Proposed New Zealand school curriculum and some strong pushback from four academics

February 14, 2023 • 9:15 am

New Zealand is, as I’ve mentioned before, engaged in reforming its curriculum for secondary schools. Right now the government’s Ministry of Education has begun rolling out “proposals,” documents that outline the curriculum area by area.  The Ministry is soliciting comments from the public on these areas, with the intention of implementing a final curriculum by 2026. The first document, 61 pages long, deals solely with mathematics (including statistics) and English, and has apparently already been subject to comments. It’s below; click on it if you want to read it. Be aware that it’s heavily larded with untranslated Māori words and phrases, but the only ones you need to know now are these:

ākonga: those who learn; students

whakapapa: Māori genealogy, but construed widely (read the link)

Te Tiriti: The treaty of Waitangi, signed in 1840 by British colonists and some (but not all) of the groups of Māori. Its legal status is contested, but it’s been broadly interpreted as meaning that Māori will retain the same rights as the British colonists (called “The Crown”). It is this interpretation that has driven much of the curriculum reform, in which Māori “ways of knowing” (see below) are to be given coequal educational status as other “ways of knowing”.  The latter includes science, which I’ve written about quite a bit here.

Mātauranga Māori: The traditional body of knowledge, or “way of knowing”, of the Māori people as handed down among generations.  This includes practical knowledge acquired through trial and error, myths, legends, morality, and religion.

The objections to this document, and to the one below it, are detailed in a letter from four New Zealand academics to the Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, who replaced Jacinda Ardern as PM this month.

The objections include the heavy infusion of the curriculum by Mātauranga Māori, the divisiveness of the curriculum—effectively dividing students into Māori and non-Māori and creating a “racialized curriculum” (this was not the case in the previous curriculum,—the reliance on Te Tiriti as a rationale for this division, and, most distressing to me, the total equating of indigenous knowledge with “modern” knowledge, including science and math. One sees more emphasis in this document on identity than on what students are to learn, as well as a call for broadening the definition of “success”—clearly to ensure that there is no ranking of achievement.  It is putting into practice what many authoritarian and identitarian Leftists want to see in the U.S. It is as much an ideological document as an educational one. And it’s full of buzzwords and messages of hope, but fairly short on substance. It will be a disaster for New Zealand education, New Zealand students, and New Zealand itself, sworn to propagandize the next generation with identitarianism and dilute rationality with superstition.

Below are a few of the statements found on pages 1, 4, 5-7, 9-19, 24-25, and 60-61.  There is plenty about identity compared to what is expected that students will know (granted, they do outline some of the latter, but almost entirely for math rather than English).   Remember, this is a curriculum!  It’s unclear how the identitarianism will be implemented in the classroom.

Te Mātaiaho is designed to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to be inclusive of all ākonga. The curriculum is framed within a whakapapa that connects all its components. This whakapapa and its karakia were gifted by Dr Wayne Ngata with the support of eminent experts in mātauranga Māori. The whakapapa flows from Mātairangi (‘To focus on looking beyond the horizon’) to Mātainuku (‘To focus on creating a foundation’) and on to the other curriculum components. Whakataukī bring to life and strengthen each component – from overarching statements through to each learning area and the big ideas within them.

Each learning area draws on the components of the whakapapa and uses the same structure, so that the curriculum is coherent as a whole and easy for teachers to use. Learning that cannot be left to chance is described in five phases. The elements of Understand, Know, and Do for each learning area clearly lay out the big ideas, contexts, and practices for the area and enable increasingly rigorous and complex learning. (p. 4)

. . . . Te Tiriti o Waitangi the Treaty of Waitangi1 is a central pillar of Te Mātaiaho, the refreshed New Zealand Curriculum. Te Tiriti is recognised as a founding document of government in New Zealand and a fundamental component of our constitution. Important principles for realising the vision and aspirations of Te Mātaiaho derive from the preambles and texts of Te Tiriti. Te Tiriti sets out mutual obligations for the Crown and Māori that guide how tangata Tiriti and tangata whenua can live together with mutual respect. It provides for the active protection of taonga, including te reo Māori, tikanga Māori, and mātauranga Māori, and enables fair and equitable educational processes and outcomes for Māori and for all ākonga. (p. 5)

. . . (all bolding is mine) Values are deeply held beliefs about what is important or desirable. They are expressed through the ways in which people think and act. Every decision relating to curriculum and every interaction that takes place in a school reflects the values of the individuals involved and the collective values of the institution.

