'Journey just beginning' for Muaūpoko as new Wharekura in Horowhenua gets the green light

By James Perry

Muaūpoko is celebrating a new kura to be established in Taitoko (Levin) that will provide Māori medium education in the Horowhenua town.

Te Pā Wānanga o Tuteremoana will be a designated charter school with students from Years 1-13, fulfilling a long-held dream of Muaūpoko.

Milly Paea, a member of the Muaūpoko Whānau committee – Te Waipupūtanga o Punahau, says the establishment is the result of intergenerational work over many years.

“Our mahi is tīpuna led. We acknowledge our kuia and kaumātua who worked tirelessly on this kaupapa for many many years. Of course, many of them are no longer with us, we feel their presence and their blessings. We embrace the dreams they held for a better future for our tamariki and our people. The journey is just beginning with Te Pā Wānanga o Tuteremoana.”

In announcing the establishment of the new kura, Education Minister Chris Hipkins acknowledged the dedication of Muaūpoko to the education of its rangatahi.

“This is a major step forward in the development of our Māori medium network, given around 40 per cent of ākonga in the Horowhenua identify as Māori.

Taitoko rangatahi and whānau have had to travel to Ōtaki, 20km north, to find Māori medium education. Hipkins says Te Pā Wānanga o Tuteremoana will see up to 250 students locally.

Muaūpoko Tribal Authority chair Tim Tukapua congratulates Te Waipupūtanga o Punahau on the achievement of the new kura. He says the iwi has worked closely with the committee to ensure Muaūpokotanga is preserved and protected.

“This will have an incredible impact on the future of our people - iwi, hapū, whānau and all our tamariki and rangatahi.

“Te Pā Wananga o Tuteremoana recognises our history as well as the many links that bind us to, and with other peoples.

“This is huge for Muaūpoko. To provide the environment for our mokopuna to thrive, to fulfil their unlimited potential is a long-held dream. Being strong, being confident and being steeped in who they are as Muaūpoko, connecting with their Muaūpokotanga. It’s just beautiful.”

Hipkins says the next steps in the process will be finding a suitable location for the new kura, and appointing an establishing board and a tumuaki to oversee the development, with an expected opening date of 2025.

“Our whānau tell us they are “hanging out and cannot wait,” says Milly Paea.