Waitangi? It imposed no such obligation
I’m sorry, but this news this morning is ridiculous.
The Waitangi Tribunal has called on the Crown to apologise to the country's kohanga reo because they have suffered significant prejudice from early childhood policies of successive governments… The report follows a claim made to the tribunal by the Kohanga Reo National Trust last year.
“Prejudice”?! Really? What sort of “prejudice”?
And a claim? A Waitangi claim? About this? Have we gone mad?
The only prejudice I can see here is race-based early childhood centres set up and paid for by taxpayers on the basis of racial prejudice.
I have no problem at all with anyone wanting to send their children to early childhood centres using whatever language or languages they like. At that age children learn languages so easily, and the learning of them is so good for their development of literacy that introducing them to a wide range of languages is ideal.
But let’s not confuse that boon with the separatist aims of these race-based schools. Their aim is not literacy, but separatism.
[The Tribunal report says however] government policies have failed to support the Maori language immersion centres and to recognise their special role.
It would be far more accurate to say parents themselves have failed to support the centres by sending their children to them in large enough numbers, and the Kohanga Reo movement has failed those parents who do send them to their centres by filling them with teachers not fit for the role.
If there’s an apology needed here, it’s to parents from the movement for failing their children.
And what “special” role do these centres have? What could possibly be so “special” about them it needs to be recognised by government, apologised for by past governments, and paid for (through the nose) by taxpayers? Here’s your answer:
Kohanga reo are so important for the survival of te reo Maori, [says the Tribunal’s report], that the Crown's obligation to protect the language extends to kohanga too.
What “obligation” is that then? An “obligation” to “protect the language”? Where does this obligation come from? Well, remember that the Waitangi Tribunal is not just a race-based talking shop. It is also a supralegal body, with its opinions not grounded not in prejudice but in law. At least in theory. So this is a legal obligation they’re talking about.
And the law they point to? You guessed it: Te Tiriti, in which the British Government promised to protect Maori property. Except since Maori had no concept of “property,” the explicit concept “property” was translated as the vague and indefinable concept “taonga”—allowing gravy-train riders ever since to define and re-define and all along the line to claim government protection (and taxpayer resources) for whatever “treasures” they feel like.
The Tribunal found that the Crown’s early childhood education system … had failed to adequately sustain the specific needs of kōhanga reo as an environment for language transmission and whānau development. These failures constituted breaches of the Treaty principles of partnership and equity.
What “breach” is this then? Of the treaty principle of “partnership”?!
But the Treaty has no principle of partnership. It neither mentioned nor implied partnership. In three short articles it simply offered the introduction of British law, and the rights and protections that were then protected by British law. One law for all, you might say.
The Treaty which was drawn up and signed talked neither about race nor culture nor any partnership between them—nor about any permanent welfare, or a tax-paid gravy train into perpetuity. Like British law itself at the time it was colour blind, and welfare-free. What it promised was not the politics of either race or welfarism but the simple legal promise of protection of the rights of all, regardless of race, creed or skin colour.
This principle of partnership supposedly appearing in the Treaty, on the back of which so much garbage has been said and so many millions given away, is a myth. A modern myth.
If they do have anything in this about which to actually apologise , they could start there.