The content of the New Zealand Curriculum learning areas is value-rich and demonstrates what the values look like in each discipline. The incorporation of mātauranga Māori in all learning areas supports the development of values that are Te Tiriti-honouring and inclusive. (p. 20).

From the math/statistics bit on p. 23-25:

. . . . Being numerate in Aotearoa New Zealand today relies upon understanding diverse cultural perspectives and privileging te ao Māori and Pacific world-views. Like mathematics and statistics, mātauranga Māori is a body of knowledge with a history and a future. When we afford mana ōrite to mātauranga mathematics and statistics and mātauranga Māori while retaining their distinctiveness, ākonga can draw from both in ways that are beneficial to both spheres of knowledge. For example, they will understand how ethical questions posed by measurement, quantification, and stories told about data take unique forms in Aotearoa New Zealand.

. . .Mātauranga Māori and mathematics and statistics help make sense of the world.

. . . Mātauranga Māori and mātauranga mathematics and statistics consist of different systems for viewing, understanding, and organising the world and how we operate in it. The interfaces between them offer opportunities for meaningful inquiry and for mathematical and statistical insights that uphold the integrity of each.

p. 60 (summary). The educationspeak is heavy here:

. . . Mātaioho brings the national curriculum to life and supports every akonga to flourish and grow. It guides each school to design and implement a unique curriculum that reflects their vision for the ākonga for whom they are responsible.

This curriculum draws from:

  • Mātaiahikā: mana whenua guardianship of learning, wellbeing, and success, and knowledge of ākonga, whānau, place, and community
  • Mātaiaho: learning, wellbeing, and success expectations expressed in the learning areas of the national curriculum.

A pretty useless diagram of the plan, but typical of these documents:

If you want a much shorter summary of the overall plan (8 pp. total), click on the screenshot below:

Just two excerpts. First, from p. 3: the identitarian “our shared Kaupapa” page (“kaupapa” means “plan” or “proposal”):

We are refreshing The New Zealand Curriculum to better reflect the aspirations and expectations of all New Zealanders. The refresh will adorn our ākonga with a korowai tied with a 3-strand whenu (cord). This korowai will be layered with huruhuru (feathers) representing who they are, who they can be, their whakapapa, and their connection to our whenua (lands). The whenu tying it together is made up of whānau (family), ākonga, and kaiako (teachers) working as partners to use and localise the NZC.

The refresh will ensure that the NZC reflects diverse ways of being, understanding, knowing, and doing. It helps us inclusively respond to the needs of individual ākonga, who are at the centre of all we do.

Ākonga will be able to see their languages, cultures, identities, and strengths in what they learn at school. This will empower ākonga to go boldly into an everchanging future and contribute to local, national, and global communities.

This vision will primarily be realised by kaiako and school leaders, in partnership with iwi and their school communities. However, it will be important for all New Zealanders to be part of this journey and help create multiple pathways towards equity and success for all ākonga.

From p. 4: “A snapshot of what’s changing” (I’ve inserted the red rectangle):

This is the ultimate takeover of power by the Authoritarian Left, for when you control what is taught, you control what people think as well as the future of the country. I feel sorry for New Zealand and its citizens, for imagine what will befall their children in school. Indoctrinated in identitarian politics and convinced that indigenous knowledge is just as good as modern science, they will be in no position to navigate the modern world outside their own country.

