Maori immersion unit reaches milestone

23:12, Dec 11 2012
Opononi Area School
CELEBRATING MAORI: A performance by the primary kapa haka group at Friday’s celebrations at Opononi Area School. The school is marking 25 years of te reo Maori immersion programmes.

The first Maori immersion unit in the South Hokianga celebrated its 25th year of teaching in te reo Maori on Friday.

Opononi Area School was showing its pride with a day of events for whanau, community members and former students.

Te Whanau Kotahi was established in 1987, becoming a full immersion programme a few years later.

Te Whanau Kotahi teacher Marcia Wikaira is a former student and has pride in many of her fellow graduates from the programme.

"We've gone on to do great things," she says.

"It's a whole culture. Our main philosophy incorporates all their families as well as their hapu their iwi and all the rest of it."

She says teaching in the immersion programme goes beyond the standard curriculum. And values is a core component.

"It really teaches them to be confident in themselves," Ms Wikaira says.

Gloria Smith, who in 1991 pushed for full immersion of Te Whanau Kotahi, was acknowledged on Friday as were a number of successful former students.

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