Many supporters gathered for the dawn service today at a new Te Aho Matua school in Papakura named Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngā Papaonekura.
The kura kaupapa is the first to be opened in Tāmaki Makaurau in 20 years.
School principal Ian Marino-Tauhinu (Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa) says today’s establishment has been a succession plan in the making.
“We have 40 students thus far, from year 0-13., many that have come from kōhanga reo.
“The vast majority who have been in kōhanga in the past have had to go to mainstream schools because there were no options like this.
Four attempts before success
“But now that the kura is here we can continue the mahi of kōhanga.”
Marino-Tauhinu says this is not the first time the local community has attempted to establish a kura Māori.
“There have been three attempts before from three separate whānau to establish a kura kaupapa in Papakura.
“I acknowledge those whānau and their efforts.
“So today’s opening is just as much their achievement as it is ours.”
Marino-Haunu says the inspiration to establish the school came as a way for their children to stay in the Papakura area.
Whāia ko tō mana motuhake
“If we talk about mana motuhake, this is the whānau’s response rather than looking out for solutions coming up with their own, and they’ve done that today.”
Marino-Tauhinu has taught in Papakura since he began teaching 10 years ago.
He’s excited that the majority of the students enrolled are younger siblings of previous students he’s taught. When asked what his dreams and goals are for the prosperity of the school he says, “Whāia ko tō mana motuhake, That our kids stand strong, proud and confident to stand in both worlds.’”