Associate Education Minister and Maori Party Co-leader Dr Pita Sharples says the ten-year anniversary of the Enviroschools Foundation is a milestone that's really worth celebrating.
Speaking at a function in Hamilton this evening [6.30pm Wednesday 18 January 2012] Dr Sharples congratulated the Foundation, and all its support partners, for carrying on their work.
"The idea that our relationships with the natural environment guide our attitudes and behaviour, and frame the way we educate our children, is a very Maori perspective - one we share with indigenous peoples around the world," said Dr Sharples.
He said a Maori world view means "environmental consciousness influences everything we do."
"So the environment is not 'out there', an 'issue' that we can choose to engage in or not. It is part of us, and part of our families, and we are part of the environment.
Dr Sharples said he saw the philosophy of Enviroschools aligning closely with that of kura kaupapa Maori, and the two supporting each other strongly.
"And as Co-leader of the Maori Party, I can say we have strongly supported Enviroschools.
"We had some rather heavy and, I am pleased to say, successful negotiations over the Emissions Trading Scheme and the Budget with our partners in the last government.
"The result is that we were able to restore funding for Enviroschools."
Dr Sharples said the Maori Party's support was carried over into its election policy, and confirmed in the new Confidence and Supply agreement with the National Party.
"The result is that the new Government has agreed with our advocacy to "reinstate government funding to Enviroschools and Kura Taiao". So we look forward to this work continuing," he said.
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