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Kāikoura becoming a 'go to' place for residents who want to learn

Te Hā o Mātauranga, Learning in Kaikōura has a dream – to make Kaikōura the 'go to' place for residents who want to learn. A place that will provide opportunities, make conversations about education happen and enable space for whānau to explore together how best to support their aspirations.

Post-earthquake Kaikōura laid the foundation for creating Te Hā o Matāuranga in response to the community's need for an education hub to support a culture of growth and learning for Kaikōura residents. 

The manager of Te Hā o Mātauranga, the trading arm of the Kaikōura Education Trust, Vicki Gulleford, says she wants the organisation to have a lasting impact on the community.

"There are so many gaps we can tuck into and fill. We have always been about education in whatever form that takes, whether it is learning how to preserve fruit, drive a car, or business administration. It is about learning – the core of what we do."

They provide a wide variety of programmes, including for at-risk young people, geographically and socially isolated, and disadvantaged residents of Kaikōura, with opportunities for lifelong learning. Rangatahi programmes include a youth development programme and Te Kura correspondence learning for disengaged youth, NEET programmes for at-risk youth, whānau advocacy, re-engagement with the local high school, girls' outdoor adventure activities, and youth parent education support. Their facility is also available for local hire to local community groups.

Vicki says, "We have been able to provide a learning support tutor to students that learn via Te Kura. We have a pre-trades programme that works with our young people and brings in whānau education advocates who work with whānau to develop the pathways their rangatahi need".

Vicki says that needing a driver's license is a significant barrier to empowering people to make a positive step forward.

"We have a driving coordinator to help people learn the theory for a learner license and book their practical. The number of people with a driver's license now is huge. It is so much better than in the past. It is inspiring to see that happen."

Vicki says they have the local community involved in many different ways. 

"Our work is community-led. We have proactively created spaces for the community to feed into what we do. Examples of this include our regular debrief sessions around our youth activities and more formal opportunities such as Inspiring Communities workshops that help spark local community development ideas," she says.

They work collaboratively across the community to provide the best support to rangatahi, individuals, and whānau. Partners include the local high school and Kaikōura Council, Te Runanga o Kaikōura, Te Kura, government agencies, and local community organisations.

They demonstrate a strong cultural competence, developing their Te Ao Māori approach and maintaining genuine and deepening engagement and collaboration with Māori at whānau, hapū, and runanga levels.

To get an idea of the success of Te Ha o Mātauranga, you only have to look at its growth over the last three years. Since 2020, they have almost doubled their reach in the community, from 950 to nearly 2500.

Leighton Evans, Rātā Foundation Chief Executive, says the organisation is actively working to remove barriers for at-risk and disengaged young people by providing pathways to education and employment, coupled with positive youth development that helps rangatahi to develop their sense of identity, self-belief, and wellbeing.

"Their community and whānau-based approach supports systemic change for sustainable learning and community wellbeing outcomes."

Vicki says that the backing and support provided by Rātā enable everything else to happen.

"For me, it is all about the people, our community, and seeing people achieve dreams and success and make a go of something."

The Learn funding focus area supports Te Ha o Mātauranga.

Te Hā o Mātauranga, Learning in Kaikōura has a dream – to make Kaikōura the 'go to' place for residents who want to learn.

Te Hā o Mātauranga, Learning in Kaikōura has a dream – to make Kaikōura the 'go to' place for residents who want to learn.