It's been more than a 20 year journey to open the doors of Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Ngāti Kahungunu o Te Wairoa, the only total immersion Māori language school in the area, but today, that dream became a reality.
The smiles of the children bringing life to their new school.
Student, Ben Wairama says, “It's hard to put into words how I am feeling about today.”
Another student of the school, Hinekorako Sonny Grant says, “It's really nice inside, because there wasn't enough room in the old school for all of us to learn properly, but this new school is awesome.”
It's a modern school with a modern learning approach, with only 2 open plan classes for its 79 students.
Principal, Anaru Ratapu says, “Although this is a beautiful school, we must cater to the needs of the students and their families, to create an environment that lifts their level of learning.”
In 1994 the kura began with only around 10 children, but it had no permanent place to call their very own until now.
Teacher, Anahera Scott says, “It's taken 22 years to reach this dream, to set up our very own total immersion Māori language school for us.
There aren't many children that speak Māori in our area, maybe because the parents don't think Māori is the right path for their children, but all the children we do have here, the Māori language is what their parents want for them.”
It was a $4 million project that took 10 months to complete from start to finish.