Using waka ama, the traditional Māori outrigger canoe, as a tool to engage students in learning is an innovative approach from a Wairarapa school principal – one that is attracting support from the local community and funding agencies.
About Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Wairarapa
At Te Kura Kaupapa Māori O Wairarapa the students are taught almost exclusively in te reo Māori, fostering their cultural development, and ensuring their mother tongue never dies. The Kura is committed to employing inventive, meaningful ways to engage the students and raise their level of educational achievement, and for tumuaki (principal), Hohepa Campbell, this meant finding another use for the waka ama.
What the grant went towards
A grant of $10,000 from the Trust House Foundation, along with money raised through the Kura’s own fundraising activities, has seen the Kura reach the $26,000 required to buy their own waka ama and a trailer to transport it.
What this meant for the school community
“For our students to be successful, says Hohepa, “ We need parents to engage with their children on positive whanaungatanga (relationship building) activities.
“The rationale for us is the big aspirational goal of really understanding how we came to New Zealand, because this involves so much learning about us as Māori, and it goes back to that point that our children will benefit and have positive outcomes if their parents are also engaged.”