About Us

Mō mātou - About us

Arowhenua Māori School is situated at 33 Huirapa Street on the Arowhenua Pa, 5 minutes south of Temuka and 15 minutes from Timaru. Free transport is available from Temuka, Pleasant Point and Timaru and other areas by arrangement.

We are a full primary school (year1-8) that provides opportunities for students of all ethnic groups to learn in a 21st century environment that encourages high achievement while fostering and valuing relationships that lead to a sense of belonging and a desire to achieve personal excellence.

We provide quality educational experiences in both English and Te Reo Māori with a strong focus on literacy, numeracy, the teaching of Te Reo Māori that fully integrates modern e-learning, including ipads, laptops and interactive white board technologies.

Our innovative curriculum programme is based on the New Zealand Curriculum and is strongly focussed on meeting the individual needs of our students. The school curriculum reflects the Māori cultural values of the school and the nature of our students and our community. A strong focus on place based education connecting people, place and whenua.

Formal music lessons are offered across the school including whole school ukulele lessons, incredible outdoor education opportunities and formal swimming lessons are also a feature of our curriculum.

Through The Temuka Sports Group we are able to provide a high quality physical education programme delivered by experienced sports coaches, that encourage both competition and cooperation.

Our year 7-8 programme includes weekly technology lessons at in the exceptional modern learning environment at the Timaru Technology Centre. This centre is purpose built for year 7-8 technology needs. Students in year 7-8 also have opportunities to be involved in exceptional leadership programmes including the nationally acclaimed William Pike Challenge Award. This programme focuses on citizenship and challenge.

A well supported transition programme from early childhood to year 9.

We provide exceptional learning opportunities that are further enhanced by our small classes and strong staff student relationships.

Our rural setting surrounded by farms, wetlands and rivers, just minutes from town and neighbouring Arowhenua Marae provides us with the advantages of being a small rural school with access to additional services, support and learning opportunities for our students. Our students truly have the best of both worlds!

Arowhenua Māori School is in the unique position of being the only original native school neighbouring a Marae left in the South Island. It is also the only primary school for more than 100 kms offering a bilingual education option. These unique characteristics are enhanced by the support of Te Runaka O Arowhenua. Our students contribute to and participate regularly in events at the Marae including weekly kapahaka practice. Opportunities for students to learn in and through tikanga Māori and te reo Māori are provided in a natural way at Arowhenua Māori School.

Hītori – History

Arowhenua Native School was opened on the 18th February 1895 by the Honourable Tame Parata M.P for Southern Māori. He named the new building, Tarahaoa, the ancient Māori name for Mount Peel. This building still stands in the south western corner of the school grounds.

It is recorded that the land for the original school was provided by Mrs J Kahu and that repeated representations had been made to the government of the time to secure a school for the community. The Native schools Act of the time required the community to provide considerably more support to establish a native school than those schools administered by the Education Department.

A new school was opened on the 8th June 1951 by the Honourable E.B. Corbett Minister of Māori affairs. The name Tarahaoa was then given to the new building ensuring that the old tradition would live on.

In 1969 the control of Native Schools was transferred to regional education departments. The community of Arowhenua did not support this change, it was their wish that the strong association and commitment of the local tangata whenua to establish and support the school and its original purpose was not forgotten. The word Native was replaced by the word Māori in the schools name and unlike the other native schools that were transferred at that time, a date of closure for Arowhenua is not recorded.

Consequently Arowhenua Māori School is considered by generations of supporters to be last Native School in New Zealand.

In 2001 Arowhenua Māori School provided a bilingual option and continues to honour the unique history and its relationship with Tarahaoa through the commitment to provide a quality education based on whanaungatanga and the connections between the people, place and the whenua through the principles of Toitū te Iwi, Toitū te Ao Tūroa, Toitū te Pae Tawhiti, Toitū te Rangatiratanga.