Christchurch Maori say they will stick together to fight for the survival of Maori education in Christchurch.
About 90 people from the education sector attended a hui yesterday to discuss the Education Ministry's proposal to close seven out of 10 schools offering Maori education.
The hui followed an online survey in which 87 per cent of respondents voted to ask the ministry to delay decisions on the future of Maori education schools until the end of next year.
Specialist education adviser Melanie Riwai-Couch conducted the online survey and co-ordinated yesterday's hui.
"We now have a collective way forward that has been informed by the Maori medium community," she said.
Survey and hui participants were concerned that school closures could have a negative impact on future generations having access to te reo education.
Riwai-Couch said the Maori community needed to work together to protect te reo and be mindful of older generations' efforts to revitalise the language.
"We've heard about the billion-dollar investment in Christchurch education and we would like to see a good portion of that invested in strengthening te reo Maori provision in Christchurch, including keeping our current kura and bilingual options."
More than half of online survey respondents were against the proposed merger of te kura kaupapa Maori schools Te Whanau Tahi and Te Kura Whakapumau Te Reo Tuturu Ki Waitaha.
Hui participant Stephanie Richardson has two children at Te Whanau Tahi. "I have been learning the language for 20 years so I have options for the children."
She had moved to Spreydon to be close to the school and was hugely disappointed at the proposed merger.
"I would like the Government to give us more time to work together and come up with options," she said.
The Maori community plans to meet in mid November to decide whether to ask the ministry for more time to respond to the proposals.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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