19 Dec 2016

Far North's first kura kaupapa to close for good

10:28 pm on 19 December 2016

The first Māori language immersion school in the Far North is being permanently shut because the Minister of Education says there is no way to resolve its problems.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Rangiawhia.

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Rangiawhia in the Far North Photo: Google Maps

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Rangiawhia has been closed since 25 July after a commissioner was appointed to oversee it by the ministry.

At a meeting in Taipa today, the school's community was told it would be permanently shut from Friday.

The ministry said its decision was in the best interests of the students.

In a statement, Minister of Education Hekia Parata said the kura had serious and long-standing issues, including a breakdown in relationships between parents and the school that had affected students' learning.

Staffing issues had also resulted in no registered teachers being employed at the kura.

Mana Party leader Hone Harawira was at the meeting, and said the whānau was devastated.

They accepted there had been problems but had worked hard on a proposal for the ministry to address the concerns, he said.

"To the credit of the whānau, they're not the sort that sit around crying over Christmas. In the new year start worrying about 'OK, so how do we get this kura going again' - with or without the support of the ministry. It's important to us."

Ms Parata said several proposals developed by the community hinged on finding a new principal, but one with the necessary experience or skills could not be found.