Inzone Education Foundation at Epsom Grammar
New Home Set to Open for Maori & Pacifica Students Attending Epsom Girls Grammar
Epsom Girls Grammar School is getting set to welcome 16 new Maori and Pacifica students from throughout the North Island for the start of the new school year thanks to the INZONE Education Foundation establishing a new home Te Kainga Huarahi for the girls, just metres from the school’s entrance.
The Foundation already operates a similar home in Epsom where 55 Maori and Pacifica boys attend Auckland Grammar School.
INZONE Foundation Managing Director Terrance Wallace said this week’s opening of the new home (Thur, 22 Jan) will be the culmination of a vision to give Maori and Pacifica girls the same opportunity the boys have had since 2011.
“Thanks to a very generous benefactor, we have managed to secure a substantial heritage property in the heart of Epsom which has made this opportunity possible. Obviously the Foundation’s limited financial resources prevent us from buying up multi-million dollar homes close to the school so we are extremely grateful to the owner for being willing to give these girls the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The home site currently resembles an episode of the popular television home renovation programme The Block with tradesman racing to get everything finished ahead of Thursday’s opening.
However, Mr Wallace is confident they’ll meet the deadline.
“Establishing a new home for 16 girls has literally meant having to buy everything we need from scratch and I’m grateful for the many donations we have received from a number of businesses and individuals since we first announced the project late last year. We continue to receive calls from people wanting to offer us goods and services which is really heartening.”
A large team of volunteers have spent hundreds of hours renovating the building both inside and out, including a group of 14 senior high students from Redfield College near Sydney who flew to Auckland last week to assist with the preparations after reading about the project online.
Competition for the 16 places in the home has been intense and Mr Wallace says there are plans to increase capacity in the near future.
“To be honest, there is huge demand out there from Maori and Pacifica students wanting to gain a top class education and while the places are very limited it’s something I hope we can continue to grow over time.”
In order to meet the school’s strict zoning requirements, Mr Wallace will become the shared guardian of the 16 new students; bringing to 71 the total number of students now in his care.
“It’s obviously a huge responsibility to have shared guardianship of these students but when I see the fantastic progress the boys have made with their education over the last few years I’m delighted we can now give another 16 girls the same opportunity.”
The Foundation is entirely reliant on donations and gifts to allow it to continue its work.
“Raising the necessary funding is an ongoing issue, however I never cease to be amazed at the generosity of people who send us money, often anonymously, because they believe in the work we’re doing by providing equity in education.”
Mr Wallace said INZONE was delighted to have the support of two Cabinet Ministers for the event. Minister of Youth Affairs and Associate Education, Hon Nikki Kaye, will cut the ribbon to open the new home and Minister of Pacific Peoples and Ethnic Communities, Hon Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will also be involved in the formalities during the afternoon.