The Platform is a New Zealand radio station and website that describes itself as an “independent media” venue, though the Wikpedia description also says that it’s”antiwoke”. If you read further in the Wikipedia piece, though, you see that it often gives a platform to the Kiwi political Left (Labour).
The Platform describes itself as an “independent media site” giving listeners “unbiased coverage commentary and opinion and the chance to have your say on the issues that affect you.” The station claims to be independent of government funding and political interference. The Platform promotes itself as an alternative to “taxpayer-funded media” and so-called “woke culture warriors” whom it accuses of seeking to “stifle debate and suffocate democracy. It is listed on the New Zealand Companies Office’s website as a recorded media and publishing company based in the Wellington suburb of Te Aro.
I’ve written a lot about New Zealand politics and education; both are imposing censorship on those who criticize indigenous “ways of knowing” as equivalent to modern science. Both are also enacting policies that downgrade the teaching of science and math in public schools. This has led some Kiwis to transfer their kids into private schools.
The article below, which quotes heavily from my own website, is about New Zealands’s newish Prime Minister Chris Hipkins, previously Minister of Education. It was Hipkins who was largely responsible in his former job for creating the deference to indigenous “ways of knowing,” and now, as PM, is making that deference into official policy. That is the “old-time religion” referred to in the title.
Christopher Luxon is the Leader of the Opposition and of the New Zealand National Party, which is politically more to the right than the ruling New Zealand Labour Party. (Kiwis tell me that “more to the right” corresponds roughly to “centrist” in America; there appears to be no real political equivalent in New Zealand to America’s far-Right Republicans.) Luxon is a religious Christian, but has promised not to change any religious “hot button” laws, like New Zealand’s liberal policy on abortion.
At any rate, the article reiterates many of the criticisms that I and others (including anonymous Kiwis) have leveled against the increasing “indigenization” of the country. The piece winds up suggesting that PM Hipkins may have inherited that tendency from his mother.
Below: a quote so I can brag. But it also heartens me that those in New Zealand are paying some attention to what I write here. That is, after all, why I bore some of you with repeated posts on New Zealand. I am in the lucky position of being in the U.S. and not subject to New Zealand demonization, so I can say what I think about the government’s policies.
From the articles:
It is one of the ironies of this election campaign that Chris Luxon is being painted as a religious zealot who will allegedly force Christian beliefs on the nation even as Chris Hipkins is actually introducing mātauranga Māori into education — and most controversially into science.
Last week, Chicago University’s Jerry Coyne, one of the world’s pre-eminent evolutionary biologists, described mātauranga Māori as a mix of “religion, ethics, morality, tradition and superstition” with some “empirical, trial-and-error based knowledge that can be taken as part of science”.
“It is not a ‘way of knowing’,” the professor said, “but a ‘Māori way of living’.”
Over the past two years, Coyne has regularly dissected proposals to insert mātauranga Māori into New Zealand’s science curriculum, and outlined what he sees as the damaging consequences for students and for the international reputation of the nation’s universities as science teaching “circles the drain”.
He entered the debate after a letter on mātauranga Māori and NCEA science titled “In Defence of Science”, written by seven Auckland University professors, was published in the Listener in July 2021. Two years later, Coyne says he still gets a stream of emails from New Zealand academics and teachers who feel they can’t speak out publicly about mātauranga Māori for fear of losing their jobs.
In discussing the topic in depth, Coyne is doing the job New Zealand mainstream media refuses to do.
Yes, indeed I am, though articles like this one are helping.
The article goes through the infusion of Mātauranga Māori (MM, or Māori “ways of knowing”) in society and education, but I’ve done that to death and you can read the article for yourself. It then suggests that the PM’s penchant for MM comes from his mother. This may be gossip, or it may be true, but the assertions and quotes below can be checked (I’ve bolded three):
Of course, you’d never guess from the persona the Prime Minister has cultivated in the media as a down-to-earth, working-class “boy from the Hutt” that he grew up in a home dedicated to radical educational ideology of the kind promoted by the Ardern-Hipkins government.
Rosemary Hipkins, who began her career as a science and biology teacher, is now “Chief Researcher/Kaihautū Rangahau” at the New Zealand Council for Educational Research, which she joined in 2001. It is a statutory body that operates under the NZCER Act 1972 and, while not formally attached to any government department, university or other educational organisation, is contracted by the Ministry of Education to develop policy.
Rose Hipkins is heavily involved in research for the redesign of NCEA [National Certificate of Educational Achievement]. As the NZCER website puts it: “Currently Rose is working on several projects supporting the review of the NCEA”… and is exploring “the implications of decolonisation”.
Her most recent book, Teaching for Complex Systems Thinking (2021), includes “an explicit discussion of parallels between complexity science and indigenous knowledge systems (specifically mātauranga Māori in the New Zealand context)”.
A 2022 paper, Enduring Competencies for Designing Science Learning Pathways, for which she was lead author, states that young people will need to be educated in “at least two different knowledge lenses” — mātauranga Māori and science — in order to “understand their place and identity in the natural world” and “to live as ethically and responsibly as possible”.
It is clear that the acorn hasn’t fallen far from the tree in the Hipkins family. You might even say that when it comes to promoting mātauranga Māori in science and “decolonising” the curriculum, Chippie is a chip off the old block.
His mother’s contribution to the radical overhaul of education has been rewarded by the Labour government. In 2019, Rose Hipkins was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to science education.
Labour’s science curriculum a failure in the making
Labour’s new science curriculum will have a detrimental impact on student outcomes and achievement and should be scrapped right now, National’s Education spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
“Teachers who have seen Labour’s proposed curriculum have called it ‘embarrassing’ and said that it would lead to ‘appalling declines in student achievement’.
“Right now, only 20 per cent of Year 8 students are meeting the expected standards in science.
“Despite these dire numbers, education experts say that Labour’s leaked new curriculum lacks any meaningful detail on the fundamental knowledge that students need and will worsen the situation. Science teachers say it makes no mention of physics, biology or chemistry.
. . . .“National will rewrite Labour’s curriculum to include clear requirements about the specific knowledge that students should be learning, and when. In science, this means a focus on chemistry, physics and biology.
“National has already announced our Teaching the Basics Brilliantly plan, which will set clear requirements about the non-negotiable knowledge and skills children need to be taught each year in primary and intermediate schools.”
If you’re a Kiwi, how are you going to vote? I liked Jacinda Ardern, but she went “progressive” and then quit. Hipkins I have no use for, but I know squat about Luxon.