Consultation process begins between Turakina and MoE

By Heta Gardiner

The fate of Turakina Māori Girls College is uncertain, Education Minister Hekia Parata says that the consultation process has just begun between the Ministry of Education, the school and the (Presbyterian) church.

Turakina is a state-integrated Presbyterian Māori girls’ boarding school in Marton with a roll that has fallen from 152 in 2003 to about 54 this year. 

The proprietor, the Turakina Māori Girls’ College Trust Board, is in significant financial difficulty, despite efforts to grow the roll over the past few years.  The school has also experienced challenges in recent years with a Ministry-appointed Limited Statutory Manager (LSM) in place since late 2012.

If the school does shut down, only five Māori boarding schools will remain open across Aotearoa.

“The Ministry has supported the proprietor’s efforts to improve its financial situation. However, I’m mindful the ongoing uncertainty about the school’s future may be negatively affecting its performance,” Ms Parata said.

“It’s with a heavy heart that I’m initiating this consultation. Turakina has more than 110 years of educating young Māori women and has produced some fine students. However, ongoing financial and governance issues, as well as the declining roll, have created a situation that is potentially detrimental to the education of Turakina’s current students.”

Parata says that while Turakina and other schools of similar nature are facing a number of challenges, her main focus is on Māori student achievement.

The consultation will run until 11 September 2015. Following this, the Ministry will develop a report summarising feedback.  An interim decision will be made after this process has been undertaken.