16 Jul 2012

Nelson's first Maori language immersion school opens

8:51 am on 16 July 2012

After nearly three decades and hundreds of hui - Nelson's first Maori language immersion school has opened its doors.

Te Kura Kaupapa Maori o Tuia Te Matangi was blessed by kaumatua, local Maori, and special guests during a powhiri ceremony at dawn on Saturday that brought together close to 300 people.

Tumuaki (principal) Merita Waitoa-Paki says now the fight's over, the work still isn't over to nurture the language not just in the kura (school) but also in the home.

She says the whanau now have to get on board and demonstrate their commitment by backing up their children's learning in the classroom at home.

Mrs Waitoa-Paki says she challenges parents to make their homes reo Maori-only environments.

She says the school has a strategy to ensure that happens and the kura will be the foundation to keep the language alive for the future generations.

Mrs Waitoa-Paki says whanau are just starting to realise now what empowerment they have by having a kura kaupapa.