Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hokianga - "It's inclusive of everyone"

By Mare Haimona-Riki
Board of Trustee member, Shane Wikaira and whānau. Source / File

"Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hokianga" has recently opened in Koutu, Northland. Previously located in Whirinaki under "cramped" conditions, the re-naming and relocation of the school was a decision motivated by the needs of the students.

Prior to the opening, the school was in Whirinaki, under the name "Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Tonga o Hokianga."

Shane Wikaira (Ngāpuhi) from the board of trustees for the school says that the needs of their students were the main reason for relocating to a larger area. 

"We were actually using part of the Whirinaki sports complex for our seniors, it was quite cramped and the conditions weren't the best.

"We were more than grateful to have the facilities offered to us but in terms of our tamariki having the best environment, like a computer suite, we were strapped so we searched for a space, and Koutu came up a few years back."

The name change was directed under the direction of their kaumātua from the region, a resource that the community has always looked to says Wikaira. 

"Thinking broader than just "Hokianga ki Te Tonga" - that people realise that if they're on the Southside, that they can feel part of the Kura - that it's inclusive of everyone."

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hokianga - Source / Supplied

The opening of the school took place in the early hours of the morning on November 8, and since that time, there have been interests from parents for enrolment. 

"We've had quite a few and interviews with prospective students for next year already, since the opening so our teachers have been quite busy."

With the excess space at the new location, the max capacity of the school is 200 students with luxury to add extra classes to the existing plan. 

Te Tūwheratanga o Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hokianga - Source / Tautoko FM

For Wikaira and other board members, their desire to have the students learning content to come from a homegrown source will now be more of a reality. 

"The literature and the resources that were being used by the children at the schools here were from other places, but want we really wanted was to perpetuate the tikanga from our homeland.

"That's the reason we are feeling very settled now, We are very satisfied now and pleased with this outcome."