Maori prayers could be banned from the classroom if campaigners succeed in their bid to remove religious instruction from state schools, an academic says.
AUT history professor Dr Paul Moon’s comments came after a High Court judge last month threw out a test case because the parent challenging the legality of the Bible in Schools programme failed to file documents in time.
Dr Moon said although that court action had failed, it would not be the last attempt to remove Bible teaching from state schools. “Banning religious practices in schools may inevitably extend to removing karakia from schools as well,” Dr Moon said.
“Should any court action be successful in achieving this ruling, an important part of the culture of our schools will effectively be banned.”
Karakia are a set form of Maori words, or prayers, used ritually at significant events such as hui, tangi and unveilings.
Dr Moon said any attempt to remove karakia from schools would be a breach of the Treaty of Waitangi.