School cel­e­brates 125 years

Matamata Chronicle - - News -

Te Kura o Wa­haroa will mark its 125th year with a spe­cial cel­e­bra­tion on Fri­day, De­cem­ber 7.

Students, whanau, staff, the board of trus­tees and the Wa­haroa community are look­ing for­ward to a day of en­ter­tain­ment, kapa haka, a kau­matua lunch and games.

All past students, past staff and mem­bers of the pub­lic are wel­come to at­tend to help cel­e­brate the mile­stone from 10am.

Wa­haroa School was es­tab­lished in Oc­to­ber 1887 and was the first school in the Mata­mata dis­trict.

Fam­i­lies from the lo­cal and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties in­clud­ing Mata­mata, Ngarua, Wal­ton and Wairere at­tended the school.

In 1987, prin­ci­pal Sam Stop­ford and chair­man Henry Howard helped the school to cel­e­brate 100 years.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports at the time, it was a cel­e­bra­tion well at­tended, rel­ished and ap­pre­ci­ated by all.

New Zealand has seen ma­jor changes to the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem over the years and Wa­haroa School has con­tin­ued to move for­ward.

In the late 1970s, many prom­i­nent Maori lead­ers drove a com­mon am­bi­tion among Maori to re­vi­talise Maori taonga and te reo Maori.

As a re­sult, the ko­hanga reo move­ment was born and many es­tab­lished schools throughout New Zealand be­gan chang­ing their sta­tus to cater for Maori ed­u­ca­tion.

In the early 1990s, with the sup­port of Wa­haroa School fam­i­lies, a bilin­gual class­room was opened at the school.

Within ten years, a to­tal im­mer­sion Maori class­room was oper­at­ing at Wa­haroa School and even­tu­ally the school de­vel­oped into a to­tal im­mer­sion Maori kura.

The name of the school was changed to Te Kura o Wa­haroa.

Te Kura o Wa­haroa is a school that op­er­ates through the medium of te reo Maori me ngoona tikanga.

The kura is a level-one im­mer­sion Maori school, how­ever the im­ple­men­ta­tion of main­stream pro­grammes is en­cour­aged to en­sure a well-rounded ed­u­ca­tion for ta­mariki.

The school up­holds the princi- ples of the King move­ment, Ngati Haua and Ngati te Oro and ac­knowl­edges Raun­gaiti Marae as its foot­stool.

Te Kura o Wa­haroa has been a mem­ber of Nga ringa raupa o nga Kura a Iwi for the last five years un­der the guid­ance of prom­i­nent Maori lead­ers within Maori ed­u­ca­tion.

With an av­er­age of 25 to 35 students at­tend­ing the kura at a time, the school hopes to pro­mote and pro­vide qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion to en­cour­age whanau and the wider community to re­turn to the kura and help the school to grow over the next 25 years.

Prin­ci­pal Ja­son Kere­opa said: ‘‘Our ta­mariki/mokop­una are our lead­ers of to­mor­row and we are ob­li­gated to pro­vide the means to en­sure a fruit­ful, flour­ish­ing pass- age to­wards their dreams and as­pi­ra­tions as they jour­ney the path­ways of ed­u­ca­tion.

‘‘We need to work to­gether as one to give us the best chance of ac­com­plish­ing our goals.’’

Matariki: A Te Kura o Wa­haroa stu­dent helps to mark the Maori New Year.

Wa­haroa School: A paint­ing of the orig­i­nal school that opened 125 years ago.

School life: Ju­nior students at Te Kura o Wa­haroa in 2010.

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