Maori Education in 1992: A Review and Discussion
Issue 2:1992 (Published 1993)
From the voyages of Te Aurere, the waka that retraced the voyage of our tipuna by sailing from Aotearoa to Rarotonga and back (Te Puni Kokiri, 1992), to the daily symposium of research based papers on Maori education at the joint NZARE/AARE Researchers in Education conference in Geelong, Melbourne (AARE/NZARE, 1992), Maori education in traditional and contemporary forms has followed this counsel in interesting ways in 1992, both in Aotearoa as well as in the wider international context. A sampling of these programmes throughout this paper will highlight the diversity this expression has taken in the past twelve months. The year also marked the anniversary of some significant events in our educational history: a decade since the opening of the first Te Kohanga Reo, effectively launching the movement and, nine decades since the birth of Clarence Beeby, former Director General of Education, one of this country’s educational giants, whose words in 1939 gave Peter Fraser, then Minister of Education, the first education policy on equal educational opportunity. In August 1992 it was announced that the Contestable Equity Fund would not be continued in the 1993 academic year. Somewhat incredible was the statement which announced the fund’s abolition:
The fund was set up to encourage institutions in ways of equity, and this has been done. (AUS, 1992)
...an interesting claim, on the eve of the 1993 Suffrage Year activities and the 1993 United Nations Indigenous People’s Year. Indeed, the fate of equity in education since the National government came to power in late 1990 has been a matter of real concern. Equity remains one of this country’s critical contemporary issues. Analyses of the equity women have attained in this country, particularly Maori women, will be discussed in the light of this claim and the recently released Status of Women in New Zealand. The Second Periodic Report on the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, it is described by the Hon. Jenny Shipley in its foreword as “the most definitive piece of work to date on the status of women in New Zealand” (CEDAW, 1992, p. vi). Prepared by the Ministry of Women’s Affairs for submission to the United Nations and released in December 1992, this report will provide the most up to date data against which to test claims about the attainment of equity on any economic, social or educational indicators.
These events will be briefly visited in order to provide something of a historical perspective on this 1992 review, ensuring that it is not read in an ahistorical timeless void.
In summary, then, this paper will analyse Maori education in 1992, by providing an overview of Maori education initiatives in national and international contexts, and by comparing some issues and trends in Maori education in 1992 with their historical antecedents.