13 Aug 2015

School board 'devastated' over possible closure

9:12 am on 13 August 2015

Yesterday's announcement that the boarding school Turakina Māori Girls' College could face closure was met with tears from the board.

Students at Turakina Maori Girls' School.

Students at Turakina Maori Girls' School. Photo: Facebook

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced a consultation with the Marton school's board about its viability after its roll fell this year to just 54 pupils.

Board of Trustees chairperson Trish Biddle-Amoroa said they were devastated.

"So my reaction to that, as was a couple of others in the room; we cried. And that was at the hurt, the sadness, and there aren't words to describe how I was feeling at that time."

Ms Biddle-Amoroa, a former student herself, said the school had been going for 110 years and had a rich history.

She said the kura had produced some phenomenal girls who had made a difference within their iwi and rohe, and future generations should continue to have that opportunity.

Ms Biddle-Amoroa said she agreed with Labour MP Adrian Rurawhe's criticism of the decision - that there was an imbalance between the extra support struggling charter schools had received compared to Turakina Maori Girls College.

"Adrian Rurawhe comparing the charter schools to Turakina and how each one has been treated differently, yes he has a point there."

She said Minister Parata never met with the Board to discuss the challenges facing the school.

"This is make or break time: we are asking the Government, the church and our wider community to return to their first love for this beautiful little school".

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