Puna Reo to focus on Kiingitanga teachings

By Mānia Clarke-Mamanu

The first puna reo based on Kiingitanga teachings is being built at Manurewa Marae in South Auckland. Construction of the $1.85 million Māori Medium early childhood centre (ECE) began two months ago.  Marae spokesperson Tunuiarangi Mclean says its doors will be open to anyone.

Growth, sustenance and development of the treasure that stems from Hawaiki, a teaching of King Tawhiao, is the motto of the new puna reo.

Mclean says, “Those who come do so under the teachings of the Kiingitanga.  That is very important, no matter what ethnicity they are.”

The Puna Reo initiative is a partnership between the Ministry of Education, Waikato-Tainui and the marae.

“We really deliberated about establishing the puna reo on the marae, and the King agreed.”

The concept was discussed five years ago by the late Kingitanga Stalwart Eru Thompson and the marae.  Last year the Māori King was present to turn the first sod of the site.

“The Māori King brought his flag to the marae, as part of us our covenant with the Kiingitanga. While we were sitting he asked where the puna reo site will be, then he said "We should go there."

It will be licensed for 65 tamariki.  15 new staff members will be employed including teachers.

“We want to instil the history of the Kiingitanga and have the spirit of this nationwide treasure taught within this learning centre.”

The puna reo is expected to be opened mid next year.