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Is Maori compulsory for all students?

Is Maori compulsory for all students?

Old Mar 10th 2016, 7:24 pm
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Default Is Maori compulsory for all students?

Have started looking at various schools and Maori seems to be popping up as a subject everywhere. Is it compulsory?

We have no Maori heritage whatsoever and the culture only being confined to NZ I don't think it's got much usage outside of it. I am NOT being discriminatory in any way - however, it's like hubby telling me that since Polish is only spoken in one country in the world (albeit with a population 10x that of NZ) he's not going to bother learning the lingo. And since we've lived in the UK for all of our married life I didn't pressure him. But now for the kids to be forced to learn Maori (if that is the case) - is it a continuation of a process started in primary school & how do they treat newcomers who haven't got the foggiest about Maori culture?

FYI our kids will be starting college so would probably have missed out on a huge chunk of the Maori education already (hence worried about them catching up - if it is compulsory).

TIA as always
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Old Mar 10th 2016, 7:41 pm
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

No, as far as I am aware it is not compulsory. However, I would suggest you and your children beginning to learn the basics of Maori culture and the basic history of New Zealand.

New Zealand is a colonised country and Maori the Indigenous population. How much you invest/learn about it is up to you. As you'll be living in Whanganui I would imagine Maori culture will be reasonably present, but it would not be necessary to speak Maori at all.

If your children speak Polish and hence are bilingual, then I would imagine that languages may come quite easy to them? I think it is more about showing a basic level of respect. Maori is not of any use (really) outside of New Zealand but that doesn't mean learning the language and cultural aspects aren't without merit.
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Old Mar 10th 2016, 8:00 pm
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

they do it a bit in primary schools and both primary schools we have attended expected but it was not a lesson as such, the students do sing the national anthem which is in part in Maori.

College has it as a course but it is not compulsory. I wished my daughter had kept it up as she was doing quite well but she dropped it do to French. Some jobs require it and I thought it would benefit her in gaining a job but as I say she dropped it.
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Old Mar 10th 2016, 8:19 pm
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

Originally Posted by dannigirl View Post
No, as far as I am aware it is not compulsory. However, I would suggest you and your children beginning to learn the basics of Maori culture and the basic history of New Zealand.
Thank you dannigirl - I can cope if it's not compulsory I just had these visions of them having to be at a certain level of competence & wondering how to help them out adjusting to the new school system & culture.

Originally Posted by dannigirl View Post
New Zealand is a colonised country and Maori the Indigenous population. How much you invest/learn about it is up to you. As you'll be living in Whanganui I would imagine Maori culture will be reasonably present, but it would not be necessary to speak Maori at all.
I hope to be much more proficient in Maori than my husband is in Polish but as I know from experience learning a new language does take time & patience (hubby is already making fun of me pronouncing the local names with a British/Polish accent). And as most of his friends are of the European ancestry it might be a tad difficult finding anyone willing to tutor me.

Originally Posted by dannigirl View Post
If your children speak Polish and hence are bilingual, then I would imagine that languages may come quite easy to them?
Does make it slightly easier & definitely opens up your understanding of the other culture. I remember how amazed I was once I could make sense of German after my stint as an au-pair over there. Suddenly, I could see where some of our Polish words had their origins + all that harsh sounding talk suddenly had meaning.

Originally Posted by dannigirl View Post
I think it is more about showing a basic level of respect. Maori is not of any use (really) outside of New Zealand but that doesn't mean learning the language and cultural aspects aren't without merit.
Definitely, although at this stage I'm still not sure whether I'll be able to adapt to NZ culture & mentality I don't want to invest too much of my time & effort on something of little return.

Having read your story with interest I keep citing it to OH as he seems to be quite content with the move whereas I'm plagued with doubts and although I can certainly see the benefits I'm apparently over-analysing the move
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 4:31 am
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Smile Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

Originally Posted by KOH2 View Post
We have no Maori heritage whatsoever...
I have no French or German heritage or live in either country but it didn't stop schools from inflicting foreign languages upon me.

By that logic no one would have learned latin and is that the sort of country you want your children to live in? Get with the program, making children learn pointless thing are what schools are for. How else will they have the skills required to find employment or fill in paperwork at an unemployment office?
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 5:12 am
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

Originally Posted by KOH2 View Post
I don't want to invest too much of my time & effort on something of little return.
I would invest zero amount of time as you will get zero in return

Europeans learning Maori is an utter waste of time.
No one speaks Maori but Maoris and half of them can't speak it.
Generally they wont speak it to you, a bit like the Welsh

Last edited by Justcol; Mar 11th 2016 at 5:25 am.
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 5:14 am
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

Originally Posted by KOH2 View Post


Definitely, although at this stage I'm still not sure whether I'll be able to adapt to NZ culture & mentality I don't want to invest too much of my time & effort on something of little return.
What is causing you doubts? What do you already know of the culture and mentality
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 5:45 am
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

I took a couple of evening courses that the local college ran in Maori language and culture when I first arrived in this country. I found that helped me cope with the correct pronunciation of the local place names that have a definite non-English pronunciation.

