Background

The Kaikohekohe Educational Trust is a registered Charitable Trust based in the Kaikohe area of the mid north within Te Tai Tokerau (Northland).   New Zealand’s northern-most region, Te Tai Tokerau, covers a total land area of 1,394,100 hectares, from Mangawhai on the east coast to Kaipara Harbour on the west coast and north to the North Cape, marginally north of Cape Reinga.   The region covers three districts: Far North, Whangarei and Kaipara.   According to the 2006 Census, the Māori population in the region was 43,530 representing 7.7 percent of the total New Zealand Māori population.   The region is young with half the Māori population under the age of 23.4 years.

The Kaikohe area and surrounding districts has a low socio economic capability due to very low to nil employment opportunities available for people.   Many of our families are either reliant on government benefits as their sole income or in low paying labouring positions which at times are either seasonal or short term.   Some of them need to work more than one job to make ends meet resulting in huge stress upon families juggling child rearing responsibilities with the need to work and provide an income.   This is reflective of the low employment opportunities and is the current reality for many families within the Tai Tokerau region.   Here are some statistics for the Kaikohe area;

                    Population of around 4000

                    73.5% identify as being Maori

                    32.3% of our population is 15 years or younger

                    39.5% of our children come from single parent families

                    The median income is $17,900.00

                    55.4% have an annual income of $20,000 or less

                    Only 6.1% have an annual income of more than $50.000

                    40.8% of people aged 15 years and over have no formal qualifications

The Kaikohe area is geographically rural.