History of Bilingual Unit
The Maori Bilingual Unit was set up in response to local community initiatives from kohanga reo parents, the Maraeroa Marae and local community who wanted to maintain the language learning of the children graduating from kohanga reo.
With the full support of the staff, school committee, parents from all ethnic groups represented in the school and Maraeroa Marae Kaumatua gained through discussion and informal hui the Natone community voiced it’s desire for a bilingual unit to be opened at the school at a public hui held at Tairangi School Hall. Representatives of the inspectorate and the Wellington Education Board were among the 50 people present at that meeting
The Wellington Education Board gave it’s approval for the opening of the bilingual unit , the first in the Porirua East area. The unit opened in 1986 with it’s first enrolments of children from Maraeroa Kohanga Reo.
The unit continued to develop and expand despite the inherent difficulties maintaining staff with fluency in Te Reo. From 1990-2003 the unit had three classes. In 1996 students from 18 kohanga were in the Graduates from Horouta, Nga Kawai, Te Toka Ahuru and Maraeroa Kohanga Reo contributed to the roll.
With the opening of Te Kura Maori o Porirua Maori enrolments steadily declined and from 2002 only one whanau bi-lingual class operated with students from Y4-6.
In 2009, after consultation with the community and staff, it was clearly necessary to continue to ensure kohanga reo graduates were catered for. From 2006 – 2010, the one bi-lingual class operated for students from Y1 – Y6.
At the beginning of 2010, two classes were re-established to cater for Y1-3 and Y4-6. The Whānau Māori of Natone Park School was successfully re-established.
After a lengthy consultation and application process Natone Park School was granted approval to retain our Year 7 students in 2012 and to retain both Year 7 and Year 8 students from 2013.
In 2016, the position was clarified, that the children who were already in Te Mana o Kupe Whānau would go right through to Year 8 to support and consolidate their acquisition of Te Reo Māori.
Children who were in General Stream would go to Year 6 only.
The current position in February 2018: With support from the Community, the whole school is now L3 Immersion Te Reo Māori. Our school is also open to our other Pasific Languages.