All New Zealand teachers have the choice of using te reo classroom titles, the Ministry of Education says, after two student teachers in the Hawke's Bay say they weren't allowed to.
In a statement to 1 NEWS this morning, the ministry's deputy secretary of education system policy Andrea Schöllmann said Māori have a right to use matua and whaea titles.
"The Education & Training Act 2020 requires schools to be good employers, provide a physically and emotionally safe space for students and staff and to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi," she said.
"We would expect that to meet these obligations schools would embrace Te Reo Māori in the classroom and allow teachers to use matua and whaea titles."
It comes after two student teachers in Hawke's Bay were told they weren’t allowed to be addressed as "whaea" or "matua" while on a school placement.
Arihi Hutana and Rangi Mitchell told Te Karere the terms of respect honoured their whakapapa and the decision for them not to be used felt as if they were cutting ties to their identity.