Te Awamutu’s Pekerau School has taken its first step towards correcting its name to Pekapekarau School.
The decision to move towards a name change was given the green light at a hui held via zoom on October 21. The next step is to get Ministry of Education approval.
Correcting the name has been a topic of discussion within the school community for some time, based on the understanding that when the name was first recorded with the Ministry of Education, it was misspelt and then shortened.
Pekerau School Board of Trustees chair Erinna Lane said following a consultation process, the school community was invited to attend the hui where they heard stories from kaumatua and mana whenua of Ngāti Apakura which linked the school to the bats (pekapeka) from which its name is derived.
“The correction of our school name was put to a vote at the end of that hui where it received a unanimous vote of support,” Erinna said. “This correction is now waiting on the approval of the Ministry of Education and we will look forward to unveiling Pekapekarau as our rightful name at a date to be confirmed in 2022.”
The hui was facilitated by Waimihi Hotere and attended by Pekerau School principal Tania Bagley. Stories of pekapekarau were shared by Ngāti Apakura representatives Georgina Rewha, Tom Hemara-Wahanui, Maria Murray, Haupai Puke, and Hazel Wander. The history of the name correction discussion was shared by acting deputy principal Riss Randell and Board support was shared by Maia Stockman.
Principal Tania Bagley said the proposed name change would go to this month’s meeting of the Board and then move to the Ministry of Education.
“The Ministry is aware of our call to have the name changed … it’s awesome that the process has started. There are exciting times ahead.”