Topic: Education

Family of girl banned from Māori language education granted appeal

The family of a 7-year-old girl banned from Māori language education by the Family Court earlier this year is a step closer to having the case overturned.

The High Court today granted leave for an appeal to be heard in May. Dr Pita Sharples, one of the founders of total immersion schools, was in court to support the case.

It's a legal battle Sir Pita Sharples is keen to join.

He says, “It's appalling. The language will become extinct if cases like these continue.”

As one of the founders of total Māori immersion education, he says the Family Court's ruling is an attack on Māori education.

“I was really angry that the court ruled that a child was no longer allowed to attend total Māori immersion schooling. We set up these movements away from the jurisdictions of law.”

The girl's mother made three applications to the High Court, including an application for leave. The judge approved, suspending the Family Court's ruling.

The Family Legal Advisor Tom Harris says, "So we're here to support the application that the court recognise the importance of Māori education and the effect of being attached to their tikanga has on for this child."

However, the judge didn't agree to a stay of proceedings, which would have meant the girl would return immediately to her school while the Family Court decision is reviewed.

Harris says, "We have the right to appeal so we're taking that and under that appeal we are now challenging that decision.It's very important that we do challenge it and it's very important that we do win this on behalf of XXXX and any other tamariki and whānau that are looking to access their culture."

The appeal will be heard at the High Court in two weeks' time.

Here is the original story from Native Affairs on the issue 

Part Two of the story can be located by following this link