Last night, a small Māori speech contest was held at Parakai School for the students of its Māori immersion unit, Te Whare Kākano, and other students from Helensville's private Christian school, Tau Te Aroha Noa.
This was the last time students of the unit will be seen in public as its doors will finally close tomorrow.
The hammer has come down on these Ngāti Whātua Tūturu descendants, and they will no longer be able to learn te reo Māori at Parakai School as the bilingual unit is to be closed down.
Parakai School principal, Sean Valvoi did not want to comment on camera, but he did provide an e-mail earlier this year stating that Te Whare Kākano's doors would remain open if the roll reached 18. However, only 17 students were enrolled at the beginning of this term, and the CEO for Ngā Maunga Whakahī o Kaipara says they were open to providing financial support for the shortfall.
Te Kura o Tau Te Arohanoa, a private Christian school based in Helensville, has a cap of 50 students, and only two students from Te Whare Kākano can transfer there.
Only 4% of Māori in Kaipara are fluent in Māori, and when Te Whare Kākano closes tomorrow, there will no longer be any Māori immersion units in South Kaipara.