About Us: The Taiātea Journey

Kia Takatū Tahi Tātou: The Establishment of Ngā Taiātea Wharekura.

In 1996, families associated with local Kura Kaupapa and Kaupapa Māori Immersion Units from around Waikato joined together to establish a Kaupapa Māori secondary school for their children (Year 9 to 13). This core group of families from throughout Tainui and beyond worked tirelessly to convince the government to commit to the establishment of a Kaupapa Māori Secondary School in Hamilton.

From 1996 this whānau submitted applications to the government to establish a Kaupapa Māori secondary school in Hamilton, and year after year these applications were rejected. Thanks to the persistence, commitment, and resilience of this whānau, the Labour government finally approved the establishment of a Wharekura (Kaupapa Maori Secondary School) in Hamilton in September, 2002. By the beginning of 2003, the first Board of Trustees was appointed, and the board worked closely with the Ministry of Educations to establish Ngā Taiatea Wharekura in Hamilton.

Setting the Foundations: Ngā Taiātea Wharekura opened in 2004, and after a successful ERO review in 2006, the whānau were led by the Board of Trustees to further clarify the vision for Ngā Taiātea Wharekura. The discussions regarding the vision for the Wharekura focused on the question, “when my child leaves Ngā Taiātea and therefore becomes a graduate, what attributes do I want him/her to have (possess)?”

The Wharekura surveyed the students, staff and whānau and a number of wānanga were held. After lots of discussion and data analysis, the whānau utilised the ILIS (Indigenous Leadership Interactive System) process to determine the attributes of the Ngā Taiātea Wharekura Graduate. Therefore in 2006 the whānau determined that the attributes of the Ngā Taiātea Graduate are that Manu Tāiko Taiātea (Graduates) will have:

  • The Core values of Mana Tangata (Respect for Themselves and Others), Whanaungatanga (Relationships), Kawenga (Responsibility) and Aroha (Love)
  • Very Strong Reo and Tikanga
  • Achieved Academically: Achieved to their full potential
  • A Strong Work Ethic
  • Be a Caring and Confident Person

Ngā Taiātea Strategic Plan (2007 - 2011): Our strategic plan for 2007 - 2009 set out the focus on the Ngā Taiātea graduate. The graduate has been our main focus as a school and systems have evolved to support and achieve this vision. After a swift review of the strategy, the whanau decided to include the core values of Tauutuutu (Reciprocity) and Pono (Integrity) into our values framework.

In 2010 and 2011 the Wharekura has operated focused on the Annual Plan which is an extension on the strategy that was set out in 2007. Over the years the Wharekura has achieved a number of things which include:

  • Academic Achievement is generally high compared to most schools including the vast majority of high decile mainstream schools.
  • Student retention is high especially when we look at the number of students who graduate in Year 13 (eg: 43 in 2018)
  • Regional and National honours in a range of areas including basketball, waka ama, manu kōrero (English and Māori), kapa haka, NCEA achievement statistics.
  • Thanks to the commitment of staff, and the dedication of students, more strength is developing in areas such as Tū Taua, Kaiora, Music, Dance, Self-Leadership, Science, History, English, Netball and Rugby.

Preparation for the 2012 - 2015 Strategic Plan: During 2011, Nga Taiatea undertook a major review which included significant input from students, staff, families, the wider Waikato community, as well as an independent research team. The purpose of the review was to carefully analyse our journey thus far and identify ways in which we can improve the quality of education for our young Maori students here at Nga Taiatea Wharekura. The result of this in depth analysis and strategic investigation and planning is the Nga Taiatea Wharekura 2012 - 2014 Strategic Plan.

Ngā Taiātea Wharekura Strategic Plan: 2012 - 2015: After seeking feedback from students, staff, families and the wider community, a series of meetings to develop our thinking, and visiting a range of local, national and international initiatives, Nga Taiatea developed our strategic plan based on the 2012 - 2015 Manu Taiko Taiatea (Nga Taiatea Graduate) model. This model emphasised a stronger focus on catering more to the passions and needs of students.  A key initiative included in this strategy are passion projects and compulsory internships for senior students in preparation for life beyond secondary school after graduation. Many students have been more informed about their pathway after Nga Taiatea due to this focus on stronger preparation for life beyond Nga Taiatea and there are many Nga Taiatea Graduate in universities, polytechnics and wananga throughout New Zealand.

Ngā Taiātea Wharekura Strategy 2016 - 2018: After consultation with students, Nga Taiatea graduates, staff, whanau, elders, iwi, and general community members, the strategy for the next phase of Nga Taiatea was developed.  This strategy emphasises the need for our students of being "ancestrally driven and future focused" (No Onamata te mauri. Kei Anamata te aronga!).  The foundation of Nga Taiatea focuses on this balance, while being able to support our students to "achieve their full potential (E PUTA ki TAIATEA).  PUTA is our strategic focus where all that we do aims to ensure that our students are;

P = Pukenga:  Future proofed with 21st Century Learning Capabilities

U - Uaratanga:  Moulded by our Core Cultural Values

T = Tukuihotanga: Confident in their Identity, Language and Culture as Tainui, and as Uri of other Iwi

A = Ara Whai Oranga: Purposeful in Learning and Life through Self Determined Pathways