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Don’t come to New Zealand if you want your child to be an academic genius

These are the words of a new migrant parent who was interviewed for a recent research project conducted by Whanau Marama Parenting. Behind her words are the deep concerns of many new migrant parents. In their country of origin children are expected to study for many hours after school every day, sometimes up to 11.00pm at night. They believe is that children need to apply themselves in this way to become successful now and for their future. Some parents have told us that they feel at loss of how to teach their children at home New Zealand because our schools do not seem to provide the same sort of text book with all the subject material in it as they are used to in their own country.

To add to this concern is the realization that their children are fast becoming Kiwi kids. It has not taken very long for their children to learn that parents of their friends at school don’t seem to have the same expectations concerning study time. Their friends appear to have lots of time for play, computer time, sport and other activities while their parents have different expectations for them. Parents often tell us that this difference in parental expectations and the resulting impact on their children has caused stress between themselves and their children as their children want to be treated the same as other children.

To help new migrant parents relax a little in regard to how Kiwi parents tend to approach study hours which are in addition to homework already provided by the school, I would like to offer the following example of a Kiwi kid who was educated in New Zealand school and now at the age of 39 is at the top of his chosen profession performing on the World Stage – definitely an ‘academic genius’.

Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab is an engineer with no university degree who’s learned rocket science by doing it. At the age of 18, Beck left his home town of Invercargill to work for Fisher and Paykel in Dunedin where working as an apprentice in Tool Making he gained hands-on engineering skills and access to top of the line machinery and materials after hours.  Beck now has a long history of innovation, multiple awards, and a good reputation in the aerospace world. Since the first launch Rocket Lab has begun to make world-first technologies. In January this year Rocket Lab succeeded in launching their first rocket into orbit. The first private company in the world to achieve such a mission!

Peter Beck follows an exceedingly long line of other New Zealanders who have, and still are, at the very top of the world in their chosen field of expertise. So if you know of a new migrant parent who may be experiencing anxiety over whether they have made the right decision by bringing their family to New Zealand please encourage them. For such a little country we are doing well. We are so exceedingly proud to have so many academic geniuses educated in our New Zealand schools.

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