17 Oct 2018

Urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing sought over charter school closures

6:17 pm on 17 October 2018

Māori educators have applied for an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing over the closure of charter schools.

Te Arawa leader Sir Toby Curtis.

Sir Toby Curtis (pictured) and Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi are calling for an urgent hearing of their treaty claim over the closure of charter schools. Photo: RNZ / Rosemary Rangitauira

Earlier this year, Sir Toby Curtis and Dame Iritana Tāwhiwhirangi filed the Wai 2770 treaty claim against the government's decision to close 11 charter schools through the country.

Sir Toby said the mainstream education system had been failing Māori children for almost two centuries.

The government was not taking into account the success of charter schools in lifting Māori educational achievement, he said.

Sir Toby said the government was stripping Māori educators of the ability to help Māori students flourish by closing charter schools.

"It does away with the provisions that allow them to help these children succeed - we're all aware one hat does not fit all," he said.

Former Māori Party co-leader Dame Tariana Turia and Māori educator Pem Bird are also part of the treaty claim.

The Waitangi Tribunal received the application for an urgent hearing this morning and a decision is expected in the next month.

All 12 charter schools that applied to become designated character or state integrated schools were approved by the goverment this year.

The Minister for education Chris Hipkins declined to comment on the latest developments on the claim as it is before the Waitangi Tribunal.

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