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Photo by Cheree Henderson

Whānau article

Whāea Joe Hunter —

Kia ora e te whānau, thank you so much for your support and involvement.

The pressure is on as our tauira mokopuna complete their academic goals for 2020 with junior and senior exams. Our Māori students continue to reach Excellence by learning together, planning to succeed and working hard.


 What a fantastic whānau whakangahau night we enjoyed with Wairua Pūhou sharing mahi and kai together! He mihi ki a koutou katoa, ngā kanohi kitea. We were honoured to have our whānau kaumātua, our former kaiako reo Māori Koro Pita Kara, Reverend Canon Whaea Maureen Cribb and Reverend Canon Nani Bella Morrell, with us. Wairua Pūhou looked and sounded stunning in an all too brief performance. Their voices were powerful, their presence and message was positive and uplifting. The entire front line of the kapa were our senior students, our Year 13 graduates who will leave us to continue on as young community leaders into further education and employment. Koro Pita Kara spoke of these taiohi as important leaders and warmly praised their diligence and the teaching and guidance of our kaiako, Matua Mac. This year has been difficult and our young people have had to show resilience and work hard to achieve their goals. The bonds of whakawhanaungatanga and artistic excellence that they have formed over the last few years will continue. Thank you again to our whānau, especially our tutors, for all your guidance and help this year. Tēnā koe e Pā, e Koro Pita mō āu kupu taupuhipuhi. It is you who gifted us with the whakataukī “Mā te matauraka ka tū teitei te tōtara”.


Our kapa haka students are to be commended for their efforts this year. Next year there are some big changes happening with opportunities for younger students to step up. We have many new Year 9 students who are keen to join the Wairua Pūhou whānau.

We are very excited to announce that the Ministry of Education has invited us to trial the new Achievement Standards in Māori Performing Arts in 2021. These new standards lead to the possibility in the future for Māori Performing Arts to be offered as a full subject course at OGHS.

We hope that you will take the chance to look at them tonight and give some feedback to the Ministry in this online survey which our senior Wairua Pūhou students have already completed. Latest updates


 Young Māori Achievers Awards were initiated by the late Tāua Alva Kapa who gave us the name “Wairua Pūhou”. We announced this year’s nominees as Lily Welsh and Annelies MacDuff at our Whānau Night. Sadly, due to Covid restrictions the usual ceremony involving schools from all over the rohe of Ōtākou could not be held. We have invited representatives of the Mana Pounamu committee to present these prestigious awards at our school prizegiving.


 Our Māori Student Council celebrated with a shared kai for their final meeting for 2020. Thanks to Rachel O’Kane for her delicious kumara and date cake. This recipe came from her Mum Marion who has been studying with Te Wānanga o Aotearoa this year. The recipes came in the free course resources. Marion recommends the tikanga course at Study at Home | Online Courses & Distance Learning NZ | TWOA


This year, the senior reo class (Year 12 and 13 students) have all achieved Excellence in their internal assessments for NCEA. All Year 11 students who completed their assessments have also achieved Excellence. The other students now have the opportunity to focus on completing their assessments as it is important that all who learn te reo achieve their personal best. Congratulations to our Otago Boys’ students who have attended our reo classes this year. Joshua Brunt of Year 12 and Nathaniel Williams of Year 11 were our top male students for 2020.

Our Year 13 tāne have been focused on mau rākau and we are very proud of their learning and increased contribution to kapa haka as a result.

Our tēina classes have been working very hard with Matua Mac on having fun together and speaking te reo. Māori is becoming increasingly popular and we have lots of new students for 202, with record numbers carrying on into the senior school. We wish everybody the best with the upcoming examinations: “Do the mahi, get the treats; karawhiua, e hoa mā!”


 Paul Tapsell and Merata Kawharu from our whānau will be doing a survey on with our rakatahi Māori. We are very keen for staff and whānau to meet with Merata and Paul to hear about some of their work and to share your ideas with them too.

"At the beginning of last year, we received funding for three years from the Royal Society’s ‘Marsden Fund’ to undertake research on the connections that our young people have with ancestral marae. We are getting in touch with schools throughout NZ about the project.

The basic idea behind the project is that if most Māori live away from their ancestral marae, we wonder how young Māori remain connected to their marae. Some may be connected, some may not be. Then on the other side, home marae are increasingly looking to remain connected to their dispersed community. "


Due to Covid restrictions, our well known annual noho marae was unable to be held. This is where we take every one of our Year 10 Social Studies students to stay overnight at Puketeraki Marae at Karitāne. Instead, we are once again being hosted by mana whenua for a day visit out there on Thursday 12 November. Our students and staff will be welcomed on, then take part in different workshops and activities through the Learning Outside the Classroom where some of our whānau are tutors, along with their coordinator, Rauhina Sctt-Fyfe, a former reo Māori student of OGHS. As always we love to have whānau accompany us. If you would like to come out with us, please email joe.hunter@otagogirls.school.nz or message me on 027 222 1073.


We have an OGHS Māori Facebook page where we often share reo tips, memes and “what’s on” around Ōtepoti and the motu. Feel free to join us, contribute any gems, or just take a look. It’s a handy place to message us too.


Nāu te rourou, nāku te rourou, ka ora ai te iwi

With your food basket and my food basket the people will thrive.

This whakataukī talks to community, to collaboration and a strengths-based approach. It acknowledges that everybody has something to offer, a piece of the puzzle, and by working together we can all flourish.

Mā whero, mā pango ka oti ai te mahi With red and black the work will be complete.

This whakatauki is similar to ‘Nāu te rourou’ in that it refers to working together, however it talks more directly to the need for collaboration. Traditionally ‘whero’ signifies chiefs/leaders and ‘pango’ the community/workers. It acknowledges the need for both to work together in order to complete the work. - Te Reo resources

Noho ora mai whānau and thanks very much for your support.

Nāku,nā Joe Hunter

Kaiārahi Ākonga Māori

Te Kura Kōhine o Ōtākou



“Pānui for everyone affiliated to Kāti Huirapa ki Puketeraki: Be part of the conversation around Hauora/Wellbeing as we begin the process of developing a Hauora Strategy for our marae.Don't miss out on this opportunity to have your whakaaro heard, e te whānau!” https://forms.gle/WeHxRRET9Y7g1DWu7 See the "OGHS Maori" facebook page for more information.