New prin­ci­pal build­ing re­la­tion­ships

Kaikoura Star - - OUT & ABOUT - PIPPA BROWN

The new prin­ci­pal of Ha­puku School hopes to grow the stu­dent roll and deepen the spe­cial char­ac­ter­is­tics of te reo Ma¯ori, as well as strengthen ties with the com­mu­nity.

Tai Hu­ata, who hails from Te Rohe Po¯tae, the King Coun­try, has been an ed­u­ca­tor for 30 years, mostly in the Waikato and later in Can­ter­bury. He was work­ing at Te Kuiti High School when the po­si­tion of prin­ci­pal at Ha­puku School came up.

‘‘First I want to come in and be part of the school and build re­la­tion­ships with the stu­dents and the com­mu­nity, mak­ing a safe place again for the school af­ter the earth­quake, and just be able to en­hance the spe­cial char­ac­ter of the school which is te reo and tikanga,’’ he said.

Hu­ata comes from a strong ed­u­ca­tional back­ground and any­time he can he’ll grab the chance to learn.

‘‘I’ve al­ways been taught ed­u­ca­tion is a pow­er­ful tool, and it is very im­por­tant to me.

‘‘I’ve been taught no mat­ter what type of ed­u­ca­tion it is, whether it be in the class­room, or the bush, it’s im­por­tant to all of us.’’

Ha­puku School is a bi-lin­gual school, and al­though all the staff speak te reo Ma¯ori to some de­gree, Hu­ata would like to deepen the un­der­stand­ing of te reo.

‘‘It’s our indige­nous lan­guage and one of the of­fi­cial lan­guages of New Zealand.

‘‘More than half of the place names in Aotearoa have Ma¯ori place names, and talk about the his­tory of the area and might be as­so­ci­ated with an an­ces­tor, or tipuna.’’

When trav­el­ling over­seas, Hu­ata said he was al­ways asked if he could speak the lan­guage, be­cause peo­ple knew Ma¯ori were the indige­nous peo­ple and wanted to be taught a few phrases.

The ex­pe­ri­enced ed­u­ca­tor has many tal­ents hav­ing per­formed over­seas as part of Hast­ings-based Kahu­rangi Ma¯ori Dance The­atre, con­tribut­ing to the re­nais­sance of Ma¯ori Per­form­ing Arts and ed­u­ca­tional the­atre in school.

He is pas­sion­ate about the per­form­ing arts of drama, mu­sic and kapa haka, declar­ing it as one of his strengths.

Hu­ata wants his pupils to carry on th­ese tra­di­tions and con­trib­ute as mem­bers of their iwi.

‘‘It’s about the in­ter­gen­er­a­tional trans­mis­sion of knowl­edge, be­ing able to tell the sto­ries and pass­ing on the knowl­edge of the gen­er­a­tions that went be­fore.

‘‘It is our younger gen­er­a­tion that’s go­ing to carry on with what our fore­bears put in place and it’s about en­sur­ing they have the lan­guage and the tikanga, or cul­ture, to make them proud of who they are,’’ Hu­ata said.


Tai Hu­ata is the new prin­ci­pal of Ha­puku Pri­mary School.

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