Innovative new kura aims to teach tamariki on the whenua

By Stefan Dimitrof

A kura kaupapa that wants to use the environment as a framework for teaching has been reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Environment.

Ngāti Toa has long held this dream to provide a strong educational platform grounded in Ngāti Toatanga.

Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira general manager education and employment services Bianca Elkington, who is also  a PhD candidate at Victoria University, said the immediate plan is to encourage more reo-speaking whānau to become teachers, and to increase the teachers' capability and capacity.

Today the iwi launched a teaching scholarship to bring on more Māori-speaking  teachers.

She said longer term the aim was "supporting our iwi experts who hold the knowledge of the taiao, we want to support them as they support our future teachers, people that will facilitate the new learning in this kura.”

Elkington said the non-traditional format of the new kura would provide a strong cultural base for their tamariki.

“It’s important for them to understand where they live; we can teach through the environment. The kids will be the ones that look after that environment for us and for their prosperity in the future.”

Elkington said the kura would have a unique and innovative design and Ngāti Toa looking to open its doors in 2027.

“2027 is what the minister said but we are an impatient whānau so we will work really hard to make that happen then or sooner.”