18 Aug 2015

Former students fight to prevent school closure

9:11 am on 18 August 2015

Former students of a Māori boarding school that the Government is considering closing down have met to find ways to keep the kura open.

Students at Turakina Maori Girls' School.

Students at Turakina Maori Girls' School. Photo: Facebook

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced a consultation with the Turakina Māori Girls' College board last week about its viability, after the roll fell from 152 pupils in 2003 to just 54 this year.

Turakina former student Toni Huata said about three hui were held on Sunday at different places across the motu.

Ms Huata, of Rongowhakaata and Ngāti Kahungunu descent, said at the Wellington hui she attended, people spoke about sending submissions to the Minister of Education and creating a campaign to attract prospective tauira.

"Basically, it was an information session on how to put in submissions individually and perhaps as a group towards what we see and would like to happen for the future of our school," she said.

"All of us want to see our school continue with success with attracting students under strong leadership, and under strong leadership comes strong teaching staff, and therefore it filters down to the students."

Ms Huata said the campaigners planned to have many more hui, including with the board of the school, to find out why the roll had been falling.

She said all they knew was that Turakina Māori Girls' College would remain open until the end of the year for the remaining 54 tauira.

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