Parents, children and teachers from the past decade came together last Friday to celebrate Auckland Point Kindergarten – Matangi Awhio’s 10-year milestone with shared cake, kai and waiata.
Among those celebrating were Joanie Wilson and Wendy Logan, who were instrumental in establishing the bi-cultural kindergarten in the city centre.
Joanie was the school’s first headteacher who had the vision for a kindergarten connected to Auckland Point School that had “true bicultural ways of being and doing”.
Joanie says they wanted to recognise and celebrate the kaupapa of the land by honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi in their holistic practises at Matangi Awhio.
Matangi Awhio is also the name of the maunga sheltering the school and a place of rich cultural significance to Nelson.
Māori presence in the area is said to date back as far as 850AD and the kāinga (village) was a Māori community for centuries in Nelson as well as a significant place of trade following European arrival.
Joanie says it was Wendy, the former chief executive of the Nelson Kindergarten Association, who allowed her “vison to fly”.
Wendy, who served 24-years as chief executive, was also instrumental in creating the Teen Parent Unit hosted by Auckland Point School since 2013.
The unit allows young mothers to further their education in a baby-friendly environment.
Wendy describes the success and bicultural nature of Matangi Awhio as “a wonderful thing”.
Current headteacher Helen Durbridge says they are “lucky over the 10 years to have grown into the community we have today”.