Topics: Prison, Te Reo Māori

Update from Parliament on Serco and Te Reo speech

By Heta Gardiner

Serco's performance across the board needs to improve and they are on notice.  This from Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga following his meeting with the company's executives this morning.

The minister says that he made his concerns clear to both Serco and the Department of Corrections and his expectations with regards to the management of Mt Eden Prison.

Allegations of inmate violence have been levelled by the Opposition, following the release of footage on YouTube of fight clubs being run in the prison.

The minister was hounded by the media today, much like a lion circling its prey, but despite the relentless pressure regarding Serco, the big take away from today is, that he will not sanction them for their behaviour just yet.

Another matter was raised in Parliament was the right of all students in Aotearoa to learn the Māori language in school, because over the past few days the spotlight has been put on the pronunciation of Māori words by a non-Māori student from Kāpiti College.

So what did the minister, Hekia Parata make of this student's challenge?

A good idea says the minister.  “I agree that the pronunciation of Māori words needs to be correct.”

But something worth implementing?  Not a chance.

“In terms of making it compulsory in schools, I don't agree with that,” says Parata.

This became news after a YouTube clip from Finnian Galbraith about the need to pronounce Māori words correctly went viral.  It was even being reported by the BBC.

Te Ururoa Flavell says, “I absolutely agree with his challenge.”

Parliament is one place were mispronunciation breeds.  But the minister thinks the fault lies with others.

Parata says, “The biggest culprits are you people in media.  On TV and on radio.  My name is Hekia Parata, not Paarata, not Parataa, it's Parata.”

It might be left up to the next non-Māori teenager to make this a reality.

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