Heading into 2021 with a clear vision, and the embodiment of 20 years in the making, Casey Tapara, tumuaki of Te Aratika Academy, alongside her husband Darryl Tapara, pou whenua (development manager), are nourishing a dream to grow the future men of Ngāti Kahungunu alongside existing community kaitiaki, businesses and whānau alike.
Together with a supportive board of trustees and experienced staff, these young men have reached some significant milestones to date.
"Developing Men of Valour", a concept created in year one, has seen the taiohi of Te Aratika Academy take flight to countries such as France, Italy and Germany to pay homage to both the Pioneer and 28th Māori Battalion as well as embracing the beauty of Aotearoa in the unprecedented year of 2020, a humble reminder that there is "no place like home".
Te Aratika Academy collectively pursues academic excellence, life skills and careers.
Some of these young men are about to begin their university journey, follow their vocational pathway dreams or start employment.
Board chairwoman Ronnie Rochel says: "Casey and Darryl are passionate and caring leaders who strive to provide a learning environment that taiohi can call home."
The academy prides itself on working with their young people and their whānau to develop individualised learning plans that develop lifelong learners who are confident in who they are.
Learning at the academy is provided through an English and Māori medium environment that acknowledges and celebrates Māori and Pacific heritage.
Darryl Tapara says: "It's about providing a platform for change for our Developing Men of Valour – to be life ready and career ready."
The curriculum is based on Mātauranga Māori and focused on science, technology, engineering, arts and maths (STEAM) and a Hauora programme based on mana whenua, kaitiakitanga or the environment.
It includes participation in predominantly Māori sports including waka ama, mau rākau, and ki o rahi. The curriculum also provides business entrepreneurship, vocational pathway options. Students work towards completing their Level 2 Infrastructure Works Certificate.
The academy works closely with our Ngāti Kahungunu whānau.
Casey Tapara says: "It's important for our taiohi to connect and give back to their community through mahi tahi. To develop character and most importantly dare to dream … big!"
Te Aratika Academy is a designated character school based in Mangateretere for young men from Year 11-13 (15-18 years) who are passionate about providing positive change opportunities.
Te Aratika welcomes all new taiohi (students) interested in joining our 2021 roll. For more information please contact the academy via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 832 728.
■ Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takitini