Horowhenua College recognised in PM's Academic Excellence Awards

By Ani-Oriwia Adds

Māori students at Horowhenua College are exceeding national trends, achieving some of the highest academic results in the college through its Rangatahi Ora programme. Now the programme is up for a top award as a finalist for the Prime Minister's Education Excellence Awards.

Māori students achieving academic success as Māori, a phrase that is ingrained in Rangatahi Ora students.

Principal Grant Congdon says, “We’re seeing that our students who get an understanding of who they are and where they come from and where they’re going. Their academic results have risen spectacularly.”

Horowhenua College is seeing Māori students excelling in their academic results across the board and receiving some of the highest academic results nationally due to their Rangatahi Ora programme. Principal Grant Congdon says the programme's impact has also resulted in a rise of academic success across all students.

Rangatahi Ora, and Horowhenua College student Raiha Kiriona says, “For me, it’s just a whānau inside of college. When I came in at year 9 I was one of the shyest kids at school and Rangatahi Ora has helped me to become who I am today.”

The college is one of 14 successful applicants out of 140 nationwide and is one of four finalists in the Excellence in Engaging category. It is also the only Wellington regional educational facility to make it into this year's finals.

Head of Rangatahi Ora Chris Wilton says, “Eight years ago, we started as a small unit. Every year, the numbers have increased and now we are doing very well.”

Congdon says, “It’s a sense of not feeling like someone in a foreign environment. Its feeling like they can be who they are naturally who they are in an environment where it’s valued and supported.”

Three judges and doctoral experts in education will spend a day at Horowhenua College next month followed by the results, which will be announced at the end of June.