School site blessed
A site blessing was the latest milestone in the journey to build a new $10 million wharekura (school) for Waipa¯ tamariki in Years 1-13.
Te Wharekura o Nga Purapura o Te Aroha on Factory Rd in Te Awamutu is a Ma¯ ori medium school.
It is also the only fullimmersion school in the Waipa¯ district.
Students at the school are taught curriculum subjects in the Ma¯ori language for at least 80 per cent of the time.
They are immersed in te reo Ma¯ori with an emphasis on teaching and revitalising Nga¯ti Raukawa, Maniapoto and Apakura identity, tikanga (customs), kawa (protocol) and waiata (songs).
The school has been housed in the Apakura campus at Te Wa¯ nanga o Aotearoa for the last 10 years. Its new site is on a vacant 1ha field on Factory Rd. The field, owned by the Ministry of Education, has previously been used as a sports field, but is designated for educational purposes.
The new build is funded by the Ministry of Education as part of the Government’s 2018 budget investment to support schools experiencing roll growth pressures. The design for the school has been finalised, based on a roll of up to 120 students, with room to expand.
It is estimated the build will take 12 months, starting in January 2019.
It will have 10 general and specialist teaching spaces, a multi-use hall/ gym area, an administration area, a library and resource space.
Jade Tapine, tumuaki (principal) of Te Wharekura o Nga Purapura o Te Aroha, says the new build is significant for the tamariki and the wider kura wha¯nau community.
“This has been many years in the making and we are ecstatic that we are so close to fulfilling our dreams,” he says.
“We have been very fortunate and blessed to be housed by Te Wananga o Aotearoa over the last 10 years, but it has always been an aspiration to have our own whare.
“While at times it has been very frustrating to see our tamariki go without such things as a playground and specialist teaching spaces, we have done very well academically and spiritually.
“If we can achieve great things within the restrictions of our current space, just imagine what we can achieve within our new kura.”
Jade says the Maori medium pathway is reflected in the school’s vision statement. “‘He Taonga te Tamaiti’ — through te reo Ma¯ ori and tikanga Maori we build character, embed strong core values and principles that enable our tamariki to realise and unleash their potential. Children first always.
“We look forward to our future and ensuring we can cater to the needs of our community as we are currently at maximum capacity. It saddens us to inform new wha¯ nau that we have no space but on a positive note it is a sign of ora (life) within our kaupapa. By welcoming the build we can open the doors to more whanau who chose the Maori medium pathway for their tamariki.”
Board of Trustees chairman Paul Martens says the new wharekura creates a seamless pathway of educational delivery.
“Through full immersion Ma ori medium, this will greatly contribute to and enhance the existing educational centres that are in close proximity.
“At Te Wharekura o Nga Purapura o Te Aroha, our students are equipped with the values, knowledge, culture and skills that enables them to become successful leaders in this ever-changing world as Ma ori.”
A site blessing, led by Paraone Gloyne, was the latest milestone in the journey to fulfil the kura aspirations of a new $10 million build on Factory Rd in Te Awamutu.
Te Wharekura o Nga Purapura o Te Aroha BOT chairman Paul Martens (left) and principal Jade Tapine.