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New site for te reo Māori learning in Christchurch

New Zealand’s largest provider of te reo Māori education is opening a new site in Ōtautahi (Christchurch) to provide improved learning facilities for the 1200 enrolled tauira (students) and 40 staff in the city.

It will enable Te Wānanga o Aotearoa to deliver programmes from a centralised site in the city for the first time.

Previously staff travelled to up to 11 different sites around the city to deliver programmes. The new site, in Manchester St, features five classrooms capable of delivering up to 90 percent of courses offered in Ōtautahi, along with office space for staff.

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa opened its first campus in Ōtautahi in 2003 and currently offers programmes in te reo Māori - from beginners to diploma level - raranga, business, social services, tikanga Māori, money management and art to 2923 tauira.

Chief executive Te Ururoa Flavell says the new site will be welcomed by both staff and students and represents a significant investment in the city.

“With more than 100 delivery sites around the country, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa invests considerable effort and resources into ensuring our learning spaces meet the needs of the communities they serve. This new site in Ōtautahi does that and provides facilities of the standard both our kaimahi and tauira deserve,” he says.

“Our Ōtautahi whānau have waited a long time for this development and I commend them for the work they have done without a purpose-built delivery site over such a long period of time.”

The Ōtautahi site is the latest development for Te Wānanga o Aotearoa after new Lower Hutt and Tauranga sites were opened in 2016. The Tauranga site went on to win architectural and accessibility awards for its design.

The artworks which adorn the site were commissioned by Poutiaki - Toi Aisha Roberts.

The Pare that sits above the front entrance doors has been created by Te Wānanga o Aotearoa Maunga Kura Toi (Whakairo) graduate Rongomai Parata-Taiapa (Ngāi Tahu- Kati Huirapa, Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Porou) and is based on the vision, mission and values of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

The four laser cut acrylic panels that adorn the external posts of the building feature designs by current Maunga Kura Toi (Rauangi/Visual arts) tauira Nichola Te Kiri (Ngāi Tuhoe). They have been drawn from kowhaiwhai and tukutuku patterns to reflect qualities related to Ngā Uara, the values of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

- A dawn blessing will be held at the new Te Wānanga o Aotearoa site - at 348 Manchester St - at 5am Thursday followed by a pōwhiri at 8.30am and a site tour at 9.30am.

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