Northland Primary to flee mainstream tyranny for Kura ā Iwi comfort

By Tumamao Harawira

Eighty leaders of Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa met in Rotorua for their annual general meeting today and to also welcome Te Kura o Whangaruru to the Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa family.

Te Kura o Whangaruru is a mainstream primary school located on the eastern side of the Northland region and, according to Ropata Diamond of Ngāti Wai, this is a unique opportunity for the school.

"Our children are leaving the mainstream, mainstream education," he said. "They will grow in the spring of their own knowledge."

Three schools within the boundaries of the Ngāti Wai iwi were forcibly closed by the Ministry of Education in recent times when they were merged to create Whangaruru School.

Last year the school decided to become a Kura ā Iwi.

Also on the agenda for Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa was the signing of an agreement, Kua Ea between the Ministry of Education and Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa.

The relationship between the Ministry of Education and Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa is based on ‘Mana Ōrite’ whereby the two organisations work in partnership to achieve outcomes that are determined by Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa. Established five years ago with the then education minister Hēkia Parata and Ngā Kura ā Iwi leaders Pem Bird, Arihia Stirling and Waimatao Murphy, Te Kawa Whakapūmau’outlines the commitment to ‘Mana Ōrite’.

According to Watson Ōhia Pou Kōkiri of Ngā Kura ā Iwi "Ngā Kura ā Iwi o Aotearoa has developed a strategy to help to address the many barriers to success for our uri and our communities. We need the support of the government to achieve it. Kua Ea is an opportunity for the Ministry of Education to continue to partner with Ngā Kura ā Iwi to progress toward equity with the wellbeing of uri, whānau and Māori communities at the centre."