Last year our clever granddaughter (in top 10% of her class) had to endure the so-called 'bicultural framework' course at Wintec as part of a midwifery degree. She's a person who relates very well to others in group sessions regardless of ethnicity. She was naturally receptive to sensitivities associated with traditional Maori pregnancy, birthing and new-born baby practices, like incantations, burying the placenta, tying the umbilical cord with flax, anointing the baby, etc.
However, this compulsory 'bicultural' subject appeared to have nothing to do with midwifery. It dealt only on colonisation,
ideologically-driven by anti-colonial sentiments and subtly aimed towards white guilt. An essay, which rated 50% of this key module mark, appeared relatively innocuous:
"Identify and describe the mechanisms of colonisation within an Aotearoa context."
Students were asked "to explore the underlying historical, social and political processes that have contributed to the colonisation of Māori in Aotearoa." Links between Te Tiriti and colonisation of Aotearoa were to be explored and the mechanisms by which Aotearoa was colonised had to be described.
The tutor for this course made sure non-Maori students were loaded with white guilt. Attempts by any student to mention any positive aspect of colonisation were put down as demonstrating 'white fragility'. Such students were threatened with course penalties including scaling down of marks. That's unethical and illegal.
Incidentally, students had to give a speech in Te Reo as part of the course but, inevitably, our granddaughter lost marks for mispronouncing one word. She eventually passed this subject but regrettably, others failed, including Maori students who, in fact, were as uncomfortable with the course tutor as non-Maori.
I understand such compulsory bicultural studies are now widespread throughout many courses at tertiary institutes. If such courses are being conducted like the one at Wintec, then I am very concerned that such powerful forces are subverting our education history.
Wintec is constantly encouraging students to undertake nursing and midwifery courses given the chronic shortage of practitioners in these areas. However, our granddaughter has quit the course for now, given the above experience and other reasons including bullying and general unpleasantness that produced a toxic environment. She has returned to her farming activities, now outside of her family, but may reconsider resuming the course next year. If she chooses not to resume the course, then Wintec have lost a star pupil who we expect would have excelled at her profession. Her paternal grandmother, herself a retired midwife, has said she's better off out of it.