By: Zizi Sparks

Te Taumata o Ngati Whakaue Iho-Ake Trust general manager Roana Bennett says the school opening will be a day of celebration. PHOTO/STEPHEN PARKER

Support for Rotorua’s first charter school has been “phenomenal”, says the trust which will govern the school.

Enrolments for term one at the Te Rangihakahaka Centre for Science and Technology are closed after the school reached its capacity of 80 students, weeks before its opening day.

Te Taumata o Ngati Whakaue Iho-Ake Trust general manager Roana Bennett said the school was already looking at doing another intake for term two.

“The interest in the centre has been phenomenal. With three weeks still to go we have already reached our maximum roll for term one,” Bennett said.

The school will cater for Years 1 to 10 and plans to grow to 200 students by 2020.

Te Taumata is Ngati Whakaue’s education arm and the trust is still looking for support staff for the centre.

“We have had lots of interest from educators wanting to join our team,” Bennett said.

“We appointed five registered teachers in December and they have worked through the summer getting ready for opening.

“We are currently recruiting for our support team, Hunga Manaaki, and will make announcements as to successful candidates next week.”

The school will be Rotorua’s first partnership school and will be based in a building on Dinsdale St the iwi has named the Turipuku Campus.

“The premises are starting to take shape,” Bennett said.

“The renovations are well under way and our team of builders are doing a great job to have everything complete for opening. The timing has been really tight.”

Te Rangihakahaka will open officially on January 27 with a pre-dawn karakia and the planting of native trees on the school grounds, followed by entertainment and guided tours.

Bennett said the day was open to anyone who supported the term 1 kaupapa or learning topic, which was whakapapa.

She said whanau engagement was also a driving force behind the school.

“This will be a real day of celebration for Ngati Whakaue,” she said.

“We are really pleased to be launching this new initiative that will see upcoming generations of Ngati Whakaue tamariki immersed in their language and culture whilst accessing quality learning.”

Once school starts on January 30 it will cover the full New Zealand curriculum but with a focus on science and technology, teaching literacy and other learning areas through science topics defined in Maori terms such as whakapapa (genetics) and ahuwhenua (agriculture).

Source: Rotorua Daily Post


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