Lindsay Perigo
Lindsay Perigo

The Politically Incorrect Show - 04/10/2000

[Music - Die Fledermaus]

Good afternoon, Kaya Oraaa & welcome to the Politically Incorrect Show on the free speech network, Radio Pacific, for Wednesday October 4, proudly sponsored by Neanderton Nicotine Ltd., the show that says bugger the politicians & bureaucrats & all the other bossyboot busybodies who try to run our lives with our money; that stands tall for free enterprise, achievement, profit, & excellence, against the state-worshippers in our midst; that stands above all for the most sacred thing in the universe, the liberty of the human individual.

[Music up, music down!]

Germane to all the recent discussion of this country's drift - or is it plunge? - into apartheid is this e-mail I received from a parent:

"In the light of the NZ Olympic effort, debate over winning versus participation rages on Banksie's breakfast show. Our efforts at the 2000 Olympics are that of a nation of losers.

"This attitude of reducing people to the lowest common denominator is now being heavily programmed into our children via the school system. This is highlighted by the creation of the 'Whanau Class' in our school in Motueka.

"Like the Blacks in America pre-70s, who rode at the back of the bus, our kids now ride at the back of the Education System bus. At the front rides the Whanau Class. Five, six, seven year olds are segregated out and put in a special uniform, a special class, and taught they are different. The criterion: the colour of their skin.

"For the first time I have seen Maori playing games only with Maori.

"They are taught they alone are special, that the others should be grateful to co-exist.

"But one thing both classes do learn, and that is to be losers, to be mediocre, to get a Merit Certificate, not Gold.

"Regularly I have to de-programme my children, explain that special treatment based on race is wrong, that being mediocre is wrong and that winning Gold, being the best is OK.

"My kids are New Zealanders, they are winners - they are also Maori.

"They do not attend the Whanau Class."

Well, I contacted the principal at the school concerned. He confirmed that there is a special whanau class, right through to year eight, in fact, & said that this is not uncommon in primary schools throughout New Zealand. He said their curriculum is no different from that taught in regular classes, except that it's taught in Maori. Whanau children, he added, are not put in a special uniform except when they attend "culture competitions." The classes are optional, & are attended by about half of the school's Maori pupils.

If I were a Maori parent, I would, like my e-mailer, keep my children in the regular class. If I wanted them to learn Maori I would teach them that at home. I would realise that the best asset I could equip them with is a thorough command of English, first & foremost. In fact, given that a command of English is notoriously not imparted even in regular classes, I would pull them out of the state system altogether, if I could afford to pay twice for their education.

I daresay the whanau classes ARE immersed in all the cultural baggage, cited by my e-mailer, that is holding Maori back - the tribalism, the mysticism, the antipathy to European individualism, etc.. That's sad, & it will prove to be highly destructive. There is ONE form of separation I would approve of, however, & ultimately it is the only antidote to what is going on - the separation of school from state. That way, the Maori language could stand or fall in a free marketplace of diverse educational offerings - all trying to prove their credentials as medal-winners. If it were to flourish in those circumstances, good luck to it.

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