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Read the passage carefully. Then choose the correct answer.
 
New Zealand's rich Maori culture began with the Polynesians who landed in the country many centuries ago. They formed a proud society that was well known for its creative artistry, especially in woodcarving. The Maoris had no written language. Instead, they regarded carving as a way of passing on their legacy. Their history and legends were carved into wood, thus ensuring that the younger generation would not lose their rich cultural heritage.

As New Zealand became more modernized, however, the Maoris began to lose their sense of history and heritage. The Europeans arrived and began to take over various aspects of life such as the economy and education. English became the national language and as cultural ties became eroded, so did the number of master carvers.

Unable to cope with the rapid changes of European civilization, most Maoris, like Greta Williams, felt trapped between two worlds. At home, she was not allowed to speak English because her grandparents did not understand the language and if she accidentally lapsed into her native tongue at school, she was punished and made to clean windows and toilets.

Like Greta, many other Maori children faced the same dilemma. Schools reflected European rather than Maori culture and because of this, many Maori children did badly in their studies. This led to a vicious cycle since poor results inevitably led to low-status jobs and this in turn to financial problems and trouble with the law.

Feeling helpless in a society where all things Maori were looked down upon, most Maori families had no choice but to conform and by the 1960s, almost 90 per cent of Maori children could not speak their native language.

While they accepted some of the changes that European culture imposed on them, the Maoris refused to stand by and do nothing while their land, history and culture were destroyed.

A group of dynamic Maori leaders launched an ambitious campaign called Tu Tangata (stand tall) which was aimed at instilling Maori pride. Amidst the many changes caused by the Tu Tangata campaign, the most important of all was to re-educate the Maori children. To do this, older women who had grown up in traditional Maori environments were called in to teach children the native language. The children attended kohanga-reo -- Maori for 'language nest' -- where they learnt traditional songs and picked up information on Maori music, dance, carving and storytelling.

These kohanga-reo exist till today and through the lessons that are learnt there, older Maoris are at least assured that their language, culture and tradition will not die with them.

     
  1. According to paragraph 1, the Maoris did not have a written language because ______.
       
    (A) they did not know how to do so
    (B) they did not have writing materials
    (C) their language was too difficult to write
    (D) they had an alternative form of communication
       
  2. The 'two worlds' (paragraph3) refer to ______.
       
    (A) one's home and school
    (B) one's parents and teachers
    (C) one's language and culture
    (D) one's native culture and a foreign culture
       
  3. According to paragraph 4, Maori children who did badly in their studies would inevitably ______.
       
    (A) commit crimes
    (B) speak poor English
    (C) have no trouble finding jobs
    (D) have problems understanding laws
       
  4. Why could almost 90 per cent of Maori children not speak their native language by the 1960s ?
       
    (A) They preferred learning English.
    (B) There was no one to teach it to them.
    (C) It was difficult to learn compared to English.
    (D) Their families abandoned their native language as it was discriminated upon.
       
  5. Why do you think Tu Tangata was an 'ambitious campaign' (paragraph 7) ?
       
    (A) It was difficult to implement.
    (B) It had never been done before.
    (C) It was important to the Maori people.
    (D) It was something that everyone desired.
       
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  Answers : 1D   2D   3A   4D   5A
 
 
 
 

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