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Iwi leaders make education a priority

Iwi Chairs Forum – Gisborne

29 November 2013

Iwi leaders make education a priority

The Iwi Chairs Forum has resoundingly supported the call to rally to raise the learning achievement of Maori students throughout the country.

About 36 iwi leaders including the chairs of the four largest iwi – Nga Puhi, Ngati Porou, Ngati Kahungunu and Ngai Tahu – were among the 120-strong iwi representatives who attended the two-day forum hosted by Tairawhiti iwi in Gisborne.

“The call to raise Maori student achievement was unequivocally supported by the hui in response to the Hon Hekia Parata's keynote address to the forum,” said forum coordinator Willie Te Aho.

The Minister announced new funding of $31 million for secondary schools to lift student achievement through the Building on Success intiative, which is an extension on existing Maori achievement programmes.

Haami Piripi, member of the iwi leaders’ matauranga and education group, advised that the time was right for iwi to step up and make education one of their top priorities, especially in light of Minister Parata "clearly stepping up."

“The Minister provided all iwi with individual profiles of student achievement results in their tribal regions, which will give our people a really detailed picture of the challenges ahead.”

One iwi attending the hui with the principals, BOT members, parents and elders from three schools and over 50% of their students Year 1 to Year 13, said they were also up for the challenge.

Mr Te Aho, who is also the spokesperson for Te Whanau a Apanui Education, said that by 2017, his group would adopt a zero tolerance position on student failure.

“Our group have made clear to the Minister that we will lead the charge in our region for raising student achievement, for strengthening whanau and re-establishing world leading industry in our region including those relating to manuka honey and kiwi fruit.”

Education, whanau ora, housing, iwi investments, freshwater reforms and climate change were key topics on the forums agenda along with presentations from BNZ and Serco, said Mr Te Aho.


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