Call to educate migrants about Māori

10:07 am on 9 September 2015

A new report has identified a need for more education for migrants about Māori, the Treaty of Waitangi and biculturalism.

Maori classroom.

Migrants should have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori, Multicultural New Zealand says. Photo: RNZ / Tom Furley

The report, 'Our Multicultural Future', summarises the views of participants in 34 workshops held earlier this year with ethnic communities, Māori, youth and politicians.

Read a summary of the report (PDF, 13MB)

The workshops were held to discuss visions of a successful multicultural society and barriers to achieving that.

Multicultural New Zealand executive director Tayo Agunlejika said there was widespread acknowledgement of the need to respect and understand the Treaty of Waitangi, but also concern multiculturalism could erode its position.

Mr Agunlejika said there was a feeling there is a lack of education for migrants about the role they should play in the relationship between the Crown and Māori.

He said Multicultural New Zealand has put together a marae-based induction pilot programme, which should be offered to all new migrants.

He said migrants should also have the opportunity to learn te reo Māori and tikanga Māori, and to engage with tangata whenua.

Mr Agunlejika said they were also in discussion with tangata whenua about the role Māori could play in welcoming migrants to New Zealand and building relationships with ethnic communities.

He said the workshops highlighted the difficulty in establishing a bicultural foundation, as there are still issues between Māori and the Crown, and it is also going to take time to establish a successful multicultural society.

He said multiculturalism should not be seen as a threat but an addition that would strengthen the bicultural foundation of New Zealand.

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