Whānau from Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Rangiawhia are devastated at the Minister of Education Hekia Parata's decision to close the school this week.
The long-awaited decision on the future of this school has been keenly anticipated, but unfortunately it's not the preferred outcome.
Whānau spokesperson Joe Petera says, “Whānau are saddened at today's announcement because this is the senior total immersion school in our district. Irrespective, we vow to keep our kura open and that the challenge for us.”
Rangiawhia is the only Māori total immersion school within the Ngāti Kahu tribal territory and is the first of its type in the Far North.
Mana Movement leader Hone Harawira says, “I've heard the whānau's reaction and also from those who are learned in dealing with these situations who support keeping the school open. So the decision by the minister to close this week as we prepare for the Christmas is a very bad one.”
Te Kāea are still awaiting an official statement from the Minister of Education on her decision which stems for the departure of the principal and a teacher back in July following the democratic election of the new school board. It was then that the Ministry of Education appointed a commissioner but whānau say to this date many of their questions and concern remain unanswered.
“Whānau are keen to take it to the ombudsman and retrieve all information and communications that have taken place to arrive at this decision in order to continue our fight to stay open,” says Petera.
“There is strong support from the Kura o Te Rangianiwaniwa, Pukemiro, Whangaroa and other schools in Northland that this kura remain open,” says Harawira.