More support needed to increase Māori teacher numbers – Iwi leaders

By Talisa Kupenga

Iwi leaders are underwhelmed at the government's $95mil announcement to curb the teacher shortage.

Iwi Chairs Forum education chairwoman Olivia Hall says more needs to be done to attract Māori teachers to the profession.

"The requirements for Māori teachers seem to be higher than non-Māori, [from] support within the schooling system to supporting wider cultural initiatives if they're in mainstream et cetera."

The government wants thousands more teachers but iwi leaders say that's unlikely to happen without the appropriate support.

Hall says, “It's not necessarily an attractive job just because of the workload on them and, often, the additional pastoral care they provide as Māori teachers to Māori students or for the kaupapa."

Māori Education Minister Kelvin Davis could not guarantee the new teachers would end up in regions struggling to recruit.

"The government can't dictate to teachers where they will go and teach."

Yesterday's $95mil announcement regarding the boost in teacher numbers also includes $800,000 for 80 iwi scholarships.

Taiaha Hawke from Ngāti Whātua ki Ōrakei says "there are 72 of us here at the Iwi Chairs Forum, so if Ngāti Whātua got one scholarship, who knows if that's a good thing."

Only Finance Minister Grant Robertson knows what good things may be coming in the upcoming Budget.