Maori education – Ae Marika! 19 Feb 2013

Posted on February 19, 2013 by admin in Ae Marika

Maori education doesn’t always get a good review so here’s a couple of positive stories.

Firstly a good home story to start with. Yesterday I attended the opening of Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Pukemiro in Kaitaia. It gave me the opportunity to quietly reflect on the efforts of people like Rima Edwards and Rihi Wallace who helped make Pukemiro a reality some years back, those who built the first kura up by Te Roopu Whanau Kohanga Reo, and the dedicated whanau and staff whose commitment led to the opening of the second kura up on the “Top Field” at Kaitaia College yesterday.

Pukemiro is a beautiful kura, cleverly designed to provide a range of learning environments as well as a good inside-outside flow, a really warm atmosphere, plenty of places to sit and enjoy one anothers company and with a lovely whare hui as its centrepiece.

And in naming the many rooms, the whanau chose names that evoke the true history of the far north, names like Muriwhenua, Houtaewa, Ueoneone, Tohe and others. One of the many fine speeches that morning included a wonderful lecture by Ross Gregory about the history of the area and how the many names of the buildings were linked by whakapapa, by places and by events.

Pukemiro have been quiet achievers over the past few years and the opening of their new kura is not just a feather in the cap for Maori education, it is also a real shot in the arm for the far north at a time when many other social indicators seem to be against us. Nga mihi ki a koutou e te whanau o Pukemiro.

The other one of course is the possible re-opening of a couple of Maori schools – Tipene and Wikitoria. I’m on the group charged with investigating the feasibility of reopening one or both or neither of the schools; if so in what form; and if not, then what.

We’re looking into the status of the facilities, talking to stakeholders and interest groups, to people with innovative ideas about learning practices, and to people who might be interested in financing a range of options which might drop out of the feasibility study.

My brief is to get the engineering reports on both schools to see whether they are in good condition and if not what it might cost to bring them up to scratch. I also hope to talk to some other schools like Kura Kaupapa, other Maori boarding schools and some specialist institutions like Tai Wananga, Nga Taiatea, and Tu Toa.

A major part of the exercise will also include talking to former students of both schools and to that end the Queen Vic Old Girls are meeting at the Holy Sepulchre in Khyber Pass Auckland tonight, to get an update on where things are at. Old Girls wanting to find out more can contact another former student, Callie Corrigan ( who can fill you in.

And the St Stephen’s Old Boys Association is meeting on April 6 at Tatai Hono to give their ideas. Any Old Boys who are not in the loop can drop me a line at and I’ll hook you up those running that network.

4 o’clock in the morning ain’t everybody’s cup of tea, but seeing Pukemiro come to life in the new dawn was a wonderful way to start my week.

AE MARIKA is an article written every week by Hone Harawira, leader of the MANA Movement and Member of Parliament for Te Tai Tokerau. You are welcome to use any of the comments and to ascribe them to Mr Harawira. The full range of Hone’s articles can be found on the MANA website at