It's Karamū High School
Proper name for Karamū High School. Photo: Astrid Austin

Karamū High School has recently acknowledged the correct spelling of its name, with the inclusion of a tohutō (macron). 

A dawn karakia was held recently to unveil the new name. 

Principal Dionne Thomas says it has been an important journey to recognise the correct spelling.

“The journey started in 2022 when it came to my attention on several occasions that Karamu should in fact be Karamū. Therefore, at the very end of 2022 the Board of Trustees passed a resolution that I work with suitable parties around the use of a tohutō in Karamū.”

Those parties included whānau, school staff, the schools’ Pakeke (Matua Leon Harmer and Whaea Pene Hati), Kauwaka and Charles Ropitini (Pou Ahurea – Principal Advisor Relationship, Responsiveness and Heritage at the Hastings District Council).

“With overwhelming support, we progressed with the application to the Ministry of Education, and it was recently approved.”

Feedback about the change from whānau has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“I commend the leadership team and Board of Trustees of Karamū for showing leadership in this issue in making things right for our kura. It is right to show respect to mana whenua and the history of the whenua,” one said. 

Another said they were “so proud” of the school for making the correction. 

“Ka mau te wehi. Thank you. Respectful and correct te reo is fully supported.”

“Getting these things right is what helps us to move from tokenism to valuing our special language.” 

Mrs Thomas says they encourage everyone to use the new and correct spelling. The school has acknowledged concerns raised by whānau around possible costs with uniform changes, but assured whānau there will be no changes to uniforms for existing students.  

Charles Ropitini has continued his support of this journey with sharing his knowledge of the Karamū narrative with staff to strengthen the school’s localised curriculum around the Karamū area, the Makirikiri stream and the use of the Karamū plant (Coprosma Lucida).


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