Hiitori / History

Te Wharekura o Rakaumanga was established as a native primary school under the Native Schools Act on the 21st September 1896. The school was originally sited where the Huntly Power Station now stands. Historically it provided primary education for the children of the Ngaati Maahuta, Ngaati Whaawhaakia, Ngaati Hine and Ngaati Kuiaarangi hapu of Waikato.

Rakaumanga was integrated into the State system under the control of the Hamilton Education Board in 1969 with the abolition of Native Schools.

The continued existence of Rakaumanga as a school was seriously threatened when construction of the Huntly Power station began. Fierce lobbying by the local community prevented this and eventually the school was relocated to its present site at 26 McDiarmid Crescent, Huntly West in 1974.

During the late 1970s, major concerns were being expressed regarding the state of the Maori language in the community and the general quality of education that Maori children were receiving from the school and other state schools. In response to this a Bi-lingual Pre-school was established on the school site in 1979 and te reo Maori was introduced as a subject to be taught throughout the school. In progressive years the programme was extended to include the teaching of Waikato Tainui perspectives across the curriculum and the inclusion of the use of te reo Maori as a medium of instruction.

The school was officially redesignated as a Primary Bi-lingual School in 1984.

Total immersion instruction in te reo Maori across all subjects was initiated in 1986 after disillusionment with the speed at which bi-lingual teaching was assisting with the revival of the language as a language of communication amongst students. Immersion Maori instruction was first introduced to the new entrant class of ‘86 and as they progressed through the school, further immersion classes were established. By 1992, all classes were taught totally in te reo Maori. In 1993 the school retained its form 3 (Year 9) students and established a secondary unit on the school site. All governance, management and pedagogical practice were aligned to reflect Waikato Tainui tikanga and kawa.

The school was redesignated a Kura Kaupapa Maori in 1994 under s155 of the Education Act.

Ministerial approval to redesignate as a Special Character Composite School was received in 1996 officially sanctioning the establishment of a secondary school programme teaching Year 1 - Year 13 students on one school site. The first cohort of Year 13 students graduated from the Wharekura in 1997.


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