New $20m fund to support Māori boarding schools, Labour election promise

By Te Ao - Māori News
Hukarere Girls College in Hawke’s Bay.  Photo / File

Labour's Māori Caucus co-chair and Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri has issued a new campaign promise - a$20 million fund to support Māori boarding schools.

The fund is designed to provide the only four remaining Māori boarding schools in Aotearoa - Hukarere College, St Joseph’s Maori Girls’ College and Te Aute College in Hawke’s Bay (Ikaroa-Rāwhiti) and Hato Pāora College in Feilding (Te Tai Hauāuru) - with financial support to continue to house, educate and manaaki rangatahi in their care, Whaitiri said in a statement.

“This is a significant commitment acknowledging the history and legacy of these iconic Māori boarding schools and how they continue to contribute to Māoridom and the nation today.

“The rangatahi who attend these schools live and breathe tikanga, reo and develop a sense of whanaungatanga that can only be achieved inside these unique institutions," Whaitiri said.

“Successive governments have given up on Māori boarding schools but Labour believes in the unique role they play, not just in educating rangatahi but in instilling Māori values in the next generation of leaders."

Whaitiri said the fund would assist the schools preserve their unique characteristics.

“This fund will allow schools like Hukarere in my electorate to preserve their special character through investment in much-needed building upgrades and will directly benefit the rangatahi learning and boarding at these schools.

“As someone whose parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, sister, brothers and nieces have attended these schools, I know how important this commitment will be to many whānau."