School celebrates 125 years
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.