13 Jul 2012

Immersion school to open in Nelson

9:15 pm on 13 July 2012

[b After a fifteen year fight Nelson's Maori community is getting ready to open the region's first total Maori language immersion school at dawn on Saturday.

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

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

Chairperson of the Board of Trustees Dayveen Stephens says the community has been waiting a long time to open the school which will open with a traditional dawn ritual.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tuia Te Matangi will officially open with kaumatua from the local iwi and guests helping to bless the buildings.

Ms Stephens says most of the community have now warmed to the kura after being told the school is open to all children, whether they are Maori or not, and provides an option for parents who want their tamariki to be instructed in Te Reo.

The Maori king Tuheitia was expected to attend, but is at the tangi for the Tuwharetoa leader Timoti te Heuheu.