Myth 1 – Maori are entitled to more funding for tertiary education simply by virtue of them being Maori.
Answer: Bollocks. Maori scholarships are distributed through private iwi trusts and are NOT Crown grants. They are no different from a family trust, or any other scholarship program. Settlor’s of trusts have the right to decide who the beneficiaries will be. There are many scholarships available for diverse purposes and they all have a specific criteria for eligibility.
Myth 2 – Maori quota at University is discriminatory and enables Maori into certain programs over others simply by virtue of being Maori.
Answer: Not having the quota is discriminatory. The quota was first introduced as a means of remedy for the failing of the education system on Maori and subsequently to introduce diversity into university programmes where Maori were less likely to enrol because of the unequal opportunities derived from poor recognition of Maori educational needs. Regardless of ignorant attitudes that suggest Maori are at the bottom of the heap by choice, the ‘quota’ will only change when it is realised that a Euro centric educational system does NOT meet the needs of Maori students. The Kurakaupapa schools set up are evidence that Maori achieve better where they can freely express their views and understanding within the context of their own cultural environment. This is the baseline on which Maori and Pakeha could have an equal starting point – where Maori are educated in a way that is meaningful to Maori. Once there is this equal baseline, then the decision to remove the quota could be considered. But New Zealand – we are a long way off.
Why are New Zealander’s afraid of empowering Maori?
Conservative attitudes suggest Maori are urbanised and therefore their culture is irrelevant in this day and age. Wake up. Maori were forced into urbanisation through shady land deals and confiscation. Maori were forced to assimilate by suppressing their cultural values and language. What effect did the colonisers think this would have on future generations of Maori? They didn’t think and therein lies the problem. This history, my conservative friends, is the reason Maori do not have an equal starting point, it is why Maori struggle to find their place in society and why Maori are disproportionately represented in all the areas of social concern. Now, whilst admittedly Maori may have different kinds of rights, such as rights derived from Treaty settlements, they most certainly do NOT have more rights.
Stop punishing Maori for seeking empowerment – understand that tikanga Maori is beneficial to all, the foundation of Maori lore is INCLUSIVE! Maori are not even asking for all New Zealanders to strictly adhere to principles of Tikanga, the way Maori were forced into the Westminster system of law and governance, they are asking that tikanga for them be formally recognised and respected in relation to matters that affect their tikanga because that is what was agreed by those who signed Te Tiriti o Waitangi.