School Leavers at
Thirty-six senior Maori school-leavers from six local colleges attended a special function at the Whatumanu Maori Culture Club, Hastings, on 13 September.
After a tour of the Unilever factory and afternoon tea, the pupils were welcomed by Mr R. Giorgi, Mayor of Hastings, and were addressed by Mr M. Grainer, Technical Director of Unilever New Zealand Limited, on ‘Industry—Its Opportunities and requirements’, and Mr W. Herewini, Controller of Maori Welfare, who spoke on ‘The Maori in Modern Society’.
Mr Grainer urged the pupils to ‘as a generation try to do better than your parents, and see that your children do better than you’ and ‘to narrow the gap in development between races by learning and doing well at school and university, and then, with courage, seek and work in better positions.’ He said the pupils should ‘Aim to beat the Pakeha at his job’.
Outlining positions available in industry Mr Grainer gave the students advice on how to get a start in industry.
‘Come cleanly and neatly dressed and shaved
Members of the Whatumanu Club's panel, from left. Mr P. Naera, Deputy Chairman of the Club, Mr M. Te Hau. Mr J. Meha, Chairman of the Club, and Mr R. Smith, Seated, Mr J. Bennett, Mrs Tamahori and Mr W. Herewini.
Speak the best English you can muster, but be yourself—airs and graces are difficult to keep up.
If you apply in writing for a job, and virtually all good jobs will need this, write, and write and write the application letter again until the script is neat and the grammar good, clear and to the point—get help with this at first.
If a job demands you move somewhere—move if it is economic; if you don't you'll handicap yourself.
Think of your working life as a career and not as a series of disjointed jobs, and change jobs only to improve yourself. Money, however important, is not the most important part, and many a half step must be taken to win.’
Following the evening meal, members of a panel discussed questions on education, Maori language and culture, parliamentary representation and the functions of the Department of Maori Affairs.
Of particular interest was the answer to the question:—Is there mutual benefit in the amalgamation of European and Maori in the learning of Maori culture? The panel said, definitely yes, on two counts. First—the intrinsic value in the art or craft for its own
sake. Second—the great opportunity to meet on a common social basis, this leading to greater understanding and communication between Pakeha and Maori’.
Another question which aroused much discussion was that of the ‘language difficulty’ in the education of Maori children.
While conceding that a great number of Maori pupils did have English language difficulty, members of the panel were of the opinion that pre-school centres were of value, but that the Maori parent could do more to help overcome this difficulty. Parents could help by taking a more active part in the life of the school, e.g. attending P.T.A. functions, attending parent-teacher interviews, seeking more responsibility as members of School Committees and High School Boards, providing as far as was within their means a good home atmosphere conducive to homework and study, taking an intelligent interest in their children's progress and aspirations. Unfortunately in some cases, economic pressures tended to deprive a good pupil of the opportunity for a full education.
Time did not permit the answering of all questions submitted, but all agreed the day had been most interesting and worthwhile.
A new organisation, the Citizens' Association for Racial Equality, has opened an enquiry centre in Auckland, to provide advice and assistance to newcomers to the city, particularly Islanders and Maoris.
The main aim of the Association is to oppose racial prejudice in all its forms, both in New Zealand and overseas.
C.A.R.E.'s Inquiry Centre, at 12A East Street, Auckland, is open Monday to Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.