Finally, here’s a letter from four New Zealand academics from three different universities has fallen into my hands, and I have permission of all four signers to publish it. They wrote on February 8 to Chris Hipkins, the New Zealand Prime Minister (copied to the Minister of Education), objecting to the education plan.  I have attached the whole letter so everyone can see it, but have put the bulk of the letter below the fold so as not to make this post too long. The corresponding signatory is Professor Elizabeth Rata, who also signed the “Listener Letter” that caused so much kerfuffle in New Zealand by contesting the view that Mātauranga Māori should be taught as coequal to modern science in secondary schools and universities. I have omitted email addresses. You will find the names of the signers below the fold:

Corresponding Signatory
Professor Elizabeth Rata

[To:]The Rt Hon Chris Hipkins
Parliament Office
Freepost 18 888
Parliament Buildings
Wellington 6160

cc: Hon Jan Tinetti [NZ Minister of Education]

8 February 2023

Dear Prime Minister Hipkins,

We, the undersigned, draw your attention to two major problems in the Ministry of Education’s Curriculum Refresh policy and in the associated NCEA qualification reforms. These problems were created during your tenure as Minister of Education and can only be solved by calling an immediate halt to the radical initiatives causing the problems. Because the matter is of such urgency, this letter is an open one and will be made public.

The first problem is the fundamental change to the purpose of New Zealand education contained in the Curriculum Refresh document, Te Mātaiaho: The Refreshed New Zealand Curriculum: Draft for Testing, September 2022.

The second problem is an effect of the first.  It is the insertion into the curriculum of traditional knowledge, or mātauranga Māori, as equivalent to science.

Click “continue reading” below to see the rest of the letter, including the signers:

Problem 1: Changing the purpose of New Zealand education

Since the 1877 Education Act, the purpose of education has been to build our nation upon the accumulated knowledge of humanity.  The intended benefits of this universal education system are numerous.  Six generations of New Zealanders are educated; a robust economy is developed; stable democracy is secured through secular institutions – all enabling the social cohesion of a multi-ethnic population with different backgrounds but united in its commitment to our nation.

The Curriculum Refresh has abandoned this goal of unity. Instead, the democratic idea of the universal human being upon which the education system was founded is replaced with a localised system that classifies children into racialised groups with, as the Curriculum Refresh states, ‘diverse ways of being, understanding, knowing, and doing’. (Our emphasis).

The ‘Kaupapa Statement’ that guided the Curriculum Refresh development makes this revolutionary new purpose perfectly clear:

We are refreshing the New Zealand Curriculum (the NZC) to better reflect the aspirations and expectations of all New Zealanders. The refresh will adorn our ākonga with a 3-strand whenu (cord). This korowai will be layered with huruhuru (feathers) representing who they are, who they can be, their whakapapa, and their connection to our whenua (lands). The whenu tying it together is made up of whānau (family), ākonga, and kaiako (teachers) working as partners to use and localise the NZC. The refresh will ensure that the NZC reflects diverse ways of being, understanding, knowing, and doing. It helps us inclusively respond to the needs of individual ākonga, who are at the centre of all we do. Ākonga will be able to see their languages, cultures, identities, and strengths in what they learn at school. This will empower ākonga to go boldly into an ever-changing future and contribute to local, national, and global communities. This vision will primarily be realised by kaiako and school leaders, in partnership with iwi and their school communities. However, it will be important for all New Zealanders to be part of this journey and help create multiple pathways towards equity and success for all ākonga. (Our emphasis.)

A racialised curriculum

After classifying children racially, the Curriculum Refresh embeds this identity categorisation.  We are to be recognised in the education system as either Māori or not.  Yet the reality is that modern individuals choose which identity matters to them, a choice informed by personalities, capacities, interests, goals, family, communities and heritages, and likely to change during the lifespan as circumstances change.  At school we share the identity of pupil and student.

In contrast, the culturalist ideology now informing education policy places our identity as an ethnic one, a view that risks perpetuating fixed racial stereotypes.  More seriously, it links culture to race, a link justified by the belief that how individuals think, behave, and relate to others is pre-determined by their genetic ancestry.

