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Tēnā koutou,

Ngā mihi e hoa mā,

On the back of a busy Term 2 it was great to see so many of our members turn out for PPTA’s 21st Māori Teachers' Conference in Rotorua last week.

The hui is a chance for Māori and non-Māori teachers alike to reconnect with kaupapa Māori in a union context – to find inspiration in the knowledge and experience shared by guest speakers and ask questions about all aspects of our mahi in a safe and compassionate environment.

This year many attendees expressed how heartening it was to hear from everyday people dedicated to improving communities so often neglected by government authorities – people who have made positive steps to curb violence, extend healthcare, defy notions of “limitation” and lead with the idea of Māori succeeding as Māori.

All of this makes a lasting impression on our young people. As our rangatahi panel told us – they are a generation hungry for role models.

Several of this year’s workshops allowed attendees to explore the kaupapa behind PPTA’s collective agreement claims (currently being negotiated with the Ministry of Education) in greater detail. Attendees said they found an examination of the increasing workload of Māori teachers in the last 20 years particularly insightful.

This hui left me with the impression that our many kaiako are working harder and harder in situations and circumstances that are becoming more difficult and thankless. But we recognise the value of your effort and dedication. Our rangatahi show us they recognise and value it too.

PPTA / Te Wehengarua remains, as always, committed to seeing that it is rewarded.

 

Te Makao Bowkett,

Āpiha Māori

 

Maori Teachers Conference 2015

Rotorua Girls High School students with Ally Gibbons and Aramoana Mohi-Maxwell

 

Maori Teachers Conference 2015

 Jeremy Tatere MacLeod

 #huiatau2015

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It’s fair to say that most people in New Zealand and indeed most of the world at least pay lip service to human rights. The best and most widely known expression of human rights is of course the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which most countries have signed up to, and we were one of the first.

Of course many people in positions of power violate these rights, while at the same time claiming to uphold them – everyone from Putin and the Saudi government to Tony Abbot, and arguably at times the NZ government too. But generally speaking, there aren’t many people who outright deny or repudiate them.

People who do straight up deny human rights tend to be extremists on the marginal fringe of established belief systems, the types of people who don’t generally get invited to dinner parties or sporting events.

Except that there’s one human right that a bunch of apparently ‘regular’ people do straight up deny – and that’s the right to belong to a trade union – article 23 (4) of the UDHR.

Belonging to a trade union means organising, and negotiating en masse with an employer rather than individually.

If you don’t think that people should be able to bargain collectively with their employer, you’re a human rights denier.

And yet we give plenty of people like this voices in the media, positions of influence, and even seats in parliament. (Scroll down to Seymour’s speech).

I’m definitely not saying that we shouldn’t allow this radical fringe opinion to be expressed, or that any human rights deniers shouldn’t be allowed to (generally speaking) say whatever they want.

 

Simply, they should be subjected to the same incredulity and public odium as we give people who deny others the right to change religion, or marry who they want, or not be a slave.  

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