Indigenous | Education

Reporoa College celebrates 40th anniversary of Māori studies classroom

Forty years ago Te Whaoa, Māori studies classroom, was established at Reporoa College as a safe space for rangatahi and whānau from Reporoa to learn te reo Māori and kapa haka.

Reporoa College kapa haka tutor Hinehou Treanor (Ngāti Whaoa) says its 40th birthday celebrations are a new and sustainable way to ensure tikanga and kawa in te ao Māori will stay alive in her community.

She is excited to be able to carry on the tradition her kuia and koroua have handed down from generation to generation.

“Forty years ago our whānau in Reporoa wanted a whare manaaki that depicted the taha Māori of this area, a place where everyone felt safe and confident in learning our reo, to practice tikanga in whaikōrero and karanga.

“Whaoa is a tupuna (ancestor) of Ngāti Tahu, Ngāti Whaoa, hence why this whare tapere, whare whakaruruhau is called Te Whao.”

To this day, Te Whaoa is celebrated both in te reo Māori and English, giving whānau of Reporoa the possibility of learning how to haka and how to speak te reo Māori.

Treanor says although Reporoa is predominantly full of English-speaking whānau, the Māori department of the kura is focused on making te reo Māori accessible for everyone.

“Everyone may know Reporoa for farming and may think we don’t have much of a population who know how to speak our reo and that is true.

“As with many whānau, te reo Māori was taken away from some of our kuia and koroua in our rohe, so the building of this whare was specially done to house reo, to house our whānau and any kaupapa Reporoa wish to have in the future.”

Treanor hopes to continue teaching Reporoa's rangatahi 40 years on. She also wants the college to open Te Whaoa on Matariki to enable the community to celebrate and comprehend the significance of Matariki for their rohe.