This race-culture link is seen in the Kaupapa Statement that ‘Ākonga will be able to see their languages, cultures, identities, and strengths in what they learn at school’. It is a pre-modern race ideology that will destroy our modern future-oriented education system and should be seen for the revolution it is.

Problem 2:  The effects of radical change

The second problem to which we draw your urgent attention is the effects of this radical transformation of New Zealand education.  They include ‘culturally responsive pedagogies’ – the idea that diverse way of ‘being, knowing, understanding and doing’ require different learning approaches. An example of this is the misguided belief that Māori- and Pacific-heritage children learn better in groups.  Literacy too is under attack by those seeking to ‘decolonise’ reading and writing – see

The knowledge equivalence error

We draw your attention specifically to the effect on the curriculum caused by the false claim that traditional knowledge and modern science are equivalent (mana orite).  This is damaging, not only to science education within New Zealand but to our nation’s international reputation.

The damage occurs in two ways.  First, the interweaving of mātauranga Māori across the science curriculum forces a comparison between the two knowledge systems in ways that do justice to neither.  Traditional knowledge has its own value and purpose and belongs in curriculum subjects such as social studies, geography, and literature.  But it is not science and does not belong in the science curriculum.

Second, the NCEA Reform and Curriculum Refresh bring pseudoscientific ideas into science due to the poor transposition of some concepts from mātauranga Māori.  For example, the NCEA Chemistry & Biology Glossary introduces the idea of mauri as a relevant concept in biology and chemistry. It defines mauri as:

The vital essence, life force of everything: be it a physical object, living thing or ecosystem. In Chemistry and Biology, mauri refers to the health and life-sustaining capacity of the taiao, on biological, physical, and chemical levels.

Vitalism, the idea of an innate ‘life force’ present in all things, has surfaced in many cultural knowledge systems, including European, but has been soundly refuted and is not part of modern science.  Inserting mātauranga Māori into the science curriculum will, not only lead to confusion in our schools and for our students, but will destroy our nation’s reputation for quality science.

A scholarly account of the difference between mātauranga Māori and modern science which compares the properties of each knowledge type, their differences, their relationship, methods and procedures for their development, and policy implications is available on pages 13-21 in

Please halt the Curriculum Refresh

Asserting that the Treaty of Waitangi is ‘a fundamental component of our constitution’,  Te Mātaiaho: the Curriculum Refresh’s radical goal is to ‘foster the next generation of Te Tiriti partners by moving beyond the rhetorical notion of “honouring” Te Tiriti to giving effect to it’ (p. 5).

But the status of the Treaty is subject to unresolved political contest.  It is undemocratic to engineer a revolutionary constitutional change through the educational curriculum.

We ask for the restoration of an academic curriculum and qualification system based on the democratic principles of universalism and secularism; a system that enabled generations of New Zealanders to acquire the universal knowledge of humanity.  It was the reason for the nation’s successful education system that has lasted nearly one hundred and fifty years. The transformative Curriculum Refresh will undo the principles and practices that made such success possible with dire consequences for New Zealand’s future.

Prime Minister Hipkins, the Curriculum Refresh and the NCEA Reforms were developed on your watch as Minister of Education.  It is, therefore, incumbent on you to repeal them before irrevocable damage is done to our country.  As Prime Minister, you are certainly in a position to do so.


Professor Elizabeth Rata
Director of the Knowledge in Education Research Unit
Faculty of Education and Social Work
University of Auckland

Distinguished Professor Peter Schwerdtfeger
Director of the Centre for Theoretical Chemistry and Physics
Massey University Auckland

Dr Raymond Richards
Research Associate (retired Senior Lecturer in History)
University of Waikato

Dr David Lillis
Retired Senior Academic Manager and Senior Lecturer in Statistics and Research Methods

These four academics have “had their say”, as the second document calls for. Will the government listen? If history is any guide, I wouldn’t count on it.  Kudos to the signers above: it takes immense bravery to write such a letter and then make it public. I know that a lot of Kiwis agree with Rata et al.’s sentiments, but as one of them told me, it’s too dangerous “to stick your head above the parapet.”

