Go to National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa Go to Te Ao Hou homepage
No 3. (Summer 1953)
– 47 –

NEW HOPE FOR PUKEKOHE

Centre of the Latest development to improve Maori conditions in Pukekohe will be the new school opened earlier in the year. The school itself is one of the most modern of its type, and is well equipped to deal with the special problems of Maori children living in Pukekohe's market gardens.

It was a commendable decision of the Education Department to drop its principle of not building Maori and general schools just for once, for one cannot think of any better atmosphere for the children of Pukekohe to grow up in than this neat building, where their gentle and undisturbed preparation for their future life is possible.

Staffed by a European headmaster, his wife, and two Maori teachers, this school, like other Maori schools, aims at teaching hygiene, housecraft, and so forth, as well as Maori culture-in addition to the usual curriculum.

The education authorities have gone out of their way to make this school a Maori centre for adults also. The School Committee is manned by almost the same people as the local Tribal Committee. This committee has, with the help of the local Rotary movement, provided playing fields and basketball courts for the school. The school has gifted a quarter-acre of its grounds to the Tribal Committee for the building of a Maori community centre, which is almost as badly needed in Pukekohe as the school was. Another rather unusual facility which the school offered its committee was a quarter-acre set aside for cropping. The committee hopes to earn some money each year by cropping this area with free labour, and this should help in paying for the community centre and other projects.

When a Maori community starts seriously to save for a centre, that is generally an indication that its spirit is reviving. So it was here. The tribal committee has for the last year or so been a really active body. It was already a striking and unusual “Drink less and clean up” campaign to its credit, and the organising of sanitary facilities for the Maori population at the local hostel. Its chairman is Hiko Toa, and the secretary D. Pene.