Community vow to keep school open

By Dean Nathan

It's been three months since the newly elected board of trustees of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Rangiawhia was dissolved by the Ministry of Education and a commissioner appointed. Now a decision on the school's future is pending but the community is vowing that the school will continue.

It’s as though Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Rangiawhia is still open but for some time now under a commissioner students have been sent to other schools in the district.

John McMahon (Chairman) says, “We remain faithful to the kaupapa  that there is no opportunity for this kura to close, and that as a whanau we've stood strong and met here daily for the last two months and regardless of the ministers' decision this kura will be a place of matauranga ongoing.”

Gifted specifically by elders for the purpose of education their descendants maintain the right to continue using the site for this purpose.

Anthony Murphy (Ngati Kahu) says, “Closure is no option. We're not looking at it like that, closure as an option. We're looking at trying to create an inclusive environment transparency and accountability where the focus is always on our tamariki and providing them with good quality education in a supportive nurturing environment.”

Ribena Manuera Roff (Ngati Kahu) says, “To make sure that whoever they bring to manage this school as a tumuaki is tika in whatever they do. Kaua e haere mai ki te mahi ki konei kahore e tika ne. Kaua e mauria mai nga raruraru.”

Back in July a new school board of trustees was democratically elected by the community and subsequently both the principal and the school teacher abandoned their positions, with the newly elected chair still questioning why the Ministry of Education dissolved his board and appointed a commissioner.

McMahon says, “Why was the board not given the opportunity to work even with an LSM to reappoint staff to keep the kura open and to ensure that the things that had been wrong in the past under the old board were given the opportunity to be addressed.”

Of utmost priority here is the provision of education for these children in their home community.