One of Northland's smallest and most isolated schools has won a national competition which will see it fitted out with $10,000 worth of new technology.
Te Kura O Hata Maria, a school of about 40 pupils in Pawarenga, North Hokianga, won the inaugural HP Rural Schools competition run in conjunction with Rural Women New Zealand.
To enter, schools had to explain why they needed a technology boost and how it would benefit the students. More than 60 primary schools entered nationwide for a share of the $20,000 of HP products and services up for grabs. Five schools were singled out by the judges, but Te Kura O Hata Maria won the biggest chunk - $10,000 - of the prize. Members of the judging panel, including a representative of Rural Women NZ, travelled to the Far North in September to visit the far-flung school. They interviewed principal Maraea Herbert-Pickering and met the students to get an understanding of the school's technology needs.
Mrs Herbert-Pickering said the school was thrilled to win.
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"We're a small school with limited resources so having new technology will make a huge difference to the digital literacy of our students."
Mrs Herbert-Pickering and HP are now working to choose the technology the school will receive and train teachers on how to use it effectively in the classroom.
HP category manager Victoria Mahan said the competition gave the company real insight into the need for technology in rural schools.
"It was humbling to see the effort schools made to enter the competition and to see the real need for technology in rural schools. Every school deserves access to technology to inspire students and support teachers," she said. Te Kura O Hata Maria is a state-integrated, Year 1-8 Catholic primary school. Its roll is 100 per cent Maori. The other winners were Ruahine, Kopuarahi, Tuturumuri and Pokeno schools.