TKKM o Kaikohe "sick and tired" of waiting for govt funds

updated By Raniera Harrison

The Ministry of Education promised Te Kura Kaupapa Māori (TKKM) o Kaikohe $1.2mil in 2017 to build two new classrooms - they're yet to see a single cent.

Students and staff at the kura have been left to wait for nearly two years

"How well does a school need to be performing for the Ministry of Education to help find solutions for a problem?"  asks the chair of the board of TKKM o Kaikohe, Quinton Hita (Ngāti Ueoneone, Ngāti Tautahi).

The kura's roll currently sits at 270.

"If you were to look, walk around the school, look at the children, you'll see the derelict nature of the buildings because of how many kids are here," says Hita.

The allocation of $5.5mil to three Northland schools was made under former Education Minister, Nikki Kaye in July 2017.

Three Northland schools were granted $5.5mil for a total of 11 new classrooms, catering for roll growth and replacing outdated buildings.

Te Kāea also spoke with the principal of Ngunguru School, north-east of Whangārei, Rick Sayer, who says they still haven't seen funding for the six classes they were promised- to the tune of $4.2mil- and they are feeling the pressure.

Te reo Māori teacher at Te Wharekura o Kaikohe, Moko Tepania says, "We're cramped up, the classes are full.  How much longer do we have to wait?"

"When [The Ministry of Education] came here - everything they were saying was good.  However, in time it has become apparent that it was merely lip service.  What did we do to deserve a wait this long?" asks Hita.

The board of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kaikohe say they are resolute in ensuring the safety of their students at school.

Hita says, "Should we shut the gate on our own children?  That's wrong."

TKKM o Kaikohe students and staff are left wondering when, or if at all, they will receive what they have been promised.

The Ministry of Education provided this response to Te Kāea:

“The project received funding for two roll growth classes as part of Budget 2017 which was announced on 4 July under the previous government, and following the initial planning and design processes conducted with the Kura, construction suppliers were appointed at the end of August 2018.  A pre-start meeting was held with the Kura in early September 2018 to outline plans for the build – at that meeting the Kura expressed concerns in regard to the building location. A revised location plan was presented to the Kura in October, and we received approval for the new plan from the Kura in December 2018. The current planned timeframe is for works to commence in April 2019 to support occupancy in late 2019.”