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STUDENTS at Te Wharekura o Maniapoto in
Oparure, have taken the opportunity to experi-
ence a whole new approach to learning.
With a recently established school garden
thriving, Te Wharekura o Maniapoto students
took part in the planning and building of a
pataka kai (small food storage house) to store
The pataka kai idea came about when teacher
Hohepa Hei was interested in changing the way
students were taught by incorporating a learning
project they would be more receptive to.
He approached Ngati Maniapoto wood carv-
ing and moko artist Mitch Hughes, who has chil-
dren at the school, and the pair set about making
the building of a pataka kai a reality.
Mr Hughes talked with kaiako (teachers)
about incorporating whakairo (carving) into the
project and allowing students to physically create
a pataka kai as opposed to it being “a sketched
design on a piece of paper to be filed away”.
He ran an eight-week programme during
which he taught several students about wood
carving before helping them create their own
pieces of carved art to be included in the pataka
Teacher Liane Green used mathematics with
the children to plan and design the pataka kai.
Altogether 25 students contributed to the
project through carving, science and mathemat-
ics, gaining credits towards traditional Maori kai
NCEA levels 1, 2, and 3.
“ The sole focus of this kaupapa (principle)
was to allow students to embrace their taonga
and celebrate the traditions of Ngati Maniapoto,”
says Mr Hei.
Building the pataka kai started in November
with students, parents and teachers all pitching
in, alongside local builders James Waretini and
Mr Hei says he is proud of the mahi (work) the
students did to create a pataka kai that is “used
every day as their tupuna (ancestors) would of ”.
Mr Hughes says the students were “awesome”
to work with.
“I think they’ve outdone themselves, especially
after only eight weeks – it was a pretty intense
Student Matawaiorangi Te Rire says the wood
carving classes were “the best thing about com-
ing to school”.
“It’s the first time I’ve done it, I’d like to do
more,” he says.
Te Wharekura o Maniapoto’s head students
for 2017 Antè Puletaha-Kingi (16) and Papa-
rauwhare Motuhinau (17) say they are looking
forward to being role models for their peers.
Principal Hirere Moana says a voting process,
which included students, the board of trustees,
staff and whanau was used to select the student
Deputy head students are Matawaiorangi Te
Rire (16) and Tangirau Papa (15), with Harihari
James-Brown (15) and Ariana Ruki-Joseph (17)
“ The students chosen all have strong leader-
ship skills and will develop more during the year,”
says Mrs Moana.
“ They all have different skills, including cul-
tural, academic and sporting that they can share
with their peers.
“I’m very confident they will represent the
Paparauwhare says it was “a bit of a shock”
finding out she was head girl at the school’s end-
of-year prizegiving, but she is looking forward to
stepping up to the role.
“My main goal is to be a good role model and
lead by example,” she says.
Antè says he is looking forward to helping his
peers perform to the best of their abilities.
“I want to set a good example for them,” he
He is well on his way, earning enough credits
to pass NCEA Level 3 last year despite only be-
ing in year 12.
“I want to go to Waikato University next year
and study engineering”.
build their own pataka
TE Wharekura o
head girl Tangirau
Papa a year 10 stu-
dent, (pictured right
with trophies from
her regional wins),
ceptional oratory (speaking) skills at the
National Manu Korero competition in
September. The Maori and English speak-
ing competition included teenagers from
throughout New Zealand.
Tangirau was first in Rawhiti Ihaka
(Junior Maori) and third equal in Te Turi
Kara (Junior English) categories.
She also won the Dame Whina Cooper
award for best junior female orator and
E Tipu E Rea for highest points in both
Maori and English. She says she is enthu-
siastic about public speaking and being
able to communicate is an important skill.
“In my te reo speech I spoke about the
land wars and how they affected what our
tupuna believed in. My English speech
was about striving for excellence and, that
it is attitude, not aptitude that determines
Principal Hirere Moana says: “It is the
first time a student from our local second-
ary schools has achieved these awards.
It is a huge achievement for a first time
participant at a national level.”
TE Wharekura o Maniapoto’s leadership team for 2017 comprises head students Paparauwhare
Motuhinau (left) and Anté Puletaha-Kingi, deputy head students Tangirau Papa and
Matawaiorangi Te Rire, and prefects Ariana Ruki-Joseph and Harihari James-Brown.
STAFF and students at Te Wharekura o Maniapoto, Matawaiorangi Te Rire (left), carving tutor Mitch Hughes, Anté Puletaha-Kiingi, principal
Hirere Moana, Hineauponamu Rotana Waretini, Tawhirirangi Thompson, Uira Wirepakio and Harihari James-Brown, have worked together to
create a pataka kai (small food storage house).
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