36 thoughts on “Proposed New Zealand school curriculum and some strong pushback from four academics

  1. I’m struck again by the narrow-minded parochialism of adding *only* Maori words and ideas to the curriculum. Only in a, ahem, more diverse context is the foolishness of this more obvious. Canadian and American curriculum revisionists are not proposing these kinds of changes because there are too many mutually unintelligible languages to choose from, often involving indigenous groups with recent histories of conflict and enslavement. Choosing one to valorize in the Maori way would be a fraught process.

    In my part of Canada, the only way forward for progressive curriculum indigenization may be to adopt Chinook jargon, which is a pidgin spoken by approximately no one until European colonization, but became mutually intelligible to some indigenous groups and to colonizers (including from Europe and Asia). A sort of shared linguistic heritage

  2. Pity the New Zealand students unlucky enough to have timed their university education to coincide with the revival of this atavistic dogma. They and their careers will surely suffer for it unless saner opinions prevail.

    “Except insofar as an opinion earns its stripes in the science game, it is entitled no respect whatever…Respect is no opinion’s birthright. People, yes, are entitled to a certain degree of basic respect by dint of being human. But to grant any such claim to ideas is to raid the treasury of science and throw its capital to the winds.” Jonathan Rauch in Kindly Inquisitors.

  3. The first document, 61 pages long, deals solely with mathematics (including statistics) and English …

    What? The Kiwis are going to learn some form of comprehensible English? Just when I’d grown accustomed to turning on subtitles while watching the boxed set of Flight of the Concords. 🙂

      1. I would say that NZSL is one of the only two languages that has not seen a decline in student numbers at university in New Zealand. But I have heard no suggestion that hearing classrooms will be taught in NZSL. There are other issues with mainstreaming Deaf children and their lack of access to NZSL, but they are orthogonal to this curriculum document.

  4. It’s their country to ruin, I suppose. But I deplore them turning science into just another belief system. It is not. Good luck to New Zealand once this is all enacted.

    1. As an Asian living in Keyaurastan [ aka New Zealand ], I am not too worried about the future education of NZ Asian children. In Auckland, I live within 3 km of five schools with disproportionately high Asian student numbers : Auckland Grammar, St Cuthberts, Epsom Girls Grammar, Diocesan, and Kings prep. All score highly in school exam results. The girls’ schools here ie St Cuthbert’s, EGGS, have well-attended Maori language and culture school classes, but these mainly cater to Whites and strategic Maori. [ That is, well-off middle class White females whose families have ransacked their family trees to find enough Maori so their progeny can qualify for affirmative action. Readers may not be surprised to find out there is no benefit to a NZ family having ethnic Chinese goldminer ancestors from the 19th C, even though Chinese were officially more oppressed than Maori back then.]

      The Asian children in NZ largely study the same subjects as their peers would in N America and Western Europe. What will probably happen is that the Maorification of NZ schools will lead to a bifurcation of local education, such that those with high middle class Asian attendance will become ‘Asian’ in terms of school curriculum [ aka as ‘Western’ ], and the White/Maori/PI schools will go down the PISA test gurgler. That is OK. NZ is a free country, and Asians like me have no problem with White students dumbing down. NZ is highly dependent on skills-based migration, so the less numerate and literate in English prose the White and Maori/PI workforce becomes, the more Asians will be imported to fill STEMM jobs.

      I am sure that Elizabeth Rata will agree with me that the Kiwi version of Schadenfreude is to note how the Treaty of Waitangi as implemented by Woke Whites in the 21st century will become the primary means of accelerated educated Asian migration into Keyaurastan.

      Ramesh 49% Indian 49% Chinese 2% Denisovan 0% White 0% Maori.

