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No. 26 (March 1959)
– 56 –

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

HAWKES BAY EDUCATION BOARD

Sir,

In a recent issue you refer to the “first member of the Maori race to be elected to an Education Board”. I wish to state that I am a Maori and I served on the Hawkes Bay Education Board from 1946 to 1950. After serving for four years, I feel that there was a definite need for a member of the Maori race to be on an Education Board and I am very pleased that Dr D. Sinclair has been elected to the Board.

Geo. Brown (Whatatutu).

ELSDON BEST

Sir,

There are still among the kaumatua a number who remember personally Feehi (Elsdon Best), the Fakeha who did much to record and preserve the culture and traditions of the Maori people. As a mokopuna of Peehi I am compiling the story of his life and work and wish to obtain information, particularly that contained in letters and other documents. Much of his life was spent among Tuhoe in the Urewera Country, where, unfortunately, his diaries were lost when he moved from Ruatoki to Wellington. Will any readers of Te Ao Hou who may have information concerning Peehi please communicate with me at the address below or tell me where the information may be obtained.

Thanking you for permitting me to make this appeal through your columns.

Elsdon Craig,

149 Mount Albert Road,

Mount Albert,

Auckland.

TE TAKUATE A KAWITI

Sir,

In the July (1958) issue of your excellent magazine mention was made by Piwai Toi in his article “Opo, The Gay Dolphin” of “te toka o Mapuna”. Some months ago you also published a version of Kawiti's Lament or “Te Takuate A Kawiti”. Again there was mention of “te ripo haranui e waho o Mapuna”.

I am interested to learn just where this rock (obviously it is a rock) is to be located. Is it in the Hokianga Harbour? I ask this question because on the East Coast between Matauri Bay and the Cavalli Islands there is also a Mapuna which is held in deep reverence by the older members of the Ngapuhi sub-tribes in that area.

I am keenly interested to learn if possible whether there are two Mapunas or whether in each case they (the articles) refer to the same.

I have seen the the Matauri Bay version of “te kare o Mapuna” and viewed from the lofty hills of the mainland it is a really magnificent sight and yet viewed close-up, especially in a dinghy—and at night—it is an awe-inspiring spectacle.

Heoi nei ra. I do think your magazine is a wonderful effort except for one thing—It should be a monthly publication.

“Curious” (Manaia, Taranaki)

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CAN MAORIS MAKE MORE USE OF EDUCATION?

Conferences on Maori education were held at Rotorua, Auckland and Whangerei last October between school teachers, Maori welfare officers and some Maori leaders. The purpose of the conferences was to bring about closer co-operation between schools and Maori communities in the education of Maori children.

Conferences were attended by Mr K. I. Robertson, Officer for Maori Schools, and Mr W. Herewini, Acting Controller of Maori Welfare. Head teachers of many primary and secondary schools took part, as well as other educational experts.

As a result of the conferences, the Department of Maori Affairs has issued a bulletin to welfare officers, giving guidance in this educational work. Among the suggestions are:
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Encouraging the election of Maoris to school committees, also in Board schools.

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Encouraging Maori parents to go to school meetings.

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Encouraging invitations to school teachers to visit Maori communities.

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Encouraging Maori participation in kindergartens.

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Encouraging the formation of liaison committees bringing together staff from a post-primary school, teachers of contributing primary schools and local social workers. Such committees should try to improve homework facilities for the college pupils, bring more reading matter into the community and discuss future jobs with the pupils.

Not all the suggestions in the bulletin are new; in fact, welfare officers and teachers have been doing this work for many years. However, the conferences and the bulletin should strengthen the effort.

It is hoped that at a later stage the Departments of Education and Maori Affairs will issue a joint statement about this aspect of Maori education.