Te Kura Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Orini has recently welcomed their new principal, Taiarahia Melbourne after relocating to the Whakatāne beachside settlement of Coastlands.
Melbourne's arrival follows last year's objections from the community about the school's relocation.
He says the issue is now behind them. “We have done the hard yards, the dust has settled, now the community is slowly accepting that we are here,” says Melbourne.
Since relocating, the school's roll has increased from 40 to 60.
Melbourne says should the community have any concerns he invites them to come and see him at the school. “The main thing is to develop a relationship that is not racially-based, but one that recognises the value of children and brotherhood, so that we continue to embody the values intended under the Treaty of Waitangi.”
Melbourne has over ten years’ experience working as a teacher in Māori-medium schooling at the secondary level.
A past teacher at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Kawakawa Mai Tawhiti, he hopes to build on the concepts within the school- including their unique tribal identity.
“We are looking at their ancestors who supported the faith of the raising hand which is the faith of this area. What I will be doing is planning on how we can achieve that”.