National | Kura

Auckland Kura Māori stay closed

Two wharekura in Auckland are staying closed despite the government allowing senior students to return to school.

But one kura Māori principal says he’ll keep students at home, possibly until next year.

Year 11 - 13 students can return to school to prepare for their upcoming NCEA exams.

But Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Hoani Waititi principal Hare Rua says his school isn’t reopening.

"The value of our children is of far more importance than NCEA credits," Rua says.

He says the government’s decision to open up high schools with so many active community cases at Level 3 is unbelievable.

"We knew that the children couldn't come back while there were 100+ cases in the community. It's pretty easy to tell us here in Auckland what to do while safe in Wellington."

Te Wharekura o Manurewa principal Māhia Nathan says the danger posed by Delta to Māori families was why he chose to stay closed.

"We have to be pragmatic about whether we can accommodate the kids and be safe."

Like Rua, Nathan says some things are more important than NCEA exams.

"We see the statistics, Māori are at the bottom for rates of vaccination, for everything…all our families are Māori."

The Minister of Education announced last week that students in Auckland, Waikato and Northland will be able to receive an ‘Unexpected Event Grade’ for end-of-year NCEA exams.

This recognises students in these regions weren’t able to return to school at the start of Term 4 to prepare for end-of-year exams.

Teachers will instead gather evidence of students’ learning and send grades to NZQA to calculate a final grade based on whichever is higher – the grade supplied by the school, or the grade earned in the exam. If a student is unable to sit an exam, they receive the grade supplied by the school.