Dedicated parents and alumni have given Matahui School a lifeline by raising funds to allow the independent primary school to stay open while a more permanent financial plan is put in place.
In Term 2 Matahui School, south of Katikati, revealed it was struggling to maintain financial viabilitybecause of low enrolment numbers after the Covid-19 lockdown and would have to close at the end of Term 3 unless financial assistance could be found urgently.
A parent/alumni working group reached out to parents, grandparents and alumni to help raise funds to cover an immediate shortfall after it was announced it was facing closure.
The group is now working to develop a plan to release funds for a long-term solution.
Principal Mary Woods says the school has a strong sense of community, which has been demonstrated in the remarkable response to this crisis from past and current parents.
"It's nothing short of amazing. We are so humbled by the response from our community and cannot thank all those who have contributed enough; be it financially, with their time, or through their kind words," says Woods.
"Common themes in some of the responses from parents and alumni is that Matahui has greatly contributed to the success of their children; how Matahui not only provides a more formal education but also teaches children empathy, social responsibility and kindness; and how the school provides an alternative approach for families whose children might struggle in the current educational environment."
The money raised will provide the students with stability until the end of Term 4, enabling them to continue learning in an environment where they feel safe.
Matahui School is a not-for-profit organisation and all fees received go into the running and operations of the school.
The school was started 32 years ago in response to one parent's concern about her child's wellbeing and education. Since then, Woods says the school is proud to have ex-students who have gone on to be Olympians, as well as head and deputy head students at college.
"Matahui School aims to provide learning that teaches in a way each student learns best; we place a strong emphasis on education outside the classroom with our forest school and many camps which help students develop resilience, problem-solving and leadership skills.
"Matahui is a place where children's cultural, emotional and individual strengths are fostered and valued," says Woods.