Fun and talkfest on cards at Maori training facility reunion

By Liz Wylie liz wylie@wanganuichronicle co nz

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A reunion this month for tutors and graduates of Rangahaua training promises fun and laughter, an amazing race and a few strolls down memory lane.

Over the years, Rangahaua, in the Tupoho Community Complex in Campbell St, has provided an array of programmes including Nga Puna Waihanga (local Maori artists and writers) which covered raranga (weaving), mahi whakairo (bone and wood carving), manaakitia (marae catering), Te Ranga Tu Kaha (sports programme) and Maori language programmes.

In 1989, when the Rangahaua Maori Department was part of Whanganui Polytechnic, it launched a ground-breaking course - Te Rangakura - to train bilingual/bicultural teachers.

Despite scepticism from bureaucrats, visionaries Sonny Mikaere, Henry Bennett and Willy Robinson designed a course from which seven students graduated at the end of 1992.

The next year, Te Rangakura received 180 enrolments, and eventually 18 satellite courses were established around New Zealand.

A Pasifika version has also run out of Rangahaua.

One of the first Te Rangakura graduates, Retihia Crib, said the reunion would bring everyone together and celebrate foresight and achievements over the years.

"Henry Bennett has passed on and it is important to acknowledge his work along with everyone who has been part of this mahi," she said.

The three-day reunion will begin on June 10 with a powhiri at Rangahaua Marae at 10.30am.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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