Official blessing: Mike Rewi, of Ngai Tahu, and Hanley's Farm school chair Gigi Hollyer, on the site of the new school beside the Remarkables


A new Queenstown school’s been gifted an official te reo name from local iwi.

Ngai Tahu’s blessed the 600-pupil Hanley’s Farm school as ‘Te Kura Whakatipu O Kawarau’,
which it’ll be officially known as.

Te Kura means a place of learning and Whakatipu is ‘a place to grow and nurture’.

Kawarau is the Maori name of the Remarkables mountain range which the school sits beside.

School board chair Gigi Hollyer says as part of the school’s establishment process her team wanted to engage with local iwi and whanau around the facility’s vision and mission.

“There’s a school in Wanaka, Te Kura O Take Karara, and they were gifted a name by iwi.

‘‘So I did throw that into the conversation, ‘we would be so honoured to have one’, and it
came to be, which is awesome.”

Hollyer talked to local Ngai Tahu leader Darren Rewi about the history of the land the school sits on and thinks the new name’s relevant to its vision.

“Previously it has been used European-wise for farming, but prior to that with the iwi it was
actually a natural place to gather and for the tamariki [children] to learn and to distribute food.

“Our vision is to gather, learn and grow and it fitted in really well with both the European use of the land, and the Maori use of the land.”

Iwi rep, Darren Rewi’s son Mike, says it’s exciting to have an educational development in the district that embraces tikanga Maori — Maori culture, or worldview.

“That’s all we really want as an iwi in these partnerships, it to embrace the tikanga Maori, the Te Ao Maori space.

‘‘And for Gigi and her team to be real receptive and actually put the front foot forward to have that is good to see.

“It’s a good benchmark for future things to come, I think, in the region.”

Born and bred in Queenstown, Mike says there was very little embrace of tikanga Maori when he attended Wakatipu High a decade ago.

“Part of the role of the principal is going to be a lot about putting that tikanga Maori into the school … something I wish I had growing up here.”

The school’s in the design stage — all going to plan it’ll be finished and open for classes by 2022.