Volume 55 1946 > Volume 55, No. 3 > Review, p 236-238
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H. C. McQUEEN: Vocations for Maori Youth. New Zealand Council for Educational Research. 186 pages, index, illustrations, appendix and bibligraphy.

This volume is dated July, 1945, and fairly represents the most up-to-date thought on the subject-matter. It is divided into seven chapters, titled problem, education, race, work, vocational guidance, land, and adult education. The author is well known as research officer to the New Zealand Council for Educational Research and the writer of other authoritative publications, notably Vocational Guidance in New Zealand and Education in New Zealand Museums.

It is rightly asserted that there are many problems facing the Maori, none of which can be isolated and solved independently, though the solution of one would contribute to the solution of others. Statistical evidence is given showing that the Maori population is increasing more rapidly than the Pakeha, and that its distribution is noticeably skewed on the younger side. Coupled with this increasing population is the limited supply of land. “Numbers of young Maoris, leaving school at fourteen or fifteen, have no prospect of work on the land, and become casual or seasonal workers, idle about their homes between intermittent jobs that lead to nothing permanent.” In some districts perhaps half of those leaving school have no prospects beyond these. The solution of the vocational problem centres around the mental abilities of the Maori, and the place they are capable of occupying in the New Zealand economy. Mr. McQueen makes suggestions and proposals intended to form the basis for planning to bring about the desirable end that Maoris should be economically independent, and psychologically secure.

With the contention that schooling in one generation influences the life of the next and subsequent generations, a strong plea is put forward for extending educational facilities for the Maori. In 1941, there were established three Native district high schools at Ruatoria, Tikitiki, and Te Araroa, and one at Te Kao in 1944. In the past, post-primary education has been limited to denominational colleges, and secondary schools located in places where Maoris happened to reside. A pertinent parallel is shown between the Maori of today and the Pakeha of forty years ago. During this period there has been a fuller appreciation among Pakehas of the value of education, a process yet to be developed among the Maori. “Once the notion of more schooling had been started it assumed greater and greater importance in people's minds until it became an accepted one. The experience of the past years can be drawn on in setting out a scheme of such education for the Maoris.”

Under the heading of “Education,” the author deals with the pros and cons of scholarships for Maoris and the question of the advisability of separate schools for the Maoris. “The general thesis - 237 of this report, that the intermingling of Maori and Pakeha in all walks of life is the only means by which Maori employment problems can be solved, makes it clear that schools in which Maoris and Pakehas can mix are necessary at all stages ... As a general principle the establishment of specifically Maori colleges and high schools should not be expected in the future.” Considerable thought is manifest in dealing with the nature of post-primary education and the carriculum, the author showing that such should allow for the special interests and aptitudes of the individual, and aiming at a generalized preparation for adult life.

The chapter on the relationship of the two races is the most informative and accurate resume of the situation written to date. A detailed discussion is given on the different attitudes towards the Maori; the equalitarian attitude where race is not taken into account at all, the feeling that Maoris lower the tone of certain institutions like hotels, clubs, etc., and the pro-Maori sentimentalist attitude which sometimes is unrealistic and actually damaging to a rational sympathetic view of Maori problems. The Maori is treated distinctly from the Pakeha in many ways as evidenced in the Maori Battalion, their exemption from conscription laws, their separate Home Guard units, and the fact that they have separate representation in Parliament. Race consciousness is frequently stimuated, and old grievances deliberately kept alive.

The obvious line of action to take is to arrange for the Maori to be accepted in all lines of occupation. He must be brought into steady employment, and to this end a long-range plan of action is necessary. Suitable occupational statistics are given, together with a discussion on the difficult problem of transferring the Maori from rural to urban life. There are decided differences in the sex-outlook of the two races which leads the Pakeha to be suspicious of Maori girls' morals. In addition there is the problem of tuberculosis among the Maori, and thus the hesitancy in employing them among foodstuffs. The housing problem is such that Maoris drifting to the cities are naturally drawn to the poorer quarters. Steps should be taken to combat degrading tendencies thus resulting. The author has faith in club-work in setting forth in plain terms of ideals of conduct in an endeavour to stiffen resistance to the temptations which often beset young people. He cites the Ngati-poneke Club as an example. The Maori given the opportunity, environment, and incentive, is quite capable of taking his place in clerical and shop work, in the professions, and in domestic service alongside the Pakeha.

On the subject of vocational guidance, the reader feels that the author is in his element, and that he has summed up the situation admirably. By “guidance,” is meant teaching the child or youth the art of making wise choices. The writer goes on, “The definition implies that from the very beginning of schooling the child should be placed in situations that require him to make genuine choices; as he grows older he will be more and more aware of the choices he may make, and of the reasons for his decisions. To an increasing extent he will become independent; his education, nevertheless, will have made him sufficiently aware of his ignorance to be willing to use expert advice when he needs it.”

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There should be a continuing drive for the employment of Maori youth. To this end special officers should be appointed, but their duties must be thought of as long-term ones and not as temporary to meet a need that will exist for a short time only. They should be officers of the Education Department working under the vocational guidance set-up already in existence. Mr. McQueen sets out what he considers to be the duties of these officers, classifying these duties under five points of contact; the employers, the general public, boys and girls, the parents, and the teachers.

The final chapters on land and adult education round off the report, and are necessary for the sake of completeness. It is stated that very little provision is made for the training of boys in agriculture. Afforestation and horticulture are touched on. The possibility of developing local industry in districts largely Maori appears small, but any activity evident in that direction should be encouraged. In conclusion the author makes an appeal for something to be done; and his final words are, “But action is not in the power of the author of a report like this. He can but propose action; and leave it to others to accept his proposals, or act in other ways to attain the result that his proposals suggest.”—W.G.


It is proposed to supply binding cases in red cloth, lettered in gold at 4/6 for each year's Journals. Will members who would purchase these, please advise the Secretary. If the demand is sufficient, it will be possible to proceed with the plan.