      1. I hate to break it to you Ramesh, but … While you are correct about the way that our Asian population is ensuring its children continue to legitimately achieve in education; it is always Asians who lose out once affirmative action places are given out at university or in jobs.

        Your definition of “strategic Māori” is hilariously spot on, however.

        I have 100% European ancestry. But my kids are 50% Chinese —and I worry for their future here.

        1. Andrew, the future is a worry. My son went to school in Auckland and had quite a few Chinese friends there, all academically high-achieving. They used to talk of the “Asian pass mark” as being 99%, later revised to 100% – because if you only got 99%, your parents would give you grief about the missing 1%. I think all but one of them have now gone overseas, to Australia or the USA. The one exception was always mostly interested in commerce, and has taken over running the family business from his parents, themselves refugees from Cambodia who built the business without the aid of preferential support.

        2. As someone in there late 20’s who pass though a public high school, the cracks were starting to show then but what they have now just sounds like absolute torture. My once stellar English grades became a fail once we had to read a book with many Maori words thrown in it and they never recovered since – i’ve managed to pickup a book a decade after now that my fear of reading is gone!

          Jake, 100% New Zealander

  5. An interesting side-note on the cover image from the document: the four lines of Maori and four lines of English beneath it — you might assume one was a translation of the other. But my suspicions were aroused by the fact that the Maori word “kaupapa” in the English text, which means “principles and ideas which act as a base or foundation for action”, does not appear in the Maori text. I’ve just run the Maori through Google Translate and apparently it means:

    Long string skill,
    Long line technology,
    As a university student
    It is spreading.

    Presumably the first two lines are examples of traditional Maori practice and technology. The last two lines seem to be encouragement to Maori students along the lines “Hey! Our stuff is in universities too now!”

    1. Thanks for checking.
      Yes, unlike in documents that use both official languages in Canada, (neither of which is an indigenous language btw), one should never assume that Maori is faithfully translated as English. It is two stories, one for the person who knows both languages (who will likely be an activist of some sort), another for the person who knows only one.

      It’s like when you hear your employees jabbering among themselves in Tagalog or patois. If you assume they are talking about you in unflattering terms, you are probably right. But calling them out would be racist.
      The Maori word “akonga translates as “students”. But when used in an English text, does it mean all students or only Maori students are to be the beneficiaries of these reforms? If all students, why not just call then “students”? Why drop in a Maori word that suggests exclusion of Whitey (or “paheka ” in the lingo)?

    2. Well you were lucky. Google translate told me the English version was this: Matai aho tahunui, matai aho tahoroa, to be a takapau waanga, E spread now

      But the first line on its own, says google translate, means “wind turbines”

  6. I looked at the details of the mathematics and statistics section, and they actually make reasonable sense. This presumably means that some mathematics educators who know something about mathematics were consulted. One cannot help suspecting that these reasonable aspects of the curriculum are huruhuru for the identitarian word-salad typical of the parts our host quoted—the fake Venn diagram being a perfect example of this kind of karekau. In theory, I suppose, serious teachers could stgill manage to spread literacy and numeracy while educrats concocted vacuouis document in a mixture of educationese and pidgin Maori.

    1. Scrolling through the many pages of that, I have to agree. It starts out with a lot of paragraphs of traditional edu-speak (which can be pretty opaque in its own right), alternating with Maori spirituality. But over many pages it gradually settles in to a rather ordinary looking plan in English, with Maori words sharing space in the sub-headings.

  7. I feel sorry for New Zealand and its citizens, for imagine what will befall their children in school. Indoctrinated in identitarian politics and convinced that indigenous knowledge is just as good as modern science, they will be in no position to navigate the modern world outside their own country.
    Agreed. What a sorry – and self-inflicted – state of affairs.

    I share our host’s pessimism about whether the concerns of the authors of the open letter will be heard and taken into account, not least because Hipkins, as the letter notes, was the Minister of Education on whose watch the proposals were developed.

