In the article "Passion drives bilingual move" (Rotorua Daily Post, August 8) the author states: "te reo Maori speakers were forced to use English in schools." This seems to imply that the Maori language was deliberately suppressed but this was not so.
Young men of the Maori Battalion who survived the horrors of World War II were very
clear on what the future should hold for their families.
They regarded higher education for their children a priority and educators in "Native", later named "Maori" schools determined on a course that would meet the English language requirement for entry into the Maori colleges.
For many years after the war shortages of materials and skilled personnel affected the
rebuilding of New Zealand society.
In Maori schools overloaded classes were common and educators realised that individual children would have limited time to practice spoken English.
The idea of immersion learning was then adopted. Only English to be spoken in the playground.
Most Maori parents agreed with school policy and used the strategy in their homes. Strict
discipline prevailed and children at the dinner table quickly learned to express their feelings only in English.
In the schools, periods of Maori culture that included singing and speaking in the language were part of the curriculum.
A fair target?
Re Metiria Turei.
How nice to be without sin and able to throw the first stone.