The New Zealand Education System Essay

The New Zealand Education System Essay

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Culture. The very essence of oneself and the preserving force behind the past and present identity of all people has and continues to play a significant role in the way education has developed. As a country, New Zealand is represented by a multitude of cultures and ethnicities, however it can be argued that the New Zealand education system appears to exclusively encompass Pākehā culture whilst undermining and foregoing others. To definitively say that many, if not all teachers are inextricably locked into reproducing Pākehā culture we must look at our history and see whether given the origins of education, they are capable of doing otherwise.

We can accredit much of the inequalities of today’s world as being a direct result of the idea of colonialism. Cabral (as cited in Small, 2015) defines colonialism as being “the paralysis or deviation or even halting of the history of one people in favour of the acceleration of the historical development of other peoples.” For New Zealand this meant that the Europeans were classed as colonisers because they moved into New Zealand and established their power as decision makers for the people. The Europeans had a very benevolent view of the act of colonialism and felt a phenomenon called ‘white mans burden’ whereby they believed that “as the superior race, [they] had this big obligation to do their best to bring civilisation to other races.” (Small, 2015). Consequently, this resulted in colonial education being incorporated into everyday life. The benefits of this teaching meant that the colonisers were increasing knowledge by giving the Māori people access to modern technology and showing them pathways of obtaining such knowledge. Carleton (as cited in Small, 2015) speaks of how they would “g...


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...dge to those who do not know. This movement is not dissimilar to the flow of culture and customs from one generation to the next and has the potential to be replaced or lost. As Europeans enforced the propriety of Pākehā culture during colonial time, the loss of Māori culture occurred to a detrimental point, this mindset is still prevalent in present day society and New Zealand education. Our origins and the society that educational institutions serve has resulted in schools being inextricably and undeniably locked in the reproduction of Pākehā culture to the point in which the importance of Māori culture has been impaired. Steps are being taken to ensure that this is not a mentality that continues to frequent our state schools, with the long-term aspiration for a New Zealand education system that is not divided in its history, events and predominantly – its culture.

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