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Source: New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI)

NZEI Te Riu Roa launches Kōhanga Reo fair pay campaign

4 July 2020

Today NZEI Te Riu Roa is launching Te Ake Rautangi, a new whakahau calling for the mana of Kōhanga Reo kaimahi to be upheld by ensuring all kaimahi are paid fairly.

Announced at this weekend’s annual Te Kāhui Whetū national hui, the campaign is a response to the historically low pay Kōhanga Reo kaimahi continue to receive, says NZEI Te Riu Roa Matua Takawaenga Laures Park.

“Currently, many Kōhanga Reo kaimahi are paid less than the minimum wage in return for the incredible skills and experience they bring to an important kaupapa for tamariki Māori. Kōhanga Reo kaimahi have comparable qualifications to other teachers and kaiako in the sector, and distinct additional skills, drawing on knowledge of Te Ao Māori and fluency in Te Reo Māori,” says Ms Park.

In its 2019 and 2020 Budgets the Government has boosted funding for Kōhanga Reo, but to date there has been no visible increase in kaimahi pay.

“While there’s funding in Budget 2020 for improving kaimahi wages, there’s a real possibility that this will only get kaimahi to next year’s new minimum wage,” says Ms Park.

“With other kaimahi from the sector receiving $23.97 per hour, and the Living Wage sitting at $22.10 an hour, it’s clear that even the new minimum wage just doesn’t recognise the value Kōhanga Reo kaimahi bring to their mahi,” Ms Park adds.

Tira Toki, Kōhanga Reo representative on the NZEI Te Riu Roa Early Childhood National Council, says that making the move to pay Kōhanga Reo kaimahi fairly would ensure their mana is upheld.

“We are asking people across the motu to tautoko this whakahau to show Kōhanga Reo kaimahi just how much we value them.”

“This is about our kaiako. Kaimahi in Te Kōhanga Reo do the same as all kaiako, so we should be paid the same.”

The name of the campaign, referencing the ake ake tree, symbolises the collective strength of Kōhanga Reo kaimahi and the need to recognise their value and mana as a professional workforce.

Supporters can show they tautoko this kaupapa and can request campaign updates at the campaign’s new webpage: