A Rotorua school all about supporting young māmā has celebrated a fresh start and new name with the community.
Te Āhuru Mōwai Rotorua School for Young Parents, had its official opening at its new premises at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology yesterday.
The school had previously been at its Sunset Rd location for about 20 years.
Teacher in charge Anahera Katipa said there had been many stages to their kura moving to the Toi Ohomai premises.
"I'm really proud to be part of this school's 20-year history that was driven by dedicated people who wanted teen parents to access education and be successful in that space, to create future opportunities for themselves and their babies.
"The strength of the school remains, with our culture of care at its very core, and that was set by its foundation teacher Barbara Stewart who is also here today."
She said wrapped around the school was like-minded services that all strived to give the best to its kōhine, and they were grateful to all of them and the parts they played in the success of its students.
"So now we have another rich layer of support and connection thanks to Toi Ohomai. We are nestled into this tertiary setting, tucked in here in a really safe space opposite our childcare, it's wonderful."
She said they were especially grateful to Toi Ohomai for embracing them - "We've felt more than welcome from the very beginning."
She also thanked the Ministry of Education for investing in them with these two refurbished buildings.
"Our students really do deserve the best, I think we got it too."
She said the school's new name Te Āhuru Mōwai came from thoughtful community consultation that returned overwhelmingly positive support.
"Our young māmā are āhuru mōwai for their babies and the school is also their safe haven, we are their āhuru mōwai."
She said they would love to welcome more girls to their school - "I think for a lot of them it's a big step and the thought of school is daunting. It's a space for them."
Olivia Dhanjee, Toi Ohomai head of youth and community engagements, said Toi Ohomai was excited to welcome the school on to the campus.
"We know a lot of their graduates pathway into our programmes and it strengthens that relationship we have.
"We are really privileged and humbled by the fact they've picked to join our whānau here at Toi Ohomai."
Past student Kharma Verity was at the opening and said it was nice to see the new, refurbished buildings.
Verity said the support at the school was amazing, both from teachers and everyone the school brought in.
"It's cool seeing how much support there is in the school and the community."
Ngairo Baker, 16, is a new student who has been with the school for about three weeks.
She said she was excited to be there for the opening, and that the school was a great environment with great people and support.
"Everything about it feels comfortable."
Te Āhuru Mōwai is nationally noted as a Teen Parent Unit under the governance of Rotorua Girls' High School.
It accepts māmā under the age of 20 years, working with them to create an individual learning plan that will lead them down their chosen pathway - be it tertiary education, trades training or finding employment.
The school also has a strong social and non-academic program that allows its students to develop themselves and their parenting, and to have experiences they may not otherwise have.
In addition to all of this, it works hard to link up students with support services they may require at different stages of their journey with the school.