Despite its closure almost twenty years ago, the desire to reopen St Stephen's School could become a reality.
The St Stephen's Old Boys Association will be making a "major" announcement at the biennial reunion event at Kokohinau Marae, Te Teko on Monday.
Chair of the Old Boys Association, Joe Harawira says considerable work has been undertaken to explore the logistics of reopening and what the overall focus of the school should be.
“We have conducted an incredible amount of research and are at the point where we can now actively explore options for reopening the school.
We are aware too, that there is little enthusiasm for a school which is rooted in the past. In this regard, our desire is to create a new school, based on contemporary needs which is also able to drive successful educational outcomes for Māori boys”
Nathan Durie, a member of the reopening committee adds that young Māori males have been at the core of their discussions.
“We have decided to focus our efforts on Māori boys not simply because of Tipene’s history as a Māori boys school but because this is an area of education which is in the greatest need of development.
To say that Māori boys are failing in education is an understatement. We must invest, innovate, and ensure that the current trends of underachievement are not allowed to continue – a new Tipene will be a major step forward and a potential game changer”
A significant number of well-known Māori attended the school in its prime, including Te Ururoa Flavell, Dr Pita Sharples, and former All Black Dallas Seymour.
“When I attended Tipene, there was a constant buzz around the school. It was an environment where success and achievement was normalized, where you aspired to be the best you could, and where you were supported to realise your dreams. A new Tipene wont dwell on the past, but will certainly maintain these tenants of excellence and success”
“As the saying goes – the proof is in the pudding. You just need to look at the number of OldBoys who are leaders of industry and education, law and justice, health, and politics. That is, the cultural, religious, social, and economic fabric of New Zealand and abroad," Seymour says.
Other ex pupils include Hone Harawira, Shane Jones, Sir Hirini Moko Mead, Professor Graham Smith and Judge Craig Coxhead.