School calls hui to discuss name change

Te Awamutu’s Pekerau Primary School will hold a public hui next Thursday – October 21 – in a bid to correct its name.

With the support of staff, the school Board and mana whenua, new principal Tania Bagley is keen to get the name changed from Pekerau to Pekapekarau School.

She says the original name of the area was understood to be Pekapekarau, meaning an area with hundreds of bats.

The spelling Pekerau is deemed to be incorrect, she said. The word was likely a shortened version of Pekapekarau and should have been spelled ‘Pekarau’.

Tania, who took over the school’s leadership in July, said at some stage the name was shortened, and then mis-spelled.

“Getting the name corrected is one of the bigger issues coming up for our Board. It has been talked about for a while, then was parked for some reason. I’d like to see it sorted out, and I fully support the Board members in their efforts to do that.”

Board chair Erinna Lane said it was not entirely clear who originally raised the topic.  “But when it came to light that the name was spelled [sic] incorrectly, conversations were held within our community.

There was some korero and it was determined that if the name was wrong, it needed to be corrected. We believe the time is right to do that.”

The public hui will be held at the school starting at 6pm.

The idea, said Erinna, is to inform, update and include the kura whānau in progress around the name change.  “We just want to bring voices together… to provide an opportunity for any other korero that might come from it.”

Another member of the Board, Maia Stockman, said they were ‘blessed’ to have the support of the senior school leadership and wider school community on the issue.

“Depending on the Covid level changes, we may have to hold the hui by Zoom – but information on that will be on our school Facebook page,” she said. “Whatever happens, the hui will be going ahead.”

Tania said the hui would provide an opportunity for questions and discussions. “At the end of the day, it is about making something right.”

Although new in the role of principal, Tania has taught at Pekerau School for a while and spent some time as acting principal.  She is positive about the school’s future and said there is room to grow from the current roll of 236.

“We have moved into a new positive phase, one of stable leadership. I am familiar with what Pekerau is about and am passionate about the school.  Our rates of achievement are high.  I’m committed to Pekerau’s future, to showing our community how amazing we are.  My door is open and we welcome new families exploring options for their child’s education.”

In September, the school made the news with a Zoom video on lockdown bloopers created by Pekerau students Theodore, 9, and Lachie Lane, 11.

Their fun-filled video made it to TVNZ’s Kea Kids News.

Upcoming events, Covid-willing, include Grandparent’s Day on October 22, and the re-scheduled Colour Run on October 29.

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