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Moerewa school closure – Hilda Halkyard-Harawira

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Kia ora ra, Letter to the Editor

Moerewa has been hit with the lock out of workers from the Affco plant by the millionaire food production company Talleys. 7 weeks later, on TV last night, the Secretary of Education announced that the Board of Trustees have been sacked and a commissioner has been appointed for Moerewa School . The main offence of Moerewa School community being -their audacity and self-belief to set high academic goals for their children in a decile 1 school.

Moerewa School gained secondary status to year 10 when they refused to hand their children to local secondary schools which they considered did not perform well enough to their expecations. Moerewa parents chose not to ship their children away from home to Whangarei or private boarding schools and strengthen their own base. They were a success story on day one.

The Secretary of Education criticised the senior curriculum for year 11-13 for not being able to deliver a wide breadth of curriculum. If I was to define basic success in educational achievement for Maori – it would be that all Maori children defy mediocrity set in public schools and achieve 80 credits in NCEA 1 by year 11 or earlier. Most Maori children disengage at 16 with less than 12 credits. If a child succeeds in NCEA 1- 3- they are less likey to go to jail. Money should be invested in kids at school – not in more prisons.

How to deliver a wide range of curriculum subjects is a constant reality of many small rural schools- however with new technology – subjects are able to be delivered by video- conference and interactive workshops with Correspondence School. The reality is – it is better for a small school to grow five subjects well than deliver 9 poorly. However small schools have to be creative to ensure their students gain a variety of experiences in their education to prepare students emotionally and academically for their career pathways.

Did the Secretary of Education offer to work with the successful Board of Trustees to gain final step of accreditation to teach senior students? This would enable the Board to employ other teachers to deliver a few more curriculum subjects. In kura kaupapa schooling, once our school achieved wharekura status, we then had to meet compliances to gain NZQA accreditation- this is an ongoing audit process which keeps us up to date with new NCEA expectations. Generally teaching staff are given 6 months to a year to meet those compliances.

MP Hekia Parata should see Moerewa School as an oasis of opportunity and embrace this model school as a possible template for other communities. It is ironic that the National Government has opened up the door for charter schools to be run by business people with little or no educational experience; but slams a school that is delivering better academic achievement than a few more established schools. I would ask that Tau Henare work with his colleagues to assist Moerewa School gain their full secondary status.

I have watched this school at sporting events and the Tai Tokerau Kapa Haka Festival this year with admiration. If you saw the imagery on TV – the students were well groomed in their assembly- this is a clear sign of school and personal pride. Congratulations to the principal and the Board of Trustees for being a flower in the desert of educational paucity. Now Tai Tokerau will have to watch while some commisioner comes in and botches up the smooth running of the Moerewa school in Ngati Hine- just to satisfy the institutional racism of the Ministry of Education. Keri Ihimaera Milne is a principal of integrity- representing the huge expectations of her community- and is to be commended for wanting more for her tauira. Kura Kaupapa Maori is one model of success- the Crown will have to get used to the fact there are other successful Maori models in the communities- led by inspiring leaders.

For the students of Moerewa- celebrate your success, hold fast to your chest the belief in your school. E Taiohi ma. He pai to koutou kura , ahakoa nga piki me nga heke , whakanuia to kura, to poari, o kaiako me to whanau . Kia kaha , kia manawanui.

Hilda Halkyard-Harawira
Former principal of a great school
Kei te kainga
021 2900 216

(7) Comments

  1. Emzski

    Seriously laptop....like Hekia Parata and her minions u guys need to pull ur heads outta the sand and not listen to one-sided mainstream media... What they purposely omitted is that alot of these students came back from colleges that were failing them to begin with... Parents of these children have found that they do not have a right in choosing where their students get educated...instead Hekia Parata is insisting they go to the nearest college which at this stage has a limited statutory manager because the teachers and board have no confidence in their principal...why should they send their kids away to boarding school when they know Moerewa works for them?? Wake up and smell the puha Laptop.. Its smallminded people like you that sit at ur house judging people from afar... Dont get me wrong Im all for freedom of speech but u seriously need to read more about Moerewa School and its successes before u start stirring ur pot of narrowmindedness!!!!

  2. Sydneysider

    @laptop buddy open your eyes. Can you not see the inconsistent truths she has been spilling to the public? Bahahahaha "dealing with it" sitting on her high horse barking orders isn't dealing with it. And either you forgot or just oblivious to the fact it's the KIDS who want to be taught in this school. Silly and stubborn people? Are you LIVING in the real world? Do you watch the news? Did you even read the article above? You need to jump back in your time machine and go back to 1840.

  3. Megan Rich

    If I were parents of these students , I would be painting my placards and arriving at school, and picketing the gates to open their doors. There comes a point when bullying needs to be confronted. The Commissioner should be bought to his knees and sent packing. How dare they undermine the BOT in this way. This Board had the integrity and presence of mind to do right by the students. As for the new Secretary of Education, she is a neo-liberal intent on busting public education. As for Hekia, she is a NACT lap-puppy...Locked out students.... Unacceptable...

  4. Mel

    Laptop, it seems you are some what swayed by the pretty words of Hekia Parata and her English lapdog, Lesley Longstone. If you had looked a little deeper and followed this story a little longer, you would see that statistics can be scewed and be turned into lies. There is more to this than meets the eye. The senior students had their assessments investigated because the previous Education Minister, Anne Tolley, did not like it that Moerewa School had made a stand against (faulty) National Standards being imposed on Year 1-8 students. I believe that the MOE position will be to try and discredit the school step by step... the first step being with the Year 11-13 students. The principal has agreed that some assessments may not have been up to scratch, but NZQA agreed that 79% of the 84% of assessments they had investigated were up to scratch. Other schools would be given the opportunity to up their game, resit the students, improve practice.... but the Minister has landed a sledgehammer on this school instead. I might remind people that once upon a time a school called Cambridge High School had amazing marks.... it turned out they were giving credits to kids for picking up litter. The situation at Moerewa is no where near as dire as this!! But it seems this govt is determined to condemn people and groups for success.... Moerewa School has been successful in keeping a group of young people in school learning where they were not doing so at other schools..... Otorahanga District Council has also lost their funding for a programme to help unemployed youth in their district - because they were too successful!!! Who voted for National and such shortsightness I keep wondering?

  5. laptop

    It's the kids who are being screwed here by the silly and stubborn people who set up this dodgy scheme. All congratulations to Hekia Parata for dealing with it. There is a need to relate to the real world. There is no success in this school. We are always going to have people do just what they want, but what is it about Moerewa and the north that they are happy to take the government money, and misuse it. And mess up the kids while doing it.

    1. Phebs

      When you judge others, you do not define them, you define yourself" Earl Nightingale We have success in bucket loads at Moerewa...come see for yourself before you judge us!!!

    2. sarah edmonds

      so your kids donot use the internet at school you say our kids need to relate to the real world you wanna get real come into moerewa school and see for yourself what our school is about instead of listening to the media.....

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