Whitireia and WelTec | Te Pūkenga join Ngāti Toa for dawn commemoration of Te Tiriti

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To commemorate the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi by Ngāti Toa Rangatira a group of representatives from across the community gathered at dawn on Whitireia maunga in Porirua.

Dr Te Taku Parai Kaunihera Kaumatua o Ngāti Toa Rangatira opened proceedings with a karakia followed by kōrero from Callum Katene (Board Chair) and Helmut Modlik (CEO). Paora Ammunson and Mark Oldershaw from Te Pūkenga also shared thoughts with the group.

Kōrero centered around the themes of legacy, new beginnings and enduring partnerships.

Among those attending on the day was Olivia Hall, executive co-director of region three at Te Pūkenga, representatives from Ngāti Toa, Whitireia, central and local Government, local secondary schools, the National Council of Women, and Ngā Pirihimana o Aotearoa (New Zealand Police).

“Ngāti Toa Rangatira and Whitireia have had a long-standing relationship which will endure as we enter this new era of Te Pūkenga,” said Mark Oldershaw, Executive Director of region three at Te Pūkenga.

“Relationships with iwi partners, employers, industry, and communities, are an integral part of delivering vocational education that meets the needs of learners in the Wellington region. These relationships, and the mahi we achieve together, will continue - strengthened by our priority to supporting successful outcomes for learners, particularly ākonga Māori, whānau and communities.

“Ngāti Toa Rangatira has always had a strong influence on our educational strategy and this will not change.”

“Ngāti Toa believes in the power of education to transform lives and leave a positive legacy and we look forward to continuing to collaborate with Mark and Te Pūkenga,” said Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira Tumu Whakarae (CEO), Helmut Modlik. “Supporting ākonga is part of our vision to enhance the wellbeing, prosperity and mana of our people which will inevitably support other communities in our rohe.”

The story of Whitireia maunga

Whitireia may not be considered a mountain when compared to Taranaki or Ruapehu however, in terms of a strategic vantage point it was as lofty as any of the maunga in Aotearoa. From the peak of Whitireia you could see to the Kapiti Coast, along Wellington’s west coast and across Raukawa Moana (Cook Strait) to the South Island. It was an ideal trading post while also allowing any potential threats to be seen.

There is evidence of historic gardens along the north terraces of Whitireia that once grew kūmara.

Whitireia is notable for the 1877 court case taken by Wī Parata Te Kākākura vs The Bishop of Wellington, Octavius Hadfield. Wī Parata sought the return of the land at Whitireia which had been gifted to the Anglican Church for the sole purpose of building a school. The gifting of this land was based on the promise a school would be built for Ngāti Toa children. The school was never built and the land was retained by the crown.

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