MEET THE PEOPLE
Maori Council Meeting
Manukorihi marae at Waitara was host for the annual ‘Meet the People’ meeting of the New Zealand Maori Council, from 18–20 March. Perfect weather, first-class sleeping accommodation and excellent meals made the hui a memorable one for the delegates and visitors.
The visitors started to arrive on Friday 18 March, the first delegates coming from the Tairawhiti (East Coast).
The first major session was on Saturday, when the afternoon was devoted to a discussion on Education. Principal speakers were Dr K. J. Sheen, who has subsequently been appointed Director-General of Education, and Mr Harre, newly appointed Officer for Maori Education.
During the discussions points which the people thought would help Maori education were made as follows:
Encouragement of pre-school work, with more assistance for the Maori Education Foundation's pre-school officer.
Teachers better trained to recognise and meet the needs of Maori children.
Week-day hostels at secondary schools in country districts.
Rapid increase in student counselling, and in the number of visiting teachers, reading and other specialist teachers.
A better-paid vocational guidance service.
Priority in class reduction to schools with big Maori enrolments.
Extra library facilities.
More attractive conditions of service in country schools.
A higher school-leaving age.
Discussions on Saturday night were on the Prichard-Waetford report on Maori land and the Maori Land Court. The meeting confirmed a council decision for a conference in Auckland to discuss the report. An attempt would be made to reach conclusions or make alternative suggestions, if required, for the Government's consideration.
Another important topic discussed was the position of wardens. It had been appreciated for a long time that the work they did, especially at huis and meetings, warranted their receiving some extra assistance. Speakers pointed out that many wardens devoted considerable time to their voluntary work and often incurred expenses in travel and on clothing. The council agreed to look into ways to assist them.
The service on Sunday was conducted by the Rev. T. Flavell and the address was given by the Bishop of Aotearoa, the Rt. Rev. W. N. Panapa.
In the farewells, special thanks were given to the Aotea District Council, the Waitara Maori Committee, the Taranaki Trust Board, the Maori women's Welfare League and other organisations and people who joined in this great ‘Meet the People’ venture.