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No. 13 (December 1955)
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No. 1 (Vol. 4 No. 1)

At this time of year many young people and their parents face the choice between further education or an unskilled job. There is the child who has done reasonably well at school, but the family is large and money is limited; should this child be encouraged to pursue a skilled job or profession?

It is often a hard question to answer. There is a rapid increase from year to year in the number of Maoris taking up skilled trades and professions. High praise was given this year to the achievements of Maori apprentices. We see in this issue of Te Ao Hou that a vigorous Maori university student movement has grown up.

Among reasons why parents hesitate to encourage their children to take the hard road to the skilled trades or professions, is that the extra financial reward is said to be so little—sometimes only a few pence per hour. However, there is little doubt that a skill is as valuable now as ever to both Maori and pakeha. The wage awards do not tell the whole story: many skilled men. Maori and pakeha, work on their own account and earn far more than ordinary wages. In any case, how could we drive motor cars if there was nobody to design them? Is it satisfactory to leave pakehas to design bridges, repair aeroplanes, carry out building contracts? How can we have racial equality if Maoris are not educated to do some of the thinking, planning and inventing?

We also sometimes hear the complaint from Maori parents: Once they are educated we lose them, they forget their Maori background. To refute this suggestion, there are the Ngatas and Bucks who have obviously been benefactors to their people; there are also the many younger educated men who do such invaluable work in youth movements and in Maori organisations and buis everywhere; who are largely responsible for a Maori cultural resurgence over the last few years. There is no deep gulf at present between the educated and the uneducated Maori; it is important that such a gulf should never develop. Nor is it likely to, where parents show generosity, as they have so often done, in giving their children the opportunity to learn all they can absorb.

Many serious difficulties have to be solved if every Maori is to find the career suitable to his abilities. Accommodation has to be found for Maori students and apprentices in the cities. The hostels help to solve this problem, but we must increasingly look towards private accommodation, both in Maori and pakeha homes. They must be homes where someone is interested in helping the student or apprentice, for these people coming into a strange environment often need guidance and encouragement. Not only government officials, but anyone interested in Maori progress has a duty to help locate homes where Maori students and apprentices may be placed. The Department of Maori Affairs has a long list of young Maoris of the very best type waiting for the opportunity.