11 Jun 2012

Nelson Maori community soon to open first kura kaupapa

6:46 am on 11 June 2012

A 15-year fight to build the first kura kaupapa Maori or Maori language immersion school at the top of the South Island is nearly over.

The kura is being opened in Nelson in a month's time.

Maori language supporters have been campaigning against opposition from some local people who initially feared the school would be exclusive.

The eight mana whenua iwi in the region and concerned Maori language supporters in the rohe have been involved in the project - with a vision to retain te reo Maori in Te Tau Ihu (the top of the South Island).

The kura, in Richmond, is the first of its kind in the Nelson-Marlborough region and will cater for tamariki from five to 12 years of age.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tuia Te Matangi Board of Trustees chairperson Dayveen Stephens says there is a sense of excitement among whanau as they count down to the opening.

She says the Maori community in Nelson can't wait to see the venture come to fruition.

Ms Stephens says after many years they are realistic the first day of school isn't the end of the journey, but just the beginning of a kura kaupapa in Te Tau Ihu.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tuia Te Matangi will officially open with a dawn ceremony on 14 July.