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Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Hoani Waititi Marae Stands Strong

PRESS RELEASE Tuesday 9TH December 2017


Te kura kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi marae is outraged at having been included in news reports this week highlighting cases of fraudulent activity uncovered by the auditor-general  in some schools in New Zealand. Board member, Dr Mera Lee-Penehira, is keen to reassure the whānau of Hoani Waititi and the wider West Auckland community that no fraudulent activities have taken place at the school.

“Our kura is in a very strong position as 2017 comes to a close. We are financially stable and  maintaining record academic achievement levels, being in the top 5% of all schools for the last 5 years in NCEA levels, and our latest ERO report is further evidence of our success” said Dr Lee-Penehira.

The auditor-general reported a number of schools who had been involved in fraudulent and questionable financial activity. However, as Board chair Mr Mahanga Pihama states, “Our kura accounts have been fully audited as they are each year and there was no question of fraud or suspect expenditure. We are clear that our financial management is sound. We directed less than 50% of our accumulated surplus funds last year towards a valid part of our curriculum. We are not in deficit as a result and we remain in a strong financial position”.

In 2016 the kura whānau embarked on a major international curriculum project that involved the entire kura travelling to Rarotonga to engage in an Indigenous foreign cultural exchange.
“This trip was about re-tracing our history and whakapapa (geneology) to Rarotonga. It had immense cultural and educational benefits and was well worth the mammoth effort whānau made in terms of fundraising and preparing the children”, said Mr Pihama.

School principal Mr Rawiri Wright, says that such exchanges are common amongst Indigenous learning institutions, “Cultural exchanges are extremely beneficial in Indigenous educational contexts. The financial, cultural and educational investments are well worth the rewards. But this is just one part of our curriculum”.

Te kura kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi marae is at the forefront of visionary education, having designed a number of innovative programmes to be implemented in the new year, including Māori media studies, Marae development and entrepreneurship, and Māori and Indigenous theatre. As Mr Wright explains, “Ultimately our kura is interested in meaningful success for students and their whānau. Success that brings about real transformation in our communities.”

In response to the news stories this week Dr Lee-Penehira states: “This kura is not about maintaining the same educational practices that have failed Māori students for generations. We reject euro-centric notions of education that tell us that investing in valid cultural and educational exchanges is questionable! We are about making a positive difference together, and sharing that with other Indigenous communities is powerful for all”.


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