Hoani Waititi promotes the positives of kura kaupapa education

By Talisa Kupenga

Despite a Ministry of Education report saying that children are leaving Māori medium education schools, Hoani Waititi disagrees with those findings.

The medium education school says parents need to trust that Māori education can provide the same opportunities for children to succeed academically.

Teacher at Hoani Waititi, Ana Berry says, “If a child is placed in kōhanga reo, it's right for them to continue their schooling in Māori. If not, it is a waste of time.”

Ana Berry is one of many expressing her thoughts about the number of children changing from kura kaupapa to mainstream.

She says, “It’s easy to put your child in mainstream education. You drop them off at 9am and pick them up at 3pm. But if you put them into kōhanga and kura, you have to be involved in all aspects of the schooling as well. This is where it can become difficult.”

The school has seen more than six pupils return from mainstream education in the past year.

Principal of Hoani Waititi, Rawiri Wright believes Māori medium education was established to fulfil what mainstream schools could not.

He says, "The students have seen, heard and felt for themselves what was missing."

According to the Ministry of Education's Ngā Haeata Mātauranga report, of the 22% of Māori children enrolled in kōhanga reo, less than half continue into Māori medium education at primary level, and half again continue on to secondary schooling.

Wright says, “It is a reflection of the times. Mainstream has succeeded in what they set out to achieve.”

He says it is not the parents' fault, but they should trust that the Māori education system can provide the same opportunities for their children as mainstream.

“Don't think that because the school has a larger role and more subjects to choose from that your child is sure to succeed. Because of mainstream school sizes, your child is a minority, as are the rest of the Māori students.”

The school encourages children from all cultures to enrol and achieve the highest potential.