View from Whitireia maunga, overlooking Porirua Harbour. Ngāti Toa hopes to establish a kura for its mokopuna on the site. Photo/supplied
Ngāti Toa is another step closer to realising long-held moemoeā (dreams) to provide a strong educational platform grounded in Ngāti Toatanga for its uri.
Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira education and employment services general manager Bianca Elkington said the Ministry of Education recently confirmed approval to establish Te Kura Taiao o Ngāti Toa, which will allow the tribe to use the natural and historic environment of its whenua to educate mokopuna in Ngāti Toa reo.
“We have long-held aspirations to establish a kura taiao for our mokopuna and tamariki that not only teaches Ngāti Toa reo, whakapapa, tikanga and kawa but also provides ākonga with a solid grounding of education that takes them out of traditional classroom learning, into the environment,” Elkington said.
“We know that for many ākonga, a focus on classroom learning is outdated and does not give them the practical and hands-on learning and experiences that they need to keep them engaged.”
“Te Kura Taiao o Ngāti Toa will ensure that ākonga will be much more grounded in their language, who they are, where they are from and prepare them to contribute confidently to the future of Ngāti Toa and te ao hurihuri.”
Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira began the process to establish Te Kura Taiao o Ngāti Toa in 2020 by carrying out extensive consultation with whānau, hapū and iwi. Due to an extensive submission, the application progressed through the Ministry of Education processes much faster than initially anticipated.
“We have not yet worked out the next steps with the Ministry of Education, including the likely date for when we open our doors but we are working on confirming potential sites for Te Kura Taiao o Ngāti Toa,” Elkington said.
“We see this kura based at Whitireia in Titahi Bay or at another site of historical significance to our people. What better place to house our mātauranga where our ākonga can learn our reo and about our tūpuna than at a location that carries so much inspiration and meaning for our iwi.”
“This has been an aspiration of our people for generations, and we have many who have never let go of the dream. This announcement is for those who believed that one day we would lead our tamariki mokopuna in the ways of our tupuna. We have an exciting future ahead.”