Karakia could fall foul of ban on Bible teaching in state schools

If a move to ban on religious instruction in state schools is successful, it could extend to removing Maori prayers. Photo / File
If a move to ban on religious instruction in state schools is successful, it could extend to removing Maori prayers. Photo / File

Maori prayers could be banned from the classroom if campaigners are successful in their bid to remove religious instruction from state schools, an academic says.

AUT history professor Dr Paul Moon's comments come after a High Court judge last month threw out a test case because the parent challenging the legality of the Bible in Schools programme failed to file documents in time.

Dr Moon said while that court action had failed, it would not be the last attempt to remove Bible teaching from the country's state schools.

"Banning religious practices in schools, may inevitably extend to removing karakia from schools as well," Dr Moon said.

"Should any court action be successful in achieving this ruling, an important part of the culture of our schools will effectively be banned."

Karakia are a set form of Maori words, or prayers, used ritually at significant events such as hui, tangi and unveilings.

Dr Moon said any attempt to remove karakia from schools would be a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.

"Maori cultural expression is guaranteed in the Treaty," he said.

"The case being fought against religious instruction in schools threatens this very right, and is a form of cultural and religious censorship."

- NZ Herald

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