(We recently published Bob Brockie’s article about Maori groups putting pressure on the Royal Society and Otago University to have the Treaty and Maori viewpoints central in all scientific investigation.(Scroll down to April 10.) Bud Jones points out below that Victoria University of Wellington has caught some of the contagion.)
Serious questions on spiritualism, religiosity and racism
By Bud Jones
First a little about my background and credentials.
After immigrating from America, I had service with the NZ Symphony Orchestra for 40 years and as Artist Teacher at Victoria University for 26 years 1990—2016.
I was awarded a QSM in 2013 for services to education at the high school and university level, including director for NZ National Youth groups, and also for environmental achievements.
Does Maori culture have a place in all courses?
mātauranga Māori = Māori knowledge – the body of knowledge originating from Māori ancestors, including the Māori world view and perspectives, Māori creativity and cultural practices.
I was recently asked to advise and assist on a rather difficult situation regarding the introduction of race based values to academic discipline. You can see my response to my valued colleague and former head of department at Victoria University.
He said What does matauranga maori have to do with teaching music and percussion studies? Google it Bud and tell me if you think this is relevant?
He went on to say:
On 14 March I will need to present our school’s 2018 learning, teaching, and equity priorities to Te Maruako Aronui (the FHSS LT&E Committee), and I would like your input on this. We are encouraged to define these priorities in line with the 2017-2021 VUW Learning and Teaching Strategy .
In particular they were required to indicate how there would be increased incorporation of mātauranga Māori in courses.
My reply: resist the call for racism in courses
I’ve enquired with other former teachers and the consensus is: anything implying spiritualism religiosity or racism has no place in the university and probably the university Charter says it explicitly.
You cannot comply with this call for racism being incorporated into the school on personal, moral, ethical and academic grounds.
Besides, it is outside your job description to be advocating any spiritual, religious or racial bias in your academic teaching subject.
You are not, nor can you be, a parrot for someone else’s agenda, it is morally reprehensible that this secular academic institution should call on you to do so as well.
According to the alumni of the Honor Society Museum, you can respectfully decline on academic grounds of integrity!!
Maorification in the universities
Some academics are working full time on the maorification of everything. That crashing charlatan of Waikato University, Russell Bishop, Professor of Maori Studies, takes a huge taxpayer salary to dream up this sort of bad joke, and DREAMING UP such nonsense phrases as what is good for non maori is not always good for maori, but what is good for maori is always good for non-maori!!”
At Victoria, it is one step too far as the very words in matauranga maori, as defined above, contain elements of spirituality. As a secular institution, I’m certain the university charter rejects all reference and elements of spirituality or religion. (The exception would be religious studies.)
In a way it is like asking lecturers to incorporate the Catholic trans-substantiation into the teaching of the Beethoven piano sonatas, a notion that would be tossed out of the institution as way beyond any nonsense John Cleese could dream up, or Rowan Atkinson, Spike Milligan or the 2 Ronnies.
Does the Victoria University Charter allow for requiring teachers to incorporate racism, spirituality, religiosity i.e. matauranga maori in courses?
John Robinson’s perspective
I asked my friend John Robinson who is a retired scientist and active historian to give me his views.
I am a scientist by training and a statistician and historian by profession. I have written a number of books on the remarkable way that two very different people came to form one nation.
It is important, and sad, to find that any idea of unity, of equality (that I thought was the first very guiding principle of a modern society) is no longer believed in by our government (now local as well as central) and a whole ruling class, including academics. It is explicitly denied by Geoffrey Palmer.
I did think, too, that religion should be set aside in public affairs but the new racism gives Maori the right to involve us in their prayers.
The requirement to consider matauranga is very widespread. It is found in science, and agreed to by the Royal Society of New Zealand – which scientists I know look upon with scorn. The meaning of the requirement is not made clear, but it does give power (and funds) to a whole group of Maori (identified by race).
Indeed, it takes courage to say anything about the need for equality in today’s climate. Like so many, I have been called racist for opposing special inherited rights. Since I am well and truly retired (except writing books) I can come to no harm by continuing, and one recent article I wrote for the Kapiti Independent News was “This racist New Zealand.”
(Editor footnote: This is a very important issue which impinges on academic integrity, censorship, freedom of expression and social engineering. Bud sent his concerns to TVI; Victoria University Vice Chancellor, Grant Guilford: Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins; Race Relations Conciliator, Susan Devoy; Radio New Zealand’s Jim Mora for his Panel and to Kim Hill for Saturday Mornings discussion.
None of the above have replied.)