Liberatory Praxis: Conclusions

Mere Skerrett and Jenny Ritchie

Ritchie J., and M. Skerrett. Early Childhood Education in Aotearoa New Zealand: History, Pedagogy, and Liberation. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2014. doi: 10.1057/9781137375797.0011.

Na te Kohanga Reo te hopara makaurangi manu whakatau i rere

It is through the language nests of Kohanga Reo that the lead birds are nurtured to navigate from fore and aft, to lead from the front and rear, creating the slipstreams in which the Maori language can survive and thrive.

Colonization and Linguafaction

Part A of this book foregrounds some of the inherent racist underpinnings of colonization entrenched in the New Zealand consciousness; that consciousness which feeds the racist colonial thinking and narrative that is played out daily through the institutions, throughout the country’s media, and in early years’ education settings and schools. It is manifest in unequal power relations. No more apparent is this than in the interactions between (colonial-minded) monolingual English-speaking teachers and Indigenous children in their respective education contexts. That our current education system is inherently racist has been well-documented over the intervening years since it was established under the Education Ordinance, 1847, and, it is argued here, reeks of linguafaction: the process by which indigenous languages are wrestled away from indigenous peoples, and from their landscapes. Linguafaction is the language/land disconnect that makes territorialized space unsafe for Indigenous people and their languages (see Chapter 1). The discourse analysis of Chapter 1 is designed to unsettle settler historiographies in Aotearoa/New Zealand, dehegemonize the system, and challenge the one-sided partnerships that developed through the Courts as they undermined the founding documents that allowed for British settlement: the 1835 Declaration of Independence and the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi.

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