28 Feb 2013

Cullen takes kohanga go-between role

8:32 pm on 28 February 2013

Former Labour deputy prime minister Sir Michael Cullen is to monitor changes to kohanga reo.

He has been appointed as an independent adviser to implement recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal's report on Maori pre-schools, working with the Crown and Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board.

The inquiry issued five recommendations, including that the Government says it is sorry for severe prejudice on kohanga by successive governments and that an adviser be appointed by and report directly to the Prime Minister.

Te Kohanga Reo National Trust Board said it hopes Sir Michael's appointment will foster a strong Treaty-based relationship between the language nests and the Crown.

Education Minister Hekia Parata said Sir Michael is someone who has clear public standing and whom all parties could trust.

The minister said Sir Michael is very familiar with the process of government and policy and is supportive of te reo Maori as a treasure and an academic subject.

All parties will work on a new policy for the pre-schools, funding arrangements, and a Kohanga Reo bill.