NZEI tramples on mana

Iwi leaders are incensed by NZEI’s latest publicity stunt:

The proposed protest by the Primary School Teachers Union (NZEI) to deliberately coincide with the International Summit on the Teaching Profession to be hosted by Aotearoa New Zealand will not be tolerated and left unchallenged, say prominent iwi leaders from throughout the country.

We as iwi leaders stand together in strongly condemning the NZEI. We call on them to cancel their protest for the greater good of Aotearoa New Zealand. We also issue a strong call to all Maori members of the NZEI to withdraw their membership at once. Their mana as Tangata Whenua must surely count for something and take precedence over their unionship.

The tikanga of mana is at stake. We will not stand idly by and allow the mana of the Minister of Education, the Honourable Hekia Parata, her people, our people to be manipulated and trampled on. We, Dr Apirana Mahuika, Sir Toby Curtis, Sir Mark Solomon, Raniera Tau, Willie Te Aho, Awanuiarangi Black, Tiwha Puketapu, Naida Glavish, Sir Tamati Reedy and Pem Bird caution NZEI that they are putting their hard earned excellent reputation earned over a sustained period of time on the line and for what purpose?

The International Summit is the most prestigious educational event on the world calendar, a huge coup for our Minister of Education, Hekia Parata. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity for Aotearoa New Zealand to showcase all aspects of our fabulous education system to renowned educational leaders from throughout the OECD community of nations.

It should be an occasion when all diverse sectors of Aotearoa New Zealand, our cities, our towns, rural communities, whanau, hapu and iwi join together as one, putting any differences we may have aside and focus instead on the positives that make us a great nation in which to bring up our children. We have much to be proud of, indeed we have much to celebrate and share.

Ideas and innovations will be discussed. Inspirational addresses will be delivered and all for the express purpose of advancing not only our national educational interests but also those of the global community. And yet despite all of this, we are going to have to witness the deeply offensive and cynical spectacle of a once honourable union exploiting this event for their own selfish needs, whatever they are.

It is not to late to exit with dignity. NZEI we urge you to come into the whare.

I presume the protest being referred to is the rally in Queen Street this Saturday.

The teaching summit is being held in Wellington so it is unlikely anyone going to it will be troubled by or even know anything about the rally.

However, the timing is a coincidence which suggests a deliberate attempt by NZEI to emphasise the negative while the positive is being celebrated at the other end of the island.

It also suggests they are more interested in politics than education.

UPDATE – one rally is going to be marching on parliament.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said she was disappointed with the protest timing, especially given NZEI’s involvement in the organisation of the summit and being part of previous delegations to New York and Amsterdam.

She would continue to have a relationship with the union, which was one of the objectives of the cross-sector forum that was set up following the first summit.

“We will continue to try to work together but it does take two.” . . .

Nga Kura-a-Iwi, a federation representing Maori schools, has also spoken out against the NZEI and the “disrespect” it has shown the summit.

Co-chairwoman Arihia Stirling said it was an “inappropriate time to be airing dirty linen”.

“It’s wrong to do this now, we don’t have people dying in the street, we don’t have people bleeding at the hands of the education sector . . . it’s poor judgment of the leadership of the union to do this at this time.

“Why would you air your dirty linen in front of the world when it’s imperative we get the rest of the world down here to learn and strengthen our education system?” . . .

The timing and venue mean it’s not less about education and more about politics.

It’s far less about making a point about poverty, it’s directly aimed at embarrassing the Minister while she’s hosting an international event.


12 Responses to NZEI tramples on mana

  1. Greg Patel says:

    Since when is it cynical and offensive for professionals who are dealing with the poverty running rampant in this country on a daily basis to draw the attention of the public to something our government is making worse. Get out of your mansions you overpaid, jumped up spongers and listen to what people living in the real world have to say. Hekia Parata has set education in NZ back thirty years, look at the unbiased evidence, PISA.


  2. Owen says:

    Nothing can be added to what Hone has said:

