U-turn on school's name

By Gary Hamilton-Irvine

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Murupara's new area school has changed its name after a wave of community pressure.

The establishment board of trustees has announced it will change the name of its school back to the original name, Murupara Area School, after briefly naming it Te Awatea O Murupara School.

The new school is to open next year.

The establishment board said the name change was a result of a week-long vote within the community, which included 194 votes.

They will be making a formal application to the Ministry of Education to change the name.

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced last December that Rangitahi College and Murupara Primary School would close and a new school would open on the primary school's site catering for Years 1 to 13.

The Government's decision to close and merge the schools was partly because of falling rolls.

Last month, the board said it had decided unanimously to call the school Te Awatea O Murupara.

After doing so, it received a petition from a concerned parent group organised by Rangi Anderson, who has a grandchild attending the new school.

He said parents and community members were not happy with how the name had been decided.

He said the establishment board had disregarded voting from the community, deciding on the name Te Awatea O Murupara School itself.

"We opposed the name because of the way it was proposed," Mr Anderson said.

"We got about 100 signatures, we would have got more but we did not have much notice."

Board chairman Jacob Te Kurapa said they had reacted to the community's response and were happy to change the name back to Murupara Area School after a vote.

"We have taken this as an extremely valuable lesson and have learned from this.

"We have tightened up on many of our processes and where we thought that we had followed our processes, we didn't get it right this time.

"But as I have said, from this experience we have built up community confidence."

The vote count was undertaken by two Justices of the Peace who do not have any connection to the new school and who lived outside Murupara.

"After consultation with the community through a vote, of which 194 people voted, it is with pleasure that I formally announce that Te Awatea O Murupara will now be known as Murupara Area School," Mr Kurapa said.

Murupara Area School, for Years 1-13, will open next month, with an expected roll of about 350.

- ROTORUA DAILY POST

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