People that know languages other than English (especially Latin) would probably be able to cope with the local place names better but I wouldn't rule out the usefulness of some time spent learning the Maori language.

My time spent learning Maori was far more use to my life now than all the time I spent at school in England learning Religious Education, for example.
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 6:29 am
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

I've been learning Te Reo with a bunch of people really casually in a coffee shop once per week. I've really been enjoying it and knowing more about the culture as well as the language. Te Reo sounds lovely when spoken properly, a nice language to hear as opposed to German which sounds like people hawking up mucus half the time. The French and German I had to learn at school helped me with nothing in life, not even when I travelled. So if anything not learning Maori because it will not be of use outside of NZ is technically true but learn it for other reasons beyond the need for it 😊
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 7:21 am
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

Originally Posted by dannigirl View Post
As you'll be living in Whanganui I would imagine Maori culture will be reasonably present, but it would not be necessary to speak Maori at all.
If you go to a formal occasion where the national anthem of New Zealand will be sung, it will be sung in the Maori language first, by those that know it or are comfortable pronouncing or attempting to pronounce the words the tune will be the same. Then the national anthem will be sung in English. Sing it if you know it !

My husband, a New Zealander, knows the national anthem in Maori off by heart. Good.

Some New Zealanders have no time what so ever for Maori language and culture. As such will stand there in mute silence when the New Zealand national anthem is being sung in Maori.

Also, if the occasion requires formal speeches, they will be spoken in Maori too. Then repeated in English straight afterwards.

Do not be to surprised if some parts of a formal occasion are sung but sound like a lament, mostly on the same note.

If a buffet is being served at a formal occasion, please wait for it to be blessed before eating. A Karakia is a blessing of any sort but no one will eat it until the Karakia has been done.

Maori Language week is on for one week a year in NZ. All it means is that the place names on the weather map on the t.v. weather forecast revert to the Maori language for the week. I have occasionally received an e-mail greeting me with kia ora meaning hello. Or even a more formal version of hello, Tena koe that can be used in business communications.

There was a t.v. broadcaster in NZ, John Campbell to be precise, that used to always end his show by saying, ka kite ano (which means see you later) and have a very good evening.

Last edited by Snap Shot; Mar 11th 2016 at 7:31 am. Reason: Tena koe
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 9:23 am
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

I did a full blown advanced course just for the fun of it and yet still couldn't form a proper sentence to this day because it's simply not necessary but still glad I did it because you learn so much more about the country and people than just text book words and grammar will ever provide. Depending on where you work you can't help sometimes to be around official welcomes (powhiri), meetings, opening of envelopes and buildings often have dawn naming ceremonies, retirement things and such like where official Maori protocols prevail and local iwi turn up to do prayers, singing and speeches. It's nice to know a little bit of what they are on about and why they do what they do.

As others have said, so many don't bother and even Maori Language week on TV is considered a bit OTT for some people. I did it purely for recreation and quietly enjoy the shock factor as most Kiwis are surprised when you can pronounce words proper like what I do; most older Maori people are lovely and really do appreciate that I took time out of my life to give it a go. Younger ones probably could't give fig.

Having said all that if it were an option in school I still don't think I would choose it for my kids, as there are far more useful things they could be doing instead and they'll soon pick up the everyday words that are in common use.

Last edited by Bo-Jangles; Mar 11th 2016 at 9:28 am.
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Old Mar 11th 2016, 5:57 pm
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

And by the time they grow up 'real time' language translators eg updated Google Translate will be available on every smart phone (almost there now).

My wife did a Maori course and as a teacher (speaking three languages) was disappointed at the lack of any formal structure, grammar, the simplified vocab - it was very poorly taught and was primarily an intro to Maori culture (from an activist viewpoint).
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 5:08 am
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

Originally Posted by Kotare View Post
it was very poorly taught and was primarily an intro to Maori culture (from an activist viewpoint).
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 6:05 am
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

You need to just learn 3 simple words, then you can pretend you know Maori and are all cultural and cosmopolitan like Del Boy does with his French word, it seems to work for most kiwis.


Just learn the Maori words for food, family and hello and slip these into everyday life. Honestly, you'll not come across like a plonker, honest!!!!


Problem solved, or as they say in french... 'fabrique belgique'
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Old Mar 12th 2016, 6:32 am
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Default Re: Is Maori compulsory for all students?

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