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Maori Party Seeks Answers in Masterton

Maori Party Seeks Answers in Masterton –What does East vs West mean?

Derek Fox, Maori Party Candidate for Ikaroa Rawhiti

Tuesday 15 July 2008

Maori Party Candidate for Ikaroa Rawhiti, Derek Fox, has asked Maori Party members in the Wairarapa to attend a public hui being held at Makoura College, Masterton on Wednesday 16 July at 7pm; and to report back on the community response to the proposed closure.

“I'm urging the community to attend the hui with open hearts and minds and with a will to find ways to help the school to keep doing its good work” said Mr Fox.

“Makoura College has a population that has always been distinguished by its cultural diversity” said Mr Fox. 37% of the school are Maori, 4% Pasifika, 3% Japanese, 2% Chinese and 4% other ethnic groups. “It’s a pretty big contrast to the other large state sector co-educational college, Wairarapa College, where 76% of that school are European”.

“So when Makoura Principal Chris Scott says that Makoura has suffered from a perception of ‘east’ versus ‘desirable west’ we can’t help but wonder is there an element of racism fuelling public perceptions?”

“Makoura is a college which all things being equal, should be celebrating forty years, this year, of promoting the Makoura Way”.

“They have actively worked with their community to meet their unique needs” said Mr Fox. “They have pioneered initiatives such as the Makoura Stream restoration project (planting 500 trees in a riparian zone adjacent to the Makakaweka Stream) or establishing Wairarapa’s only Teen Parent Unit”.

“This unique community deserves to continue to have their needs met” said Mr Fox.

“The staggering thing about this school is that the NCEA data over recent years has shown remarkable improvements with results that are above the figures for the same group of students nationally and in schools of the same decile” (see table) said Mr Fox. “Closure just doesn’t make sense”.

“I understand that the student body has established a petition to keep Makoura College open” said Mr Fox. “We must listen to their concerns”.

“I am calling on the Minister of Education to front up with some support to ensure that the school can stay open at least until the end of 2009 to allow a fresh look at what might be done to continue to provide the special education that Makoura provides”.

“The students and whanau of Makoura deserve a comprehensive consultation process, the opportunity for all voices to be heard, and the Maori Party will be demanding that the people on the East Side of town, are entitled to be considered as desirable as their counterparts on the West.”

NCEA Grade 2003 2004 2005
Level 1 certificate Year 11 students 22.1% 30.6% 34.2%
Level 2 certificate Year 12 students 39.7% 32.1% 47.7%
Level 1 literacy: Year 11 students 29.1% 50.0% 67.1%
Level 1 numeracy: Year 11 students 48.8% 59.7% 59.2%
Year 13 University entrance 19% 22% 40%


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