The Better Funding Heartland Tour, 2017
The Better Funding Heartland Tour took in regional towns all over New Zealand in one amazing campervan tour. On our trip, we got to hear some amazing stories from families and educators about what they're doing in their communities, as well as seeing the real-world impact of the last few years of funding decisions.
See our tour diaries below.
On the home stretch in Upper Hutt yesterday, with a warm welcome from two small rural schools, Pinehaven and Plateau. It’s been worth it to make these connections and build such a strong base. It continues now to the election – every signature on a postcard is a vote!
Ngā mihi Nui Ki Te haukainga o Parihaka.
On Saturday 10 June the Heartland Tour van went to Parihaka for the Puanga Kai Rau Festival.
Educator and Iwi spokesman Te Ahu Rei of Ngaruahinerangi (listen here) signed a postcard before heading down to the Maara.
On this video Te Ahu talks about the Crown’s apology and the the opportunity the people have in moving forward: education is vital for his people, he says. Te Ahu explains his journey in education and the need to be well resourced in our kura and kohanga reo.
The day before was the Puanga Haeata Ceremony, where over 1000 people gathered to hear the Crown apologise to the tupuna of Parihaka for events in 1881. A moving ceremony followed by the opening of the Puanga Festival.
Puanga Kai Rau is about getting ready for the new year and the new harvest. Te Ahi Kaa o Puanga, the fire was lit on Friday night and stayed lit during the whole festival.
The day started with breakfast and all day activities, including kidszone, weaving, gardening, guest speakers and a concert – Jean Hikaka in the green teeshirt setting up for the kidszone. We had many tamariki and parents coming in with plenty of support for our campaign. Ngā mihi Nui Ki Te haukainga o Parihaka.
The ending of the festival was with karakia and putting the fire out.
Whānau walking to the Maara for the closing ceremony.
Working at a small rural school can be very different from a larger urban one, says Wainuioru principal Karen Goodall. “… your costs are spread out among fewer kids, so there are things that just cost more per student — it means the kids miss out,” she said.
“You want things that enhance kids’ learning in school . . . when we go through the bills every month, I look at it all and there’s not much that is actually for kids’ learning.
“Most of it goes into just running the school. It’s just hard.”
Wainuioru principal Karen Goodall, and New Zealand Educational Institute staff Viv Nicol, Michelle Maguren, and Katrina Ford, Labour candidate Kieran McAnulty, and NZEI member Mike Meehan. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN
“A lot of people don’t realise how stretched the Early Childhood and Primary education sectors are due to chronic underfunding. However, this tour is getting the word out. And when we talk to people about the issues facing education, they are appalled at the way the Government has failed to fund schools.”
He shared the message via video: “Help us keep pressure on the Government to do what is right and invest in our children.”
Tūtira mai ngā Iwi for Better Funding for Better Learning – listen to the song here.
Levin East School staff performing it with the Horowhenua team – vice-president Rikki Shetterline was on board too.
Left to right Dylan Kiriona , Ricky Heihei, Puhiwahine Tibble (Horowhenua team), Zoe Kusabs, Joy MacArthur (Levin East School support staff worksite representative), Rikki Shetterline (principal and NZEI Te Riu Roa National Executive vice-president) Lauren Shurker ( Horowhenua secretary), George West ( chairman Horowhenua Branch), Jo Bly.
Front: Helen Hansen and Mandy Kysabs.
Labour candidate for Otaki Rob McCann signed the Every Child Is Worth It pledge with Levin support staff. “I’ve only spent one morning shadowing support staff in schools, but as a parent and the partner of a teacher they are absolutely vital. So let’s start paying these good people a living wage and recognise their amazing contribution to our education system.”
Rob came along to the high tea celebrating Support Staff Day at Western House in Levin.
“A Whanganui boy who was beaten daily, lived in a violent home most of his young life and suffers learning and behavioural difficulties has had his support teacher funding cut. And for Whanganui Intermediate School principal Charles Oliver that throws the thorny issue of school funding into sharp relief.”
Whanganui kindergarten general manager Trish Taylor-Pope: “Over the past three years the number of children with high needs in local kindergartens had risen dramatically. And we don’t have funding any longer … we’re scrimping and scraping just to get by. It’s unfair and very difficult.”