AN OPEN LETTER
11 September 2018
Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister
Minister for Child Poverty Reduction
Tēnā koe Prime Minister
We write to you respectfully on behalf of the children and whānau of our Partnership Schools/Kura Hourua.
We know, and we believe you would share our view if you looked carefully at the evidence, that these schools are delivering results that are significantly better than they could ever have achieved in the state-run system.
Your Government is now compelling them to return to that system, the one that has been failing our tamariki for 178 years. The ‘designated character’ model sounds attractive but it has none of the key drivers that have made our schools so successful.
We understand that your Government is committed to lifting children out of poverty and helping them achieve their potential, and this is one small but highly successful initiative that is contributing to that objective.
We therefore appeal to you to withdraw the amendment to the Education Act that will see the kura hourua model permanently eliminated from the state education system.
We ask you to visit our schools and see and understand for yourself what has enabled them to achieve so much. As with any proposed school closures, we ask you to consult with the affected students, parents, whanau and communities before making any further decisions.
We seek your endorsement of the Crown’s commitments to the principles of partnership, reciprocity, active protection and equity derived from the Treaty of Waitangi - for the benefit of all young New Zealanders now and into the future, irrespective of their ethnicity or learning needs.
We therefore urge you to await the findings of the Waitangi Tribunal on Claim Wai 2770 now before them, which raises serious concerns over the failure by the Crown to consult Māori on the closure of these 11 schools. Our claim has now been endorsed by more than 60 kaumātua from iwi across the North Island.
Prime Minister, we ask you to intervene unequivocally this week to stop the destruction of the kura hourua model and ensure that justice and fairness prevail.
Noho ora mai
Sir Toby Curtis KNZM, PhD
and on behalf of
Hon Dame Tariana Turia
Dame Iritana Tawhiwhirangi
Pem Bird MNZM QSM