A Māori member perspective
Kei te mura o te ahi tatou nei! As one of the convenors for the Māori caucus of Te Wehengarua PPTA, a member of the PPTA executive and a teacher with 30 years plus experience I am proud to be in an organisation that has established itself as one of the most powerful stalwarts of the teaching profession. From branch level to regions, across New Zealand and internationally we have a reputation of fighting the good fight and weathering the storm to achieve change on many levels, long may this continue.
So how has the Māori membership of Te Wehengarua PPTA benefited and how has the wider membership prospered accordingly? I am a firm believer in taking our collective employment agreement with me wherever I go and I use it at every opportunity to give kudos to the political debate and fight for our profession. Within the hard earned pages of the agreement there are plenty of hard fought for conditions and some of these address the specific needs of our Māori membership. We have gained and developed these conditions through the partnership model of the Treaty of Waitangi but the challenge here and now is has Te Wehengarua PPTA done enough? Are the aims and aspirations of our Māori membership being truly fulfilled when considering He Huarahi Hou and last year’s Treaty audit (which I will come back to.)
Good Employer Guidelines in respect of Māori Clause 3.12 of our collective employment agreement is a reminder to us all about the Treaty partnership and it sets a platform for what indeed is or could be a powerful set of conditions for us all. From the PPTA conference in 2019 a Treaty of Waitangi audit of PPTA was requested and passed. (At the time of printing) a discussion paper is going to executive to progress the partnership and Te Huarahi is looking forward to a robust and inclusive approach.
The growth of wharekura across the nation signals that there is change happening and that hapu and iwi require different educational outcomes, options and to also have their own Mana Motuhake over Matauranga for their own mokopuna and tamariki. Growth in Te Reo was and continues to be a keystone (Mauri) of their aspirations going forward.
I believe it is now necessary for us to grow PPTA advocacy that aligns with this kaupapa to assist hapu and iwi and our Māori members to make this a reality.
How many of us have read the educational plans of their local Iwi or Hapu?
How many of these are used in our secondary school settings?
What is the status of Māori on the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand?
In health for instance, I am led to believe, there is a debate taking place on whether Māori health practitioners should have their own council.
As we enter the political electioneering to end this year of the global pandemic and we look beyond 2020, it is my fervent wish that Te Wehengarua PPTA will further embrace a Treaty partnership model, as it is, and can be in my view a powerful force for negotiating, achieving and retaining terms and conditions in secondary education that are necessary for the continuation of a world class teaching profession.
Na reira kei te mutu au pēnei nā He aha te kai a te rangatira?
He kōrero, he kōrero, he korero.
What is the food of the leader?
It is knowledge, It is communication, It is partnership.
Image: Shona West (right) and fellow Te Huarahi member Powhiri Rika-Heke