Three Maori residential schools in Hawke’s Bay will benefit from the Labor Party’s announcement of $ 20 million in funding. Reporter Sahiban Hyde / Video Warren Buckland
The three Hawke’s Bay Maori residential schools will capture the lion’s share of a government investment of $ 20 million, to enable them to address significant declining property issues and maintain their operations.
Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri said the investment, announced on Friday, will help grow New Zealand’s future leaders.
“This government believes in the unique role that Maori residential schools play in helping to shape and develop rangatahi,” said the Labor MP.
“The rangatahi who attend these schools live and breathe tikanga, reo and develop a sense of whanaungatanga that can only be achieved within these institutions.”
Whaitiri was joined by his fellow Maori minister, Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis during the announcement made at Hukarere College.
“The government made the commitment in 2020. This is a government investment in boarding schools of a special character – the special character being Maoridom,” Whaitiri told Hawke’s Bay Today.
“This funding for Hukarere will go to the hostel so that it can have suitable facilities and provide a modern learning environment for the students.
“The students here have an absolute love for college and we want their experience to be a pull mechanism for prospective students.”
Davis said the inn, having been inside, was “quite cold, very old and has no insulation.”
“This money comes from the Maori Development Ministry and will take care of the living side of things,” he said.
“So far, one-off improvements have been made, so this funding should help them improve facilities that are expected to last beyond their 150th anniversary in 2025.”
He said the amount each school received depended on the needs of each.
“The government is committed to supporting Maori residential schools where we can, they play a huge role in the growth of Maori leadership,” Davis said.
“They [the boarding schools] can start talking to officials immediately. “
Hukarere College principal Shone West said she was celebrating the recognition of Maori boarding schools and hoped the announcement was just the start of good things to come.
The funds, needed “yesterday”, were going to help make big changes at the hostel.
“The owners have had discussions with TPK and have worked hard to make some changes to the hostel, but we welcome the funds,” West said.
She said the rooms and the kitchen are in desperate need of improvement.
“We have 52 girls staying at the hostel, it can accommodate 75.
“We have a 20 year old oven that is still used to cook three meals, three times a day for the girls.
“The door is falling, it’s rusting.”
She said the college had been closed three times and hoped the improvements would go a long way in preventing this from happening again.
“It was so lacking. I have no doubts that the hostel is fully resourced,” West said.
“My watch is not going to be missing anymore.”
She said that in an ideal world, the college would get the full $ 20 million, but said the number offered was just above the $ 5 million mark.
“I am grateful for the funds we receive.”
The other two Maori residential schools in Hawke’s Bay that will receive funding will be St Joseph’s Māori Girls’ College and Te Aute College.
Whaitiri said the ad was part of a budget of over $ 1 billion for Maori and that she was proud of the work the government has done to elevate Maori aspirations for housing, health, employment and education.
“Successive governments have abandoned Maori residential schools, but this government believes in the unique role they play, not only in educating the rangatahi, but also in instilling Maori values in the next generation of leaders,” said Whaitiri.
Davis said there was an “expected need to increase public recognition and recognition of the contribution that Maori leaders have made to the advancement of Maoridom, Aotearoa and nation-building within the meaning large”.