In his column "Mandatory reo" (Rotorua Daily Post, February 6), Tommy Wilson states " ... our mothers were punished for speaking their mothers' tongue ..."

I offer the following comment.

As a young teacher I was appointed to a back-country native, later named Maori School.

On my second morning there I was visited by an old lady who had a grandson living with her. She said to me, "You teach him the English! Never mind the Maori! If he play up I fix him!"


This attitude was common among Maori parents at the time and there are probably a few oldies around who can remember getting a clip around the ear for speaking in Maori at the dinner table!

An important aim in native schools was to have most pupils gain scholarships to enter the Maori colleges. A prime requirement was a reasonable standard of spoken and written English.

World War II had just ended and there were years ahead of overloaded classes and a shortage of school materials. It seemed unlikely that children would get sufficient speaking practice in class so the idea of immersion learning was adopted (only English to be spoken in the playground).

There were probably a few whacks delivered in some schools for disobedience of the rule but teachers were reluctant to use physical punishment because they knew what awaited the culprits when their parents heard about the transgressions!


Time for a change
The Hubbard cartoons are becoming increasingly gross.

The one in today's Rotorua Daily Post (February 13) did it for me, showing Donald Trump spewing green gunk over a boat full of New Zealanders.

It put me off my breakfast I can tell you. Time for a change I think.