The first community Te Hurihanganui wananga (learning opportunity) was held at Menzies College last week.
Te Hurihanganui is a programme designed to tackle racism and improve the education system to enhance the wellbeing of akonga Maori and their whanau.
The programme was launched at a hui in Gore in January.
Eleven preschools and schools from Mataura through to Gorge Road School near Invercargill are taking part in the initiative.
It is one of six that will run for three years throughout New Zealand and is funded by $42million set aside in the 2019 Budget.
The programme was developed by a group of matanga or education specialists.
Poutama Pounamu is rolling out the programme and its progress in the community will be evaluated by Te Werohau staff.
Te Werohau kai aromatawai/community evaluator Bex Brown said Poutama Pounamu staff had been working with teachers and senior Menzies College pupils throughout the year.
It was now time for the community to be involved.
There were 22 people who attended the wananga and represented both Maori and non-Maori in the community, as well as staff from participating schools.
“We engaged in activities that allowed us to gather the voice of those present, around different aspects of the kaupapa and to explore what a great education looks like in our rohe/district.”
The activities gave people an opportunity to share their ideas on the four levers of the kaupapa: whanau, iwi and community, leadership and governance, teaching and learning and curriculum and assessment.
“I feel the evening was a great success, and an amazing collaboration from a diverse community working to create equitable education experiences for all our tamariki and rangatahi,” Ms Brown said.
In one of the activities, group members took part in a quiz about Te Hurihanganui and the winners was presented with Te Hurihanganui Community Wananga trophy, which will be contested each time the wananga members meet.
“It was a fun way to get everyone engaged.”