Te Whetu Kahurangi Ten Year Celebration
Marton Junction School
Tariana Turia, Member of Parliament for Te Tai Hauauru
Friday 7 December 2007; 10am
Some of you may know – well perhaps your nannies and koros may know- of a funky soul group from the seventies, called Earth, Wind and Fire. They were an African-American group who sang for the body, mind and soul.
And it was their lyrics I was thinking of as I travelled out here this morning.
Shining bright to see what you can truly be
Shining star for you to see, what your life can truly be
What better way to celebrate ten years of Te Whetu Kahurangi than to remind us all of the amazing potential that every one of us has to be a shining, bright star.
It was with great pleasure that I responded to Raewyn’s tono to me, to be here today to celebrate a wonderful decade of this immersion class.
I was here ten years ago – when the idea of a separate immersion unit was just a twinkle in the whanau’s eyes.
We started off in the Friendship Hall in Marton and now look how far we’ve come!
I want to really mihi to all the galaxy of stars that our whanau here represents.
You have believed in Te Whetu Kahurangi.
You knew that with the te reo me ona tikanga as your base, you could indeed rest assured that all of our tamariki and our mokopuna would be on the pathway to success.
I give all credit to the whanau here today, for surviving the inevitable struggles that came with the journey, and for having the strength to endure the challenges along the way.
You have been truly committed to a vision for the future of your whanau, hapu and iwi.
You have had faith that it is through their whakapapa, the experiences available to them from their ancestors, that your children will have the knowledge and wisdom to achieve all that they can be.
You have had the courage to stand strong for the songs, the arts and crafts, the traditions of your tupuna.
And we know the benefits that these children have acquired from the kaupapa, the tikanga, the kawa, the values, the customs associated with their histories, their people.
I want too, to mihi to Marton Junction School for the tautoko you have demonstrated in supporting a total immersion Maori option for students.
You have also believed in the revitalisation of te reo Mäori as the first and official language of the country.
You have supported the development and growth of te reo rangatira both as the indigenous language of this country, but also as the appropriate language to carry Maori knowledge and contemporary Maori customs.
And I congratulate this school, too, in that your progress has been on many fronts.
You celebrate success; you promote the safety and the well-being of all of your tamariki – and you say no to bullying and anything which will diminish the mana of the students and staff in this school.
You have taken on the‘Kiwi Can’ programme; and you are committed to developing a culture where students are supported and valued.
And this, is what we want and indeed demand for all our shining stars of the future.
We want our whetu kahurangi to dazzle us with their belief in knowing who they are.
We want them to sparkle with that sense of self confidence that comes from knowing their history, their whakapapa, their whanau, hapu and iwi.
We want them to be absolutely radiant in maintaining their connectedness to the essence of who they are.
And we can do best, by ensuring that every person here feels warm in the sense of being valued and loved and respected.
Te Whetu Kahurangi – I congratulate you, I celebrate you, and I thank you for reminding us of all that we can all beShining stars for you to see, what our life can truly be.