    “When so-called iwi leaders condemn teachers for daring to highlight the massive failings of the New Zealand education system for Maori children in case the Minister of Education might be embarrassed, then they show themselves up as a sad and pathetic group for whom the warm embrace of government has become more important than the needs of their own children and grandchildren.” “Just who the hell do they think they are, trying to hide the truth of New Zealand’s failed policies just because the international community is in town?” “Do these iwi leaders want to hide the fact that we have 285,000 children living in poverty in this country and that 100,000 of them are going to school hungry every single day?” “Do they actually think we should be shying away from the fact that we have tens of thousands of children suffering from epidemic levels of third world diseases like rheumatic heart disease?” “Do they truly believe that it reduces our prestige as a people to let the world know that things aren’t all rosy in the ‘land of the long white cloud’? “Do they not want anyone to know that it is their own Maori children who are suffering the most, that we have thousands of Maori families living in grinding poverty, and that homelessness, joblessness and a bleak future is all many will have to wake up to tomorrow?” “Do they think we should be hiding what the world already knows – that children from low income homes achieve significantly less than those from wealthier homes?” “Do they think teachers should not have the right to point out what is already internationally proven – that child poverty and inequality are the biggest hurdles to learning success?” “And honestly – do they really believe that the truth will harm the prestige of a Minister of Education just because she is Maori?” “My god … have our iwi leaders become so servile and sycophantic that they would rather put on a smiley face for the world while our children are starving?” “I am gutted that people who purport to represent Maori people could be so bloody selfish and blind, and I urge them to face up to the realities and demand concrete action to eliminate child poverty in this land of enormous wealth.” “There may be ‘nicer’ settings for teachers to advocate for underpaid teaching support staff, and to highlight the fact that addressing poverty and inequality is absolutely critical to improving academic success, but the truth there is no nice time to talk about low pay and poverty, and so I support their stand today during the International Summit on Education, tomorrow after everyone has gone home, and every day after that until we have won the fight for our children to be fed at schools, for our families to be provided with a decent living income, and for jobs for all who are able to work.” – See more at:


  3. homepaddock says:

    The objection was to the timing not to protesting in general.


  4. Gravedodger says:

    I oh so dearly hope that Greg Patel gets no closer to any school in this country than 10kms.

    With that closed mind, arrogance, ignorance and attitude he is a danger to shipping, make that child rearing.

    With respect Greg, undeserved as it certainly is, you are a pillock.
    Look it up as I guess you will have no idea of its meaning or origin.


  5. Owen says:

    Home paddock you say that the the issue is the timing not the protest however this government has had ample opportunities to listen to the teaching profession and it is not doing so. It has trampled on the mana of education professionals, parents and most importantly the children repeatedly during this term of government. Here is a growing list of how they have done this: Also, what has upset many including Hone Harawira is not just the sentiment of these iwi leaders but their language. To speak about ‘not tolerating’ the democratic right of people to protest is patronising at best. Also to suggest that members should leave the nzei is an ill considered idea that doesn’t take into account the well being of thousands of members. The nzei fights for the rights of all in education in a way that no other body can and provides huge benefits to its members. The suggestion that people in the education should simply forget how national are wrecking it is also ridiculous. This is not a time to celebrate and the list attached provides many of the reasons why it isn’t. The inference that nzei is being selfish is also very offensive. The nzei need to bring attention to this governments failed education policies and they trying to do this in any way they can.


  6. Dave Kennedy says:

    Here we have 30% of our primary school education workforce being forced to work under amongst the worst pay and conditions of any worker. Our teacher aids and support staff work with our most demanding children on a daily basis, have no holiday pay and work on wages well below the living wage. Many are supporting families on this once but have been told there is no many to pay them.

    In the middle of negotiations the Government finds $360 million dollars to pay some existing principals and teachers huge amounts more. The money works out at about $120,000 per school. It would cost a fraction of that to give our teacher aids the increases and job security they deserve and in bad faith this government refused to recognise the value that teacher aids provide.

    Our support staff are angry and upset, any opportunity to expose the government’s failure to pay proper wages would not be ignored. Why should they hold back when a failing Minister of Education tries to pretend she is doing a good job to overseas visitors, she doesn’t deserve support.

    This criticism was misinformed and misguided!

    This blog post of mine has now had 16,000 views and growing:


  7. jabba says:

    how much would a Labour/Green/Mana/Winny1st pay support staff Dave?
    Greg Patel … ummmmmm


  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    The Greens would pay support staff at least a living wage and make sure that the majority were centrally funded. At the moment support staff are paid from school’s operation grants and have to compete with other school management costs for their pay. Often a deserved pay rise means they lose hours because schools can’t afford to pay them.

    A mature teacher aid with 15 years experience in working with autistic children should not be paid the same as a 17 year old school leaver doing supervised manual work!


  9. Dave Kennedy says:

    Well said Owen!


  10. Dave Kennedy says:

    …and Greg!


  11. RBG says:

    Homepaddock said “The objection was to the timing not to protesting in general”.
    The timing! There was an education conference on. What next? No protesting during medical conferences, trade shows, sporting events? FFS, this is supposed to be a democracy and people are allowed to protest whether overseas visitors are watching or not.
    Get over it.


  12. Owen says:

    Too true RBG this isnt a police state. We want freedom to protest and sometimes that means countering government propaganda when it’s happening. Hekia doesn’t need to set the wolves on people just because her happiness has been affected.


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