24 Mar 2012

Evidence completed in Waitangi Tribunal Kohanga inquiry

8:30 pm on 24 March 2012

A two-week long Waitangi Tribunal inquiry on the Kohanga movement has wrapped up, with both the movement and the Crown giving evidence.

The urgent sitting was brought to the Tribunal by the Kohanga Reo National Trust Board, which wants a law change to allow it to break away from the Ministry of Education and become self-managing.

On the final day for the Crown to present evidence, it called before the Waitangi Tribunal officials from the Education Review Office and Dr Anne Meade, who has specialised in early childhood education.

During cross examination Dr Meade was questioned about how education differs in Kohanga compared to other pre-school centres.

She says Kohanga is not that different because it still aims to foster children in learning and development.

But Dr Meade says the movement does have a different method of teaching children.

She also told the Tribunal that in western society quality of education is set by government, which tends to implement regulations such as class size, teacher professional development and whether surroundings are safe for children.

Whanau on both sides in claim - Board

Meanwhile, a member of the Kohanga Reo National Trust Board says its claim before the Waitangi Tribunal has resulted in whanau being pitted against family who work for government.

Te Wharehuia Milroy says a difficult situation has arisen that has seen whanau who work for the government and have contractual obligations being pitted against family when giving evidence.

However the Trust says the inquiry will help the movement and the Crown clear the air and move forward.

The Kohanga Trust and the Crown will present their closing submissions to the Tribunal in late April.