Pohutukawa Villa - Bilingual Unit
Middle School West Auckland has a Te Reo Māori Bilingual Unit named Pohutukawa Villa, offering a comprehensive Te Reo Māori programme, as well as a tikanga and kaupapa Māori (protocol) based programme providing a rich offering for parents and caregivers who wish to incorporate Te Ao Māori into their child’s education. Pohutukawa Villa is located on Waipareira Avenue, in Henderson, and accommodates up to 60 students with class sizes limited to 15 students.
The villa is overseen by Middle School West Auckland Principal Alex Metzger and led by Academic Manager Mike Murray, from Ngāti Kuri iwi. Mike works with Community and School Liaison Manager Alex Hawea to support the learning of all the students of Pohutukawa.
Talking about the ethos of the unit, Mike said: “Pohutukawa Villa is based on the values of Tika, Pono and Aroha - all we do should be done correctly, with integrity and with love and compassion.
We are working towards having Te Reo Māori as the conversational language used within Pohutukawa Villa. Every student has a daily language lesson to assist with this and where possible we converse in Te Reo.
Our aim is also to provide opportunities for Māori knowledge and pedagogies to tie in with the project based curriculum used at Middle School West Auckland. We acknowledge that Kaupapa Māori can provide relevant and contextual pathways that lead to academic success.”
The villa is located in Henderson and has ample outdoor green space for students to enjoy the great outdoors, both in play and when tending to the school’s abundance of fruit trees and allotment. Fruit and vegetables grown on site are often picked, cooked and enjoyed by staff, students and Whanau.
Mike added: “Whanau are an integral part of the school and are welcome to join in with the academic morning or activity based afternoons. Developing a sense of partnership and togetherness in educating the students is important to us all.”
Although located on a separate site to Middle School West Auckland’s largest campus (Jack Ralston House) the students gather together once a fortnight for assembly and various sports and social events are arranged to ensure a feeling of belonging.