expect you to be a prominent member on the next march about inequity and its effects on education?

Arihia goes on to say: ‘It’s wrong to do this now, we don’t have people in the streets, we don’t have people bleeding at the hands of the education sector … it’s poor judgement of the leadership of the union to do this at this time.’

Arihia, there weren’t people bleeding in the streets when the foreshore and seabed hikoi took place, either. And if you’ll excuse me saying – Maori, and good on them, are past masters at picking the right moments to make their hikoi point. Why shouldn’t they be? They feel strongly about their cause. As do NZEI marchers about theirs. Do you feel strongly about inequity Arihia? Or has something superseded that?

Readers should know that this little clique (with some others) has done a deal with Hekia to set up iwi schools, as a form of charter schools, to be lavishly funded, lightly supervised, and to be paid on ‘performance’.

The only problem is what to do with Kura kaupapa Maori. If only they would disappear in a puff of smoke.

Oh, happy days.

Education today in Aotearoa.

From all this, the lesson to be learned by those in teaching, is the absolute need for unity.

The policy on clusters set out by NZEI in their newsletter of April 2, 2014, is an excellent starting point – why not unite on that or something like it?

If the teacher organisations don’t unite then they will be picked off or made irrelevant. (In regard to the latter, they should know how that feels.)

~ by Kelvin Smythe


About Save Our Schools NZ

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds." Gandhi


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