The 118th kōhanga reo in the Ngāti Kahungunu kōhanga reo district opens in Heretaunga.

Te Kōhanga Reo o Te Puāwaitanga o Te Pito Mata, named by the revered language exponent Dr Sir Tīmoti Kāretu, is set to open its doors on Tuesday, June 4.

The 118th kōhanga reo to be opened within the Ngāti Kahungunu kōhanga reo district, this centre is situated at 904 Freyberg St, Raureka, Hastings.

This centre is the newest centre to be opened in Ngāti Kahungunu in recent times, alongside Te Kōhanga Reo o Tika Tonu at Matahiwi Marae and Te Kōhanga Reo o Mere Kārena at Flaxmere which were opened in 2016.

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The name means the blossoming of potential, which captures the ethos of the movement that was established back in 1982.

Te Kōhanga Reo o Te Puāwaitanga o Te Pito Mata looks forward to inviting new mokopuna and whānau to the movement.

This centre is a sister to the Mere Kārena centre in Flaxmere, opened in October 2016. It joins five other kōhanga reo in the Tautokotia purapura cluster.

Head kaiako Rowena Manihera is elated this centre is opening:

"This is a momentous occasion for Ngāti Kahungunu to welcome more mokopuna and whānau to the beautiful kaupapa that is kōhanga reo.

"Kōhanga reo has suffered greatly in recent times which was evident through the WAI2336 claim hearings. Despite these historical grievances, we continue to march forward ensuring that this movement continues to flourish despite the trials and tribulations we face daily."

Ngāti Kahungunu Iwi Inc gave supporting evidence at the WAI2336 claim hearing back in 2012, and implores the crown to resolve the grievances highlighted in the tribunal findings.

Kōhanga reo is the foundation for language revitalisation, and only through the redress of these historical discriminatory issues can the kaupapa once again soar as it did in its early days.

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Te Kōhanga Reo o Te Puāwaitanga o Te Pito Mata (904 Freyberg St, Raureka, Hastings) opens with a dawn blessing at 5.30am on Tuesday, June 4, followed by an open day.

The centre also welcomes any prospective whānau to visit the site and meet the staff from 8am to 1pm. This site caters for over-2s only.