The achievements of our community and our whānau’s determination for over 25 years to develop an educational model that is relevant to their children have inspired our culturally responsive, critical, social justice, approach to learning and the curriculum.

Clover Park Middle School & Te Whānau o Tupuranga

Clover Park Middle School opened as an Intermediate School on 29 January 1980.

Te Whānau o Tupuranga was established, firstly as a “Taha Māori’ unit in 1986, and then as the Māori bilingual unit of Clover Park Middle School in 1988.  From 1990 parents of students in Te Whānau o Tupuranga began to agitate for the right to retain their children in the whānau for Forms 3 and 4. After many different arrangements, most not funded and not resourced, during which period older students did remain in Tupuranga, Clover Park gained approval in 1995 to open as a Form 1 to 4 (Years 7-10) Middle School. The change of status gave all students at Clover Park the right to remain at the school for their Year 7 to 10 years if they chose to do so.

Originally the open plan teaching spaces had been called Areas and simply numbered 1-4. In 1986 other Areas in the school followed Tupuranga’s lead and took on a name for the first time. Each reflected an ethnic group within the school.  Area 1 became Fonuamalu (Tongan – a safe shelter), Area 2 became Kimiora (Māori – seeking life or well-being) and Area 3 was named Lumana’i (Samoan – future). Lumana’i opened as a Samoan bilingual unit in 1992. Fonuamalu developed its Tongan bilingual programme in 2005 and Kimiora has been seen as the centre for Cook Islands Māori culture since 1994/5.   Kimiora also hosts Clover Park’s mainstream general programmes (i.e. not bilingual and for students from all other ethnic backgrounds).

In 1986 buildings had been added to the school and developed into a fifth teaching block (Area 5) and named Amataga (Samoan – beginning). In 1998 this block of buildings was refurbished as the school’s Kia Aroha Marae.

At the end of 2001 the board of trustees was approached again by Māori parents and a group of former students from Te Whānau o Tupuranga who wanted to return to the whānau. They sought continuity of the Māori learning environment they had not been able to find in their various senior secondary schools. Again the parent whānau fought for the right to develop a senior programme in Tupuranga that would cater for this need. Again, during the next three years, a group of older students did return and were educated through the goodwill of Tupuranga staff and the school with the only resourcing being some limited courses through the Correspondence School.

In 2004, after lengthy consultation with all of the school’s ethnic communities, the whānau applied for approval to establish Tupuranga as a “designated character” Year 7 to 13 school and after four years of struggle this was approved on 25 May 2005. Te Whānau o Tupuranga opened as the first Māori bilingual secondary school in the country on 7 February 2006.

From September 2005, through the establishment process, the schools were legally required to have two separate boards of trustees and an acting principal each. Following a further required period of consultation throughout 2006, the two boards won approval from the Minister of Education to combine. A combined board was duly elected and the first combined board meeting took place on 28 November 2006. At this meeting the board resolved to appoint one principal for both schools in keeping with the community’s preference and to ensure the two schools continued to work closely together as a whānau.

In October, 2007 work began on a complete restructuring of the schools’ campus with new buildings designed for Te Whānau o Tupuranga, refurbishment of the school marae and new administration buildings, library/information centre, technology rooms, auditorium, staff room, gymnasium, a Whānau Centre and a Pasifika Centre – all of which will be shared facilities with Clover Park.  The project was completed early in 2009. Refurbishment of the Clover Park teaching blocks was completed at the end of 2009.

The achievement of this dream and the development of a new, state-of-the-art campus is a significant achievement for the schools’ shared community and both schools are committed to working together, in continued partnership with families to provide innovation and excellence for our young people.

Kia Aroha College

In August 2007 the combined board was approached by a group of Pasifika parents of students in Clover Park Middle School.  They asked the board to seek ways to give their children the same access to bilingual continuity and the whānau learning environment through to Year 13 that Te Whānau o Tupuranga had achieved.  The board agreed to lodge an application seeking the Minister of Education’s approval to extend the range of year levels at Clover Park from Years 7 to 10, to Years 7 to 13.  After six months of consultation, and with 96% of both school communities’ signed support, this application was submitted in April, 2008.

In December 2009, this application in its initial form was declined.  An alternative application to achieve the same goal was suggested by the Minister of Education –to merge the two schools into one, but to retain the two distinct strands of bilingual education which already existed.

This was a major decision for our Board and community, however achieving the community’s wishes, in the face of strong opposition, was nothing new for our community as the history below will show.  The Board again consulted with the communities of both schools.  Signed survey responses were received from 312 families or individuals in total – 298 (95% of all responses), were in favour of the proposal.

In September, 2010, the Board was informed that the application to merge was approved.  The two schools, Te Whānau o Tupuranga and Clover Park Middle School, officially become Kia Aroha College on 28 January 2011.

The name, Kia Aroha (through love/caring), has some history itself.  It was the motto of Clover Park since the early 1980s and is the name given by kaumatua to our school marae in 2000 – so the name nicely takes a piece of both our schools forward into the future.

Within the Kia Aroha College structure  Te Whānau o Tupuranga  continues to be our Centre for Māori education.  The Clover Park Middle School name has been replaced with the name Fanau Pasifika – our Centre for Samoan, Tongan and Cook Islands education.  We are the only Year 7 to 13 state secondary school in Otara – or in Manukau – the only Māori and Pasifika bilingual secondary school in the country – and certainly the only school offering bilingual Pasifika education to senior level anywhere in New Zealand.

The decision to change the Clover Park name was also a difficult decision, however, we are no longer a separate middle school, and the name Clover Park doesn’t really capture what we do.  The Clover Park name has served us well and has put our community on the educational map in many ways.  It has shaped students’ lives, developed teachers’ careers, and been a place of many firsts – the first Māori bilingual programme at intermediate school level in 1986, the first middle school in New Zealand, when we broke the rules and kept our Year 9 and 10 students in 1990, the first Samoan and Tongan bilingual programmes at middle school level in 1992 and 2003, and the first mainstream school to make our students’ cultures the foundation of their learning.