Te KKM o Te Raki Paewhenua celebrates 30 years

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Raki Paewhenua on Auckland's North Shore is celebrating its 30th anniversary today.

The school started out with just eight students in May 1993. Now it caters to 102 students from Year 1 to high school age.

The 30th celebration was held at the Eventfinda Stadium due to bad weather.

Principal Iantha Mutu (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu) says, “At the moment I am thinking about those that have left us and families that couldn't make it today.

“Our marae is small so we thought to move this joyous event here where it's good for the kids' amusement park. They are the reason for today.”

Teacher Te Ao Marama Andrews (Hineāmaru, Ngāpuhi) and graduate Raniera Kaio (Ngāpuhi, Whangaroa) recall past principals.

Celebrating 30 years, and looking forward to 30 more.

Pressure to succeed

“We are very fortunate the principals believed in our school and I would like to thank the three who have died, Matua Kairo Makarini, Matua Jim Perry and Whaea Mā. Their love for the children was special,” Andrews says.

“I remember the words of our first principal, Kairo Makarini from Tūhoe, an elder with a huge heart for everyone at this place who said: "This school needs to make a stand so it is clear, known and understood that this land, this place of Te Raki Paewhenua has the Māori language and Māori descendants,” Kaio recalls.

Current students of the school are looking forward to embracing the outside world but with a lot of pressure on their shoulders to succeed.

Marara Porter (Ngāti Kahu, Ngāpuhi) says, “It's huge pressure to represent your school and family, as an example for your tribe, but also stand with courage in the world, proudly showing your Māori side and not to be ashamed in either world. Yes, it's a huge pressure but our whānau are there to support us.”

“I feel nervous but we all, as Māori need to be strong and be open to the world as indigenous people,” Bheyana Holland (Ngāti Uenuku ki Ruapehu) says.

The dreams and aspirations of the organising whānau of the school for the next 30 years is to see the return of graduating students as teachers and principals for the school to flourish.