New government better for kaupapa Māori, says te reo teacher

A Taupō te reo Māori teacher is thrilled at the prospect of a NZ First/Labour/Greens government for the protection of kaupapa Māori beliefs

Stephanie Richards, head te reo Māori teacher at Taupō-nui-a-Tia College and co-founder of the Taupō Waka Ama Club, said New Zealand had lost ground under National.

Stephanie Richards. Photo: Supplied

“The people, the land and the economy should be taken care of. New Zealand slid down under the National government and we lost our uniqueness – look at how many homeless there are.”

With the Greens being offered three ministerial positions and a parliamentary under-secretary role, they will be able to keep NZ First honest about taking care of the land and the water, Richards said.

“I think it’s a better balance, definitely.

“National is all to do with finance, not with the people. Their policies don’t take care of the land or the water, and it’s not just the health of the water, it’s the fisheries and the like.”

Richards anticipates a more environmental approach to politics.

“If you go back to kaupapa Māori, they did look at sustainability,” said Richards, referring to kaitiakitanga and protection of the land.

This election was also a good opportunity to help Richards’ students understand the importance of having their say, telling them to “go home and tell their families to vote. Whether it was for the Māori party or not it’s about having your say.”

Richards says that it remains vital that New Zealand consider our natural environment when making future decisions.

“I grew up in the clean green New Zealand – a lot of what I teach isn’t just about the language; it’s about being a good citizen.”

Labour leader Jacinda Ardern is expected to release more details surrounding the coalition in the coming week.