16 Apr 2012

Minister's appointee elected to head kura kaupapa

1:59 pm on 16 April 2012

A Palmerston North man appointed by Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples to a panel reviewing strategy and infrastructure of the Maori language sector will now take over leadership of the organisation which represents most kura kaupapa.

Philosophy and practice in the kura kaupapa (Maori language immersion schools) reflects Maori cultural values with the aim of revitalising language, knowledge and culture.

New leader Toni Waho, has been a key driver of kura kaupapa and kohanga reo for many years, and was elected by Te Runanga Nui o Nga Kura Kaupapa Maori o Aotearoa at its recent annual meeting.

He takes over the position from Rawiri Wright and plans to build upon the work done Mr Wright, which included collaorating with the Ministry of Education to draw up a curriculum for the schools.

Kura kaupapa were established by a government working group in the 1980s to address low academic achievement among Maori students.

About one in two Maori leave school without meeting university-entrance requirements.

A number of kura kaupapa have been hailed for their success in lifting Maori students' grades.

Associate Minister of Education Dr Pita Sharples last year said that nine Government interventions during 2010 at kura kaupapa were a blip on an otherwise good record.

He said most kura have achieved great success and are producing fluent native speakers of Maori language who are literate and competent in two worlds.