In the wake of the controversy surrounding Minister Hekia Parata’s comments about the mispronounciation of Maori pupils names and the neglect of Aotearoa history in the schools of the nation, Dr Toby Curtis of Te Maru o Nga Kura o Aotearoa has called for the introduction of a new curriculum domain termed Culturalcy to add to Literacy and Numeracy.
‘ Culturalcy is at the heart of Kura a Iwi curriculum, a term we coined ourselves to describe the essential knowledge, values, attributes and competencies that have been passed down as a legacy to ensure our cultural integrity now and into the future.”
‘We value cultural wealth and subcribe to the view that Aotearoa should be a culturally inclusive society in which the relevance and authenticity of Tangata Whenua in a local context initially in terms of language, marae, history. Waiata, stories and so on would enhance curriculum content surely. “
‘For example, how difficult would it really be for all schools in the Rotorua District to incorporate and embrace aspects of the local Te Arawa iwi culture and reo, the degree and extent of which would be a matter of ongoing discussion with Te Arawa, in the knowledge that this element is developmental and incremental in nature.”
Similarly with Waikato schools and Kingitanga and so on around the country.There is an absolute wealth of material lying in wait for those who place no restriction or artificial boundaries around knowledge, competencies, attributes and values because it stems from within and not from an Anglo /Eurocentric source.
We want people who are not only literate and numerate but culturate as well, equipped as such with cultural tools that will enable participation in a range of contexts that are fulfilling and challenging. History in this context would have real connection as would reo and marae customs.The possibilities are endless so a bit of innovation and resourcefulness that our schools pride themselves on,in this area of neglect would be more than timely.
I acknowledge the fact that many of our schools do include this type of content in their local curriculum but it should be regarded as good practice by all our schools An adhoc occasional and casual approach or worse,indifference and apathy is a sure fire recipe and guarantee for this senseless and dumb debate and sad state of affairs to keep repeating itself ad finitum until kingdom come.
And to what end? What we’ve got now? Iwi will be pleased to step up as soon as schools step up!