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Turia Speech: Te Kura Kaupapa Mäori, Taumarunui

Tariana Turia Speech at Opening Of Te Kura Kaupapa Mäori, Taumarunui

E nga mana, e nga reo, tena koutou katoa. E nga whanau o tenei kura, ka nui te mihi ki a koutou.

I am delighted to help to open your kura. I call it yours because I know full well the long hours, determined effort, and effective lobbying and consultation that are required to progress a kura from conception to birth.

You have moved beyond the planning stage to reach kura teina status. In the not too distant future should be a fully fledged kura – and that is a remarkable achievement.

This kura is a first for Taumarunui. The graduates of the kohanga reo all around Taumarunui can now continue their primary education in te reo Maori. A great journey has begun; a pathway is open before you, with lifelong learning and development as the ultimate goal.

I count it a privilege to be part of this occasion today because of my links with you all through the river. Te Taura Whiri o Hinengakau links us and binds us together. Woven together we are stronger and more unified than if we each stood alone. The evolution and establishment of this kura is an example.

The kaupapa of this kura is our reo. It contains and transmits our cultural heritage. The mita of our reo identifies who we are, as soon as we begin to speak. It links us to our past, our present and our future, and gives us continuity and perpetuity.

It allows us to communicate, to express ourselves, to convey meaning and to learn; and it aids us in our search for spiritual realities – the wairua dimension of our being.

The opening of this, the 63rd kura kaupapa Maori, offers the promise that our mokopuna can become fluent in our reo and maintain it and pass it on to future generations.

Our tamariki and mokopuna are the main point of us being here today. They deserve the best - better than we experienced at their age! They deserve a top quality education, in their own language, in an environment that nurtures them.

Every one of our children has enormous potential. The richer, more stimulating and nurturing their early environment, the more likely it is that our children will grow to realise that potential.

To the tamariki present today, I want to say that this kura will give you opportunities that your parents and elders never had.

We all want you to be well-educated, to be proud of your heritage as tangata whenua, to be able to walk comfortably in the Maori and Pakeha worlds, to be international citizens, to be fulfilled personalities, to be economically independent, to be leaders in every aspect of society – just like your ancestors were.

In fact, we expect nothing less.

This kura is for you. It is yours. Your whanau has worked hard to set it up, and you owe it to them, and to yourselves, to seize the education offered here, work hard, and be the absolute best you can.

The kura also needs a supportive and committed whanau. Parents lay the foundations, and give direction to all subsequent learning. They are a child’s first and most important teachers.

Through the whanau concept in action, the kohanga reo that contribute to this kura operate as parent cooperatives. Parents manage, operate and staff the kohanga. The gathering of parents and whanau together is good for the adults, in terms of gaining skills and knowledge, networking and sharing information.

I hope the kura can operate in the same way. The kura belongs to the community and the community and whanau use it and benefit from it. It can be an ideal vehicle for parents to continue their education and to grow in the use of te reo.

I want to encourage the whanau to set high standards for our tamariki and mokopuna. We have to believe absolutely that our kids can do anything, given the chance. We must demand excellence – of them, of their teachers, and of ourselves.

Sending children to a kura kaupapa Maori is not an easy option – especially if you’ve had to set it up yourself! Our parents do it because they love their children and want nothing less than the best for them.

The community, also, must have complete confidence in kaupapa Maori education. To the Hinengakau Development Trust, your contribution to this kura is the essence of whanau development and I commend your foresight.

To you, Te Arikinui o Ngati Tuwharetoa, e Tumu, thank you for your leadership of matauranga Maori, throughout Aotearoa.

To the Ministry of Education, schools such as this need all the support they can get.

Te Kura o Te Ati Haunui a Paparangi, te kura tuakana, your investment in the tamariki of this kura will reap rewards for all whanau. You know the struggle to establish a kura, and we know your history and your success. Ka nui te mihi aroha mo o koutou whakaaro rangatira.

No reira kia kaha, kia ora koutou katoa.

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