Past pupils sheltered from the rain and wiped away tears as a rousing haka was performed outside of Parliament in an effort to save Turakina Maori Girls' College.

About 150 people, including past and present students of the boarding school, braved steady rain to protest the potential closure of the school, which has been open for 110 years.

The delegation presented a petition to Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox, who told them she was proud they had braved the rain, although it was a disgrace that they had not been allowed into Parliament.

"They don't know the strength that we have, that we have built over years, over centuries, and we will show them our strength today. And you have come, and you have shown them your strength.


"This kura has taught and flourished, has born great leaders...and you young ones are the future, and we need to keep your kura will take the collective effort of us all."

Through a loud-hailer, Year 13 students spoke about their experience at the school, including head girl Te Arihi Leaf, who credited the school with helping her education, to the extent she would study law at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) next year.

Students then performed a waiata, and, after being joined by old girls and a handful of primary school students, performed Ka panapana.

Originally the group was to be hosted by Ms Fox at a lunch inside Parliament, but the request was rejected by the Speaker of the House, David Carter.

That was because of rules preventing demonstrators from going into Parliament for 24 hours after a protest.

Ms Fox said there had been some confusion with the original request to the Speaker's office which described it as a protest and led to her own request to host the delegation being declined.

National MP for Rangitikei Ian McKelvie has opposed the closure of the school.

In August, Education Minister Hekia Parta said "with a heavy heart" she was initiating consultation over the future of the school, which ends tomorrow.


That was because of ongoing financial and governance issues, as well as a declining roll, had provided a situation that was "potentially detrimental" to the students' education.

A Ministry of Education report recommending the consultation was signed off by Ms Parata with the handwritten note, "this is extremely sad, but after several years of decline there does not seem to be an avenue that has not been explored".

The state-integrated Presbyterian Maori school in Marton has seen its roll fall from 152 in 2003 to about 54 this year.

Its proprietor, the Turakina Maori Girls' College Trust Board, is in significant financial difficulty, and the Ministry has had to intervene and appoint a limited statutory manager (LSM), who has been in place since 2012.

A report from the LSM in May identified "low staff morale, low trust and a high-blame culture".

The trust board has not been able to provide audited accounts for 2012 and 2013, and appeared to have been running at a loss for some time, the Ministry stated in its report to Ms Parata in July.

The board's draft financial statements for the year to December 31, 2014 reported an operating loss of $288,976. The Ministry said this financial position meant sufficient work on school property could not be carried out.