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Photo by Matt White

Year 9 Rāpaki Marae experience

Mr M White —

As part of the school wide Tūrangawaewae theme our Year 9 students visited Rāpaki Marae. One of our Māori student leaders, Amelia MacDonald 12NPNG reflects on the trip.

Each year, Burnside High School (Te Kura o Waimairi iri) introduces the new Year 9 students to the concept of Tūrangawaewae. By definition, Tūrangawaewae aims to create a sense of belonging, with the concept of ‘a place to stand’ being the main topic point. This focuses on learning about the students' whakapapa and the history of their land, Aotearoa. This also serves as a pathway to establish, acknowledge and embrace the students’ own identity. 

Students visited Rāpaki Marae over a period of five days (28th Feb - 5 March), to experience marae tikanga (cultural ways) and learn about the history of the Kāti Wheke hapū who are part of Ngāi Tahu iwi.  We also introduce the new students to our leaders and endeavour to form a tuakana - teina connection, which can be described as parallel to a relationship between older and younger siblings. The day itself includes a tour of the Rāpaki Marae, a discussion of the protocols and tikanga regarding the marae, and a talk regarding the history of the site and how it is relevant to the topic being taught at school. It concludes with a walk around the beautiful area of Rāpaki which is located near Lyttelton.