Kura has legacy of struggle - Sharples

  • Pita Sharples

Today's opening of new premises for a kura kaupapa Maori in West Auckland was a bittersweet event for Dr Pita Sharples, the Associate Minister of Maori Affairs.

It has been 18 years since Dr Sharples, as the then chair of Te Runanganui o Nga Kura Kaupapa Maori, supported Te Kotuku's application to the Ministry of Education for implementation.

"Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Te Kotuku illustrates the battle that many kohanga whanau have had, to establish a new kura under the Education Act 1989," said Dr Sharples.

"Today, 18 years later, a beautiful new kura has emerged, representing almost two decades of struggle," he said.

"But many elders who initiated the programme have passed away, and were not able to witness the fruits of their efforts. Many adults who would have benefited from a total immersion Maori language education were denied the opportunity to grow and be educated in a bilingual New Zealand.

"This kura illustrates that, while there are clear legal avenues for Maori initiatives to be developed, the reality is the pathway is still filled with challenges," said Dr Sharples.

"I am pleased that the current applications for kura and for wharekura (secondary) status before the MoE are all being actioned at this time.

"Minister Tolley and I have received absolute commitment from the Ministry to progress all kaupapa Maori applications as quickly as possible.

Several hundred people attended the dawn opening of the kura's new premises.