Kura Kaupapa in Murupara embraces the Asian languages

By Mere McLean
  • Waikato/Bay of Plenty

10 students from Te Kura Kaupapa Motuhake o Tawhiuau in Murupara will be travelling to Japan in November.  This follows the Confucius Classroom status placed on the total immersion tribal school last month.

The Japanese language flows freely at this tribal Māori school. 

School principal Pem Bird says, “Over five years, we have included two other languages in our school.  It's time for us to visit the place and people where these languages originate.” 

Added to their usual curriculum, Tawhiuau promotes, fosters and supports the growth of Mandarin and Japanese languages in schools.  They are the first tribal school to do so. 

The hardest part is obtaining the resources so the school can facilitate that.

Bird says the key drive for gaining Confucius status was to give his students a global perceptive.

“The Māori language, English, Spanish that's all good, Mandarin is all based on the concept that the world belongs to us. That what our elders maintained.”

Three other tribal schools are looking at securing the same status. They include Ngāti Rongomai in Te Arawa, Te Whatatau o Putauaki in Kawerau and Te Kura Mana Māori o Whangaparaoa in Te Whānau a Apanui.

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