    1. JezGrove, New Zealand is a democracy. People have a voice as voters and they have to make themselves heard if they care about what kind of school education their kids receive. I know that it takes a while for the news to spread since most people don’t really follow political news. So the game isn’t over in New Zealand. If the current governments loses the next election what will happen then? I haven’t given up hope.

  8. Jerry.
    Most people cannot afford to stick their heads above the parapet. If they speak out – will they lose their jobs? Indeed they can and I have seen it done several times in various organizations in New Zealand, including those within the education sector. Very nasty stuff. Once they go for a person’s throat then that person has no chance of self-defense. Squadrons of highly-paid managers and Human Resources staff, some of whom have no education background or are completely unqualified (i.e. in some cases no degree at all) will harass the person out of his or her job and potentially damage that person’s long-term career. Welcome to Aotearoa!

    Many teachers are unhappy about the proposed changes but cannot speak out and those education policy, education assessment and curriculum professionals who disagree with the refreshed curriculum keep their mouths shut very tightly indeed. However, over a period of two decades from the roll-out of the new curriculum, I estimate that much more than two and a quarter million children will undergo the matauranga Māori-based curriculum. By New Zealand standards this is a large number of children and do we not have duty of care to ensure that they are treated fairly within our education system? I suggest that a traditional knowledge-based curriculum is not fair on any of them, or indeed their families, their teachers or their schools which, of course, must train staff to achieve competence in Māori and matauranga Māori and provide the necessary resources.

    Right now I am looking into the Early Childhood curriculum which came into force in 2017. Not as extreme as the new refreshed primary and secondary curriculum but, again, very Māori-centric. Other kids are mentioned and their needs discussed, to be sure, but Māori get the bulk of the attention.

    Feel free to take a look at the Early Childhood curriculum “Te Whāriki He whāriki mātauranga – mō ngā mokopuna o Aotearoa”. You can download it from the following URL:


    1. David, what do you think of the prediction by Ramesh@4 that the education system will bifurcate into a dumbed-down MM system for some and a superior western system for others?

      1. Hi Mike and Ramesh.
        I believe that Ramesh is correct. In New Zealand we have two alternatives to our National Curriculum at senior secondary level. These are the Cambridge International Curriculum and the International Baccalaureate programme.

        It is entirely possible that we will see an increasing flight from our National Curriculum and the associated National Certificates of Educational Achievement (NCEA) towards those two alternatives. That exodus might be taken preferentially by the top schools and the stronger academic students.

        To be fair, the NCEA system is pretty good, in my view, and I was comfortable with my own son taking advanced NCEA, which he completed last year. He is now about to start university.

        However, along the way I got him to take Cambridge mathematics and one or two other subjects in order to provide more challenge. Cambridge was ahead of, and more challenging than, NCEA – but that is not necessarily a criticism of NCEA.

        1. There was already to some extent a two-tier system, because of perceived inadequacies in NCEA causing some parents to opt for schools offering the Cambridge exams, and it’s interesting to hear David’s experiences with NCEA. We sent my son to a private school offering Cambridge because two of our main criteria were that the school should not be single sex, and that it should not have a culture obsessed with rugby, and our local state school, Auckland Grammar, while academically OK, fitted neither criterion. We were reasonably happy with the Cambridge system. My main gripe would be that it placed an unhealthy amount of attention on tests and exams, which consumed too big a proportion of the teaching time – I think partly because schools competing for students use success in an internationally recognised exam as a valuable marketing tool. However, were my son of school age now, there is no way I would even consider exposing him to the “refreshed” curriculum. I think a lot of other parents will feel the same way, but not everyone will have the luxury of opting out, and the two-tier divide will only grow.

          I’d be interested in David’s input as to how we got to this point with so few people in NZ being aware of it. My impression as an outsider is that a smallish group of not very intelligent zealots with little or no expertise in maths or science have hi-jacked the system, and have no interest in listening to or considering other views, branding anyone who disagrees as a racist. This seems to be partly confirmed by an Auckland chemistry professor, who told me that he gave a short presentation to a chemistry/biology teachers conference in Auckland last year, and that the teachers were very concerned about these developments, and indicated they had been raising concerns with the Ministry of Education, but with little success.

