A bilateral agreement with the Ministry of Education is described by Te Mana Trustee Cathy Dewes as a project which augurs well for some Ngāti Rangitihi students. The aim is to support Rangitihi kids along their learning pathways towards achieving success within the education system. “By the end of the year we will have achieved this goal for up to eighty of our children ranging from five to eighteen years of age,” said co-ordinator Kura Raureti.

By far the most significant part of the contract is the after-school programmes running in both Rotorua and Matatā. One day a week, for two and a half hours, in a Maori total immersion context, the primary school-age children have fun while learning about their Te Arawa and Ngāti Rangitihi traditions.

The Matatā “Muri Kura” (after-school programme) involves twenty kids while the Rotorua programme has registered thirty-five. “Obviously the Matatā programme caters for the local kids however the Rotorua group derives from twelve primary and intermediate schools in the Rotorua catchment,” said Kura Raureti. “It’s great to see them enjoying themselves, meeting cousins they never knew before, and learning about their Rangitihi identity,” she said. “That same kind of interaction is happening with the secondary school-age students. I expect that most of that cohort will have achieved several NCEA Level 2 credits by the end of the year, and per medium of te Reo Maori, that’s a major achievement!”, said Kura Raureti.

Cathy reports that all tutors involved with the children bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise. The Ngāti Rangitihi curriculum will evolve over a forty week period and many language resources will be produced for wider distribution to homes, schools and families.

We look forward to very favourable outcomes from Kura and her team. We’ll keep you all posted with regular updates.