New school name steeped in history

Pictured: the map drawn by H.K. Taiaroa in 1880 which detailed many of the names for the region that are in use today

The name for the new primary school was announced yesterday after months of deliberation and consultation; Te Kura O Take Kārara. ‘Te Kura O’ means ‘The school of’, so the name is therefore simply Te Kura O Take Kārara (not Te Kura O Take Kārara Primary School).

Take Kārara is a historic name for a location that is very close to the site of the new school in the Three Parks development adjacent to the Wanaka Recreation Centre. The recent Ngāi Tahu atlas, Kā Huru Manu, describes Take Kārara as a kāinga nohoanga, or settlement, at the southern end of Lake Wanaka. During the 1879 Smith-Nairn Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Ngāi Tahu land claims, Take Kārara was described as a kāinga mahinga kai, or food gathering site, where pora, mahetau, tuna (or eels) and weka were gathered.

The site is clearly shown on the famous map drawn by H.K. Taiaroa in 1880 which detailed many of the names for the region that are in use today.

The Board’s Chair, Dr Ian Hall, said “Many schools choose to use both English and Te Reo, but the advice from Ngāi Tahu, and our preference is to use simply the Te Reo.”

Dr Hall said that the name had been chosen after extensive discussions with Ngāi Tahu and following consideration of alternative names. “The new school will serve a wide region of the Upper Clutha basin, and we are delighted that Ngāi Tahu has gifted a name that has such important and historic links to the region,” said Dr Hall.

“We feel privileged to use this treasured name for our new school,” Dr Hall said. “We look forward to working closely further with Ngāi Tahu as the school develops.”

The name has had mixed reactions from the public. Positive feedback included; “Nice one. Beats Wanaka South;” “Great name!!! Got to be proud of our Maori language and start learning it somewhere. Great practice for us all!!!!;” “We should all practice saying it so it rolls off the tongue easily. I suspect the students will shorten it on their own;” and “love it”.

“It’s just one syllable longer than South Wanaka Primary School but people wouldn’t describe that as a mouthful. It will become easy to say as people get used to it. Great idea and thank you Ngāi Tahu.”

But there was a small amount of negative feedback; “I need to go back to school to learn how to pronounce this;” ”Would it not be preferable to have a name that is easy to say? This is quite a mouthful;” “I think the new school name is impossible to say at first glance, but I also wasn't raised learning Maori from a young age,” and; “Hate it what a mouthful”.

Some questioned how five-year-olds will learn to say it but those linguistic challenges are precisely what the Establishment Board of Trustees are keen to nurture. Dr Hall welcomes the pronunciation challenge and says, “we're keen to encourage the use of Te Reo.”

Whether the full name is used or an abbreviated vernacular format is yet to be known. Mt Aspiring College is referred to as MAC, both verbally and in text. Take Kārara will develop its own culture and personality and any affectionate abbreviation could reveal itself in due course. The Wanaka Sun asked Ngai Tahu what abbreviations would be acceptable but did not receive a reply at time of going to print.


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