A fair go in Aotearoa

Aotearoa, land of the long white cloud.

Isolated from the rest of the world by thousands of miles of sea and considered by some to be the heaven on earth.

But through all the beauty and the pristine image New Zealand creates, is New Zealand a fair go for all?

In my personal opinion, I believe that Aotearoa is balanced with both positive and negative examples.

To justify my points I will be using examples of multiculturalism and education.

As a country that supports and promotes multiculturalism, New Zealand still has signs of racial prejudice and discrimination throughout the country.

For example, English culture and traditions still dominate and even with religions, Christianity is more widely promoted and celebrated than any other religions.

I for one have never seen other religious gathering places such as mosques, yet churches are plentiful and although a large percentage of New Zealanders are Christians, there are still many that celebrate different beliefs.

Racism is another negative of multiculturalism and although not common, racism is still present in everyday society.

For example, Paul Henry's racial outburst on popular TV show Breakfast sparked nationwide controversy.

He was made to make a public apology in a reprimand for his outbreak.

It is for this reason that Aotearoa could be seen as not a fair go for all.

The negatives for the education system in New Zealand include that foreigners or people of different culture feel that in school their cultures and beliefs are being overpowered by English, being "Kiwinised".

For example, the poem Uncle Hakaraia by Apirana Taylor explains and describes the feeling of having your language dominated by another until in the end, as the poem says, "He couldn't even string two words together in his native language".

This is why I believe New Zealand schools should promote the learning of another language in an attempt to get students to gain knowledge of different cultures and beliefs.

Multiculturalism in New Zealand is getting stronger as more people make attempts to celebrate different traditions like introducing new holidays (e.g. Chinese New Year) and people immigrating to New Zealand will feel acceptance, making living here an enjoyable time.

Although there may be signs of racism in New Zealand, the cases are a rarity. As New Zealand is becoming a multicultural society, people are learning to get along with one another and many are striving to have racism abolished.

Also, because New Zealand has various cultures living here, immigrants will see New Zealand as a nice, safe place to live; this will boost our economy.

Education in New Zealand follows the three-tier model, which includes primary schools, secondary schools and tertiary schools at universities and polytechs.

The New Zealand Government saw it extremely important for all children to have a decent education in order for the country's economy to prosper for future generations and decided for schooling to be free for public primary and secondary schools.

Also, New Zealand schools overall have high pass rates, which is why New Zealand was rated to have one of the best education systems in the world. This is one of the reasons that Aotearoa is a fair go for all.

In my personal opinion, although there are balanced reasons for Aotearoa being, and not being, a fair go for all, compared to most countries the negatives are a minority.

I believe the positives are what define New Zealand as the happy, safe and beautiful environment that those of us who are lucky enough to call ourselves citizens of NZ experience.


By James Hobson, Year 11, Waitaki Boys' High School



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