The Story of our Name

Māori history is a link for us from the past into the future and is the foundation of our nation, so when we knew we were going to open a new school here, we asked local Māori, Ngāti Tamaoho, to help us name the school. The Ngāti Tamaoho Trust have ‘gifted’ us the name Ngākōroa, after our local awa, making the school very special indeed.

Ngākōroa means ‘the long fingers’, the river was named this because it starts with small streams in the Pukewhau (Bombay) foothills – joining into a larger stream down in the valley, and arriving to the estuary, where our school is today, and finally to the sea.

So, why name our school after an awa? The Ngākōroa river was very important to early Māori as it provided food, rich soils for their gardens, materials to use for weaving and to build their homes and other buildings. It was also an important part of their transport system up, down and across the valley, and out through the estuary to the sea. The river provided a living space for plants that were used for medicine, and water for washing, cooking and drinking. It was used for recreation and sometimes special events. Early Māori also regarded the Ngākōroa as a source of knowledge, giving them a lot of information, knowledge and experiences that helped them in their daily lives.

Continuing to learn new things was essential to survive, and so people would share their knowledge and experiences with each other in the villages (papakāinga) along the Ngākōroa stream. Sharing knowledge and skills helped everyone to lead better lives. We love the idea that our school will again be a place where people can share ideas, knowledge and experiences, so that we can all be our best selves.

Ngākōroa is therefore a very appropriate name, as in many ways the school now will be like the river has been in the past; it provides the ‘life’, a place for living, learning and development, a place to learn the knowledge and skills you need for the future, to learn to care for yourself, others, and the lands and waters that are so important to us. It was from this understanding of our namesake, that our vision was decided upon:

Bringing Learning to Life
“Kawea te Mātauranga ki te Whaiao ki Te Ao Mārama”

In gifting us this name, Ngāti Tamaoho have asked that Ngākōroa’s students, staff and parent community be the caretakers of the school and its stream in the future.