Treaty omission in draft curriculum causes concern

By Simon Collins

A draft new curriculum for schools has come under fire from Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres for deleting references to the Treaty of Waitangi.

He will meet Ministry of Education officials on Friday to back up complaints from Maori leaders such as Ngai Tahu chairman Mark Solomon about the removal of the Treaty from the six guiding "principles" of the new curriculum.

The Treaty was one of nine guiding principles in the previous curriculum adopted in 1993, which explained that the Treaty recognised "the unique position of Maori in New Zealand society".

"There has been very strong feedback to the ministry about the lack of references to the Treaty," Mr de Bres said. "I do think it is so much our founding document that a reference to it in the curriculum at a high level is important."

The six proposed new principles are that students should seek personal excellence, learn to become active learners and thinkers, learn about "New Zealand's bicultural heritage and its multicultural society", have their own languages, cultures and talents affirmed, make connections between what they learn and their own lives, and find pathways to further learning.

The draft also states: "Students who identify as Maori [should] have the opportunity to experience a curriculum that reflects and values te ao Maori [the Maori world]."

But the commission says all students should have that access.

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