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Education and Whanau Development

Education and Whanau Development

Tariana Turia Speech to launch Opunake Schools Education Initiative

E nga mana o tenei kainga, tena koutou. E nga reo, e nga iwi, tena koutou katoa.

E te whanau, karanga mai, karanga mai.

The launch of your education initiative is a very important occasion, and it is an honour and a pleasure to be invited here today to support you.

Many famous leaders have said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.

Today we are taking step three or four. Your journey is already under way, your people are now on the move.

This is perhaps a journey into unknown territory, for both tangata whenua and the school community within and across Opunake.

This initiative marks a change of direction from the past. Our whanau are going back to school, for the sake of our tamariki. And the schools are going back to the communities where you belong, to seek direction and guidance on how to educate our people.

This takes courage, and I congratulate you. It will not be easy, and I am proud of your commitment to each other.

The success of your journey will not be measured by how far you go, or how long it takes, but on how well you look after each other along the way, and how united and strong you become.

Children who have strong whanau support can overcome obstacles and reach out for opportunities. Children with a good education bring strength to the whanau – knowledge and skills the whanau need to look after each other.

This initiative aims to help the schools understand and embrace the needs of whanau, so the resources of the schools serve the needs of the community, and the community can support the school in educating the next generation of leaders.

If we don’t want history to repeat itself, and if this initiative is to succeed, then old attitudes will have to change.

I congratulate the Principals, Mark Bowden (High School) and Lorraine Williamson (Primary School), and their staff, who have shown their willingness to work with tangata whenua.

Actually, it’s all about learning to recognise each other for who we are, respecting differences, and learning to value diversity. Our people have much to offer this community, and this country.

And yet, if relationships don’t work on the ground, in communities like Opunake, then they won’t work for the nation. If we can’t educate our children properly, we will not be able to develop as peoples. Our iwi authorities need to be reminded of this, and they need to support grass-roots initiatives as best they can.

That’s why this initiative is so important. And that’s why I’m so proud to have been invited to your launch.

Kia ora tatou katoa.

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