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 Warren Cook and led by Academic Manager Te Mete Lowman, from Te Arawa and Tainui iwi. Te Mete works with Community Liaison Managers Alex Hawea and Tamzin Cook to support the learning of all the students of Pohutukawa.
Talking about the ethos of the unit, Te Mete said: “Pohutukawa has adopted three overarching principles that are used daily to guide a student’s decision making and attitude towards their surroundings. Tika, Pono and Aroha are based on the idea of developing a person who can do the correct thing, for the correct reason, in the correct way.
We continue to work 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 the use of language transfer techniques are at the core of the language acquisition program.
As a staff we also strive to provide opportunities for Māori knowledge and pedagogies to be integrated into the project based curriculum used at Middle School West Auckland. We acknowledge that Kaupapa Māori views can provide relevant and contextual pathways that lead to academic success for Māori.”
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 whānau.
Te Mete added: “Whānau are an important part to the success of many students. Schools in general finding it challenging to consistently engage large numbers of whānau, and Pohutukawa is no exception. However we pride ourselves on inclusion and are open to having whānau join in with the academic morning or activity based afternoons.”
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.