Grant given for wharenui entrance

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Mataura Primary School has been given a $50,000 boost by the Coster Fund, to put in place a wharenui entrance.

The grant is subject to the receipt of quotes for the work involved.

The grant is one of four totalling $258,550 allocated from the fund’s latest round.

The entrance would be built on the west side of the Taha Maori room, school principal Susan Dennison said.

The room was rebuilt by the community after a fire destroyed it in the mid-1970s, she said.

The wharenui entrance would be used for formal welcomes as well as providing a dry place to leave footwear when entering the Taha Maori room, she said.

Next term the school would consult pupils and the community to gauge their expectations.

Visits would be made to similar projects to gather ideas, she said.

The school’s board of trustees would take charge of the project, finding out all information needed before involving a professional in the planning process.

“We’ve got lots of really creative people in the community. We want to tap into that resource,” Mrs Dennison said.

The room is a well-used asset.

Mrs Dennison said the optional Taha Maori class, held on Friday mornings, was extremely popular and had gone from strength to strength.

Almost 60 pupils were attending the class, which focused on language, kapa haka and art.

Taha Maori teacher Carol Hayes was assisted by Kerry Matahiki and Mel Sinclair.

All ethnicities embraced the class and many non-Maori pupils had chosen the option, Mrs Dennison said.

Miss Hayes said she was excited about the grant and the building of the wharenui entrance.

“I think that’s going to be an amazing opportunity for our school,” Miss Hayes said.

The entrance will include the installation of a new doorway in the west wall of the classroom.