E tipu, e rea
Grow, tender shoot

Nurture, work hard, thrive, flourish, go forward.

Use the tools available to shape a better future for yourself, for your whānau, and for your country.

The guiding words “E tipu, e rea” were handwritten by one of our country’s foremost educationalists, Sir Āpirana Ngata, in 1949 inside of the autograph book of a young Māori schoolgirl, Rangi Bennett. Her parents wanted her to be inspired to make the best of her life, and Sir Āpirana’s words are as relevant today for young Māori as they were then to young Rangi.

Our organisation, E Tipu e Rea, exists to support the delivery of better educational outcomes for at-risk young people, particularly those who have historically been poorly served by New Zealand’s generally very good state school system. 

Our Board of Directors and advisors comprise some of New Zealand’s most respected Māori and non-Māori educationalists, kaumātua, business and community leaders, and sporting greats.

Everybody knows someone for whom the traditional school system does not work.

A childhood friend or classmate. A child, mokopuna, or a member of your extended whānau. Or, perhaps, this was you.

If, for whatever reason, a child just doesn’t fit in at school, they will invariably drift and underachieve, or drop out and fall by the wayside.

Futures become limited, access to job opportunities are restricted, and once bright lights are steadily dimmed.

Families, communities and taxpayers are left counting the costs of lives that never reached their full potential.

Young Māori and Pasifika kids, in particular, are the most at risk. The statistics paint an often bleak picture for them as they enter adulthood without the tools necessary to get by or succeed.

One size does not fit all

We have a choice. We can watch these kids fall, or we can give them a hand up.

We can nurture them, encourage them and create opportunities ‘outside of the square’ so they can learn, find their vocation, lead fulfilling lives, and ultimately thrive.

And so Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua were established

In 2011, Partnerships Schools/Kura Hourua were introduced as an alternative to the mainstream, and to provide flexibility in teaching and learning.

These schools successfully use tailored, innovative approaches to engage students in core academic subjects – English, Maths and Science – as well as delivering technical skills and vocational training, alongside the basic New Zealand curriculum.  

Eleven schools progressively opened around the country, with state funding on a cashed-up per student basis exactly equivalent to a regular state school, though with much lower start-up funding. Businesses and iwi have supported and invested in them. They have given a fresh start to more than 1,500 young people, many of whom had ‘given up’ on regular schooling because they didn’t fit neatly or conveniently into the traditional box.

Despite resistance mainly from teacher unions (who don’t like flexibility, and would rather stick to a system that works best for their collective interests rather than the individual needs of students), the Partnership Schools / Kura Hourua model has worked well for the communities they serve. So much so that demand for new student enrolments has exceeded 20%, year on year average.

The decision to close Partnership Schools | Kura Hourua takes no account of the evidence of their success or the wishes of the school community

The Government’s decision to close Kura Hourua was made in the absence of any consultation and despite members of the Government initially standing staunchly opposed to closures at the last Election (and some, like Māori electorate MP & Labour Party deputy leader Kelvin Davis, promising to resign if closures took place).

The Education Amendment Bill, when passed into legislation, will block any new partnership schools from opening.

In the meantime, the Government is proceeding to terminate (at ‘the Minister’s convenience’) the contracts each school had entered into in good faith with the Crown, despite the schools delivering promising results. These contracts were for an initial term of six years. The first four schools opened in 2014, the newest opened in 2018.

Contract termination notices were issued to the schools even before the Education Select Committee has heard submissions on the bill to remove partnership schools from the Education Amendment Act 1984.

Breach of key Treaty of Waitangi principles

Six of the eleven existing Kura Hourua, and two of the Kura Hourua scheduled to open in 2019 are run by Māori education providers and have from 87% to 100% Maori students, all of whom are described by the Ministry of Education as ‘priority learners’, a group of students made up of Maori, Pasifika, and decile 1-3 students. This group of students is accorded ‘priority’ status due to their historic and inter-generational educational under-achievement. As Sir Toby Curtis explained to the Select Committee, ‘the state education system has been failing Maori for the last 178 years.’  

In closing Kura Hourua the Government is taking away the right of parents to choose a school outside the state system that is within their means and that best suits the needs of their ‘priority learner’ children. 

By denying the communities of these schools the right to prior consultation, the Crown has disregarded the underlying principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and ignored the rights of their Treaty partner.  

You can help

Visit a school

Make a visit to your nearest Partnership School / Kura Hourua to see the good work being done and to show them your support.

Get vocal on social

Share this campaign on social media using the buttons to the right and follow us for campaign updates.

Contact your local MP

Contact your local Member of Parliament to register your concern

Talk to the media

Let your local media know your views

Tell the right people

Talk to your trades or industry association, local business group, service club, employer, friends and neighbours about our campaign to stop the closure of partnership schools.

All of our young people deserve the opportunity to improve their lives through education and work skills training.  Every young New Zealander should be able to access schooling that best suits their particular needs. Every kid deserves a break, the chance to find their purpose, and to be a productive and educated member of society.

E tipu, e rea.

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