Topic: Education

Turakina Māori Girls School scheduled to close for good

By Heta Gardiner
  • North Island: West Coast

The doors of Turakina Māori Girls' School will close for good after 110 years of educating young Māori women to become fine students and role models.  A declining roll and financial difficulties are two major contributors to its demise.

The decision was announced today by Education Minister Hekia Parata.

Staff and students were made aware of the decision last night, a decision they thought wouldn't come.  According to Trish Biddle-Amoroa, “When you put endless hours into a submission that you think is hole proof, you don't think any but positive stuff.”

While the final decision rested with Education Minister Hekia Parata, it was one made with a heavy heart. 

Hekia Parata says, “Yes I am sad.  As a Māori, as a woman, I worked hard to find a way to support them.  But there were no other options.”

A dropping roll and financial troubles have plagued the school for years. 

Even a $5mil government investment over five years wasn't enough to help revive it.  In October this year, the Minister began the second and final round of consultation asking how the school planned to improve its position.

The board of trustees and board of proprietors were given until November 6 to prove the boarding hostel was financially viable.

Parata says, “The big issue is that students weren't going to this school.  It's not for the government to make that happen.  It's up to the parents to take their kids to Turakina.”

A school rich in history with 110 years of educating young Māori women is now at an end.  The focus now turns from trying to keep the school open to safeguarding the girls' future.

A ministry representative will be at the school next week to help facilitate the students' move to a new school.

The official closing date is January 27.

They will no doubt have karakia and waiata which will start in the afternoon to allow time for former students and teachers to farewell their school.

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