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Te Papatipu Matihiko – Culture and Digital Innovation

Nestled at the heart of Te Wairoa’s river sits Te Makaro, a digital learning space with a history as rich, deep and diverse as the waters that flow past their doors.

From Kōhanga to Pā Tuwatawata:

The space once served as a Kōhanga, a nesting site for Makaro, later becoming a Pā Tuwatawata, a fighting Pā. Adjacent to this was another Pā, Te Waihirere. There, the Makiekie stream flows into the Wairoa river, known for its connection to the waka Takitimu and now Takitmu marae. Further along the river stood another Pā, that of Pitiera Kopu.

A Place of Grounding and Growth:

Whilst the building was originally part of the Wairoa College Home Economics block in the 1960s, it found its way to where it sits now in 2007. Local Taiao advocate, Arna Galvan was the original purchaser and transformed the building into a fish n chip shop named ‘Ika’. Ika was then sold to local whānau Maurice & Tui Tipoki who named it ‘Tui’s Takeaways’. Finally evolving to the space we know it to be today.

This building has come full circle returning to its roots in Mātauranga. Though its uses and functions have varied drastically, its purpose as a place to whāngai haven’t, in the past this was Kai for the tinana – now, kai for the hinengaro and wairua! It has also become a space to build and strengthen relationships, where the love for learning is rekindled, and creativity and innovation are ignited.

The tale of Makaro:

Makaro, the native gull, once soared up and down the river, foraging for food and acting as messengers for the Pā. A far cry from their modern counterparts, known for their scavenging habits. Pā Karaitiana King bestowed the name “Te Makaro” upon the space, drawing parallels between ākonga (students) and baby Makaro, with the Kaiwhakahaere (Facilitators) taking on the role of Kairere (Pilots) responsible for guiding and teaching the young ones to fly.

Empowering Akonga:

At Te Makaro, the emphasis lies in empowering ākonga to be the narrators of their own pūrākau. Our Tuakiritanga programme serves as a starting point, giving them the tools to navigate their journey, much like the life jacket in the deepest part of the river – a symbol of reassurance that they can weather rough patches and emerge stronger, equipped with the right support and tools.

A Symbolic Journey:

From Kōhanga, a place to provide a warm learning environment, to Pā Tuwatawata, a place to offer protection and support for fostering a love for learning, Te Makaro stands as a testament to the dedication of its team. Together, they create opportunities to deepen connections to identity and enhance the inherent mana of each ākonga.

A Welcoming Haven:

At Te Makaro, no matter how far your journey takes you, you’re always welcome to return to share your journey. Our door is open for those in need, a place to strengthen, learn, and thrive. A true embodiment of the whakatauki “Anei mātou, ō pou whirinaki” – “We’re here, we’ll support you”.

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