Te Wānanga o Raukawa celebrated their thirty year-long project yesterday with the opening of their new whare, Te Ara Tawhaki.
Over 500 people attended the opening of Te Ara Tawhaki as it stands to represent the three dominant iwi in the region, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Toarangatira, and Te Atiawa, Te Wānanga o Raukawa and key people who have made large contributions to the iwi and the wānanga.
Rochelle Paranihi, Kaiako of Iwi and Hapū studies says Te Ara Tawhaki began as a small idea. However, due to a fire in 2016 which caused the building to burn down, the project turned into something much bigger.
“The original build was a renovation on an already existing building that had been housing the wānanga library and I.T&T Department. Sadly in 2016, disaster struck and a fire destroyed what was beginning to look like a pretty good renovation. But, much like a phoenix rising from the ashes opportunities and bigger ideas for a new build became not only a possibility but a reality.”
Project manager, Rawiri Richmond says, “It was lovely to see it come to fruition as a joint project with our three iwi.”
The building is a multi-purpose structure which houses office spaces, a library, classrooms and an auditorium for all staff and students to enjoy.
Paranihi says “The complex is an added asset for the wānanga and the staff and students look forward to using it to its full potential.”
She says although it’s been a tough journey, it is what comes of it is what matters most.
“The road has been long and winding, and fraught with challenges at every turn, He Ara Tapokopoko! The giants of our histories and our people have given us the cornerstone for our future: Te Ara Tawhaki. Te Ara Tawhaki gives us the promise of the giants to come as tauira come through its doors.”