Hukarere kōhine back together for Term 3

Hukarere Girls’ College students and staff will start the new school term living together in a refurbished Havelock North hotel after nearly seven months apart.

The Te Aute Trust Board (TATB) bought the former Wine Country Motel in June and has since repurposed and refurbished the building to meet Ministry of Education hostel compliance regulations. The building is now a temporary wharenoho or hostel for up to 80 fulltime boarders and three staff.

While an interim learning hub has been set up at Taradale Anglican Church, the TATB says the school is close to securing a permanent site for a school in central Havelock North. The board  earlier stated it would not return to Eskdale after February’s Cyclone Gabrielle saw flooding and silt destroy Hukarere’s historic school and site.

After the flood, boarders returned to their homes and had been receiving teaching through online learning and in-person classes, where learning hubs were able to be established. Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa General Manager Archdeacon Maui Tangohau was pleased that students, staff and whanau were welcomed to their new wharenoho at a karakia and whakatau at the end of August. “After being at the kura in March and knowing some of the work going on behind the scenes, this is a wonderful milestone.”  The kōhine are the heart of the kura and they need to be housed together in a whare that is warm, safe and that can provide the best environment for them to excel.”

Hukarere Board of Trustees co-chair and Te Aute Trust Board member Joleen Perry said this was an occasion to celebrate despite the huge loss suffered and resulting challenges for the school and board. “We want to start term three with all of the kōhine back. We want to have them all working face-to-face, sister-to-sister with their kaiako and tuahine,” she said. Hukarere acting principal Caren Taana had also remained positive and focused on bringing the girls back together under one roof. This milestone is the result of combined commitment and effort of the Hukarere board and kura, the church, local iwi, government and the community.

About 60 Hukarere Girls’ College students are currently working at an interim learning site set up at Taradale Anglican Church. The school was thankful to All Saints’ Church for this interim learning hub. The board was able to create this learning space from funds given as part of the government allocation of more than $980,000 from the cyclone recovery fund.

Ms Perry said “we have received donations of gifts, uniforms and resources from the wider community and whanau throughout Aotearoa. “There are a lot of people to thank for their generosity and aroha but special mention goes to the St John’s College Trust Board, Te Pīhopatanga o Aoteraroa, Waiapu Diocese and Hukarere Old Girls Association and most importantly our staff, whanau and kōhine for keeping the faith and being the purpose for our future.”

“The journey is not over, we are on a path to rebuild with a purpose-built kura to provide world-class indigenous education for young mana wahine.”

Archbishop Don Tamihere thanked the school whānau for their perseverance through what has been an unprecedented period for the trust.

“We look forward to sharing the continued success of Hukarere Girls’ College with you,” he said.