Opinion - Patrick Gemmell


Volume 30 Issue 8 (Oct 2017)

Gemmell, Patrick

Abstract: In 2008, the world's first Indigenous contextualised school curriculum - Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, a milestone in Maori education, was established in Aotearoa and this was celebrated around the world. However, fifteen or so years prior to this a Maori curriculum was developed as a response to the education system of the time that centred in particular around the survival of Te Reo Maori, the Maori Language. The correlation I wish to make here is as a former Adviser to the Ministry of Education. I saw and understood firsthand in the mid-nineties how our elders gave freely of their knowledge to develop and inform the Māori curriculum, only to see them hurt that their contributions both in language and in other ways, were changed in the final cut so that it was unrecognisable to them. In my view this was due to the Crown policy being opposed to an outcome based on cultural imperatives. Kāinga Whenua seemed to follow the same pathway as the first Māori curriculum. Kāinga Whenua is a kind of a translation of its English counterpart, Welcome Home Loans, with both housing products being administered by the Crown agent, Housing New Zealand and financed by Kiwibank. In its seven years of operation, the Kāinga Whenua has delivered less than 30 home loans, that is, just over four homes per year. One can only surmise why both the first Māori curriculum and Kāinga Whenua struggled to succeed. Perhaps it could have been because of the lack of any real treaty partner engagement in their development. If this was the case, it certainly would have contributed in both instances, to the issues experienced by Māori.

Parity is a publication of the Victorian Council to Homeless Persons (CHP) and the national homelessness publication in Australia. The aim of this publication is to develop an up-to-date, comprehensive and detailed resource for all those working to respond to homelessness in Aotearoa, whether they are working in government policy, homelessness, mainstream government services, social housing and other welfare sectors, in universities or other research bodies.

The 2017 edition of Parity is intended as an update to the October 2007 “Responding to Homelessness in New Zealand” edition of Parity. The current edition is an opportunity to reflect on the past ten years. What have we learnt? How have we progressed? What new challenges have prevented themselves in the intervening years?