        2. Thanks David for writing your letter to the Minister. I applaud you on sticking your head above the parapet, and as a parent with children, I’m really glad you and the other signatories are taking this stand.

          May I suggest you contact someone like Mathew Hooton, to publicise this travesty in accessible public fora? I know he has an ‘interesting’ reputation, but this is such a serious issue that it deserves a very public airing and someone with his skills could make a very good go of this.

          Once this public shaming happens I believe there will eventually be such pressure to change course, the Government will simply have to do so.

          1. Hi Jumbo and Concerned NZ’er.
            How did we get to this point without much awareness? Hard to know, but related debates about co-governance and Three Waters grabbed the headlines. People concerned about education tell me that education does not feature so prominently in the mind of the public. It should.

            Once Government instructed its ministries to empower one particular minority, especially in education, then it was all systems go. As far as teachers and education policy and curriculum people are concerned – get with it or lose your job.

            Also – having worked in Government agencies, I remain shocked at people rising to top positions and to management who had no education background and marginal qualifications. Those types will do anything to advance their careers or at least, not to lose their careers.

            Concerned NZ’er – thanks for the tip about Matthew Hooton at the NZ herald. I ill try him.


  9. And I though education was bad 20 years ago. We’re really into a downfall now and I look forward to seeing the next generation leaving our shores and finding they can’t work overseas. Heck even 9in the past most of our greatest scientists worked overseas like Rutherford and Pickering.

  10. The ubiquity of pidgin Maori in documents issued by the elect of New Zealand has, I believe, a simple explanation. Ruling caste members like to maintain a special language, both to recognize each other and to show their sacred knowledge of things beyond the ken of the lower orders. This phenomenon was described by a Jesuit in the 16th century as follows: “The Chinese have different languages in different provinces, to such an extent that they cannot understand each other…. [They] also have another language which is like a universal and common language; this is the official language of the mandarins and of the court; it is among them like Latin among ourselves.” In most of the Anglosphere, the new English mandarin language is simply a meld of administrese, eduspeak, and DEIspeak. But in NZ (oops, I mean Aotearoa), the addition of a few dozen words of Maori makes it even more special. We could do something like that too. Permit me, seconding one of the other commenters, to advise that we bring the vocabulary of the Chinook trade language into DEIspeak, at least in North America.

    lhuœwcum, hu¥éwulh////JON

  11. I would like to see the history, customs, culture, knowledge, and mythology of the Māori taught separately, not included as coequal with existing math and science in New Zealand. I would like the same kind of teaching of indigenous knowledge in the Americas and as many other countries as is possible. So much has been lost due to the forceful teaching of Eurocentric values and knowledge after colonization.

    How many American students know about Mesa Verde, Chaco,
    Poverty Point, Cahokia and the many other unbelievably complex
    ancient cultures, cities, trade, structures, science, agriculture, etc. of native people?

      1. They just make it up as they go along. Here in NZ we hear all about the Treaty. What they never mention is the fact that some tribes didn’t sign the Treaty but are still allowed to make claims. The Waitangi tribunal is no longer a neutral advisory based on law, it has become a self interested lobby group. A privileged layer has been created, consisting of Māori entrepreneurs, academics, lawyers, politicians and state sector leaders, dedicated to the defence of the profit system. I feel sorry for future generations. We are being held to ransom by 17% of the population which is being reinforced by liberal elites who like to wear Ponamu (greenstone) and know a few maori words.

  12. You might be wrong about the government listening, Jerry. I suspect the government WILL listen, and these four will have newly minted careers as fry cooks by the end of summer.

  13. Hi Daedalus.
    If any one of the four ends up as a fry cook then I will move heaven and earth and everything in between to make sure that the world knows about it.

    It will not be a good look for Government or our Public Service or our universities.

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