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The Turakina Māori Girls College Board of Trustees is devastated with the announcement this morning from the Minister of Education, expressing uncertainty on their future viability as a centre of learning.

“On 29th and 30th May this year we celebrated 110 years of experience in shaping and supporting young Maori women for success. We reflected on the seismic shifts our school has lived through – from a time in which our students were groomed to be “good women, good wives and good mothers” to today when we expect excellence in every aspect of academic, cultural, sporting and spiritual development.

“Throughout the century and more, one guiding principle endures: culture counts.  We know that connection, identity, and language are critical factors in ensuring the success of our Māori students. Turakina, through its commitment to lifelong learning through mana wairua, mana mātauranga, mana wahine and mana Māori fully appreciates the ‘added value’ that our heritage, our history and our value system play in shaping young lives.

“We believe that all New Zealanders appreciate the need to preserve and protect legacies of learning as are found in the select few educational institutions that have been the pioneers of schooling over the last century.

“While we recognise the desire of Government to trial new ideas from overseas such as in the charter school concept, we would hope that fine educational establishments such as Turakina can also be a priority. Schools are not social laboratories: they provide a vital environment for our children to receive the support, the guidance, the expertise and the experience required to create the leadership required for today’s graduates.

“Turakina has always appreciated the support of local iwi, Ngati Apa/Nga Wairiki and Whanganui, who have invested in a tried and true model.  They value the ‘tuakana-teina’ concept of pastoral care which provides students with the grounding from which to apply themselves to study.

“We are calling on our ‘old girls’, Nga Wahine Tawhito o Turakina, to step up to the rally for support. The Board of Trustees is excited about the opportunity to market ourselves with our new prospectus representing the range of educational options available in a Turakina education.  We want to continue to work collaboratively with the proprietors, the Presbyterian Church, to strengthen our future position, by ensuring the valiant efforts of the Commissioner for the Board of Proprietors, Dr Kathie Irwin are supported with a strong Board elected to implement her forward planning.

“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 and to follow through with the investment required to fulfil the hopes and dreams of the girls and whānau who seek a Turakina education to create a future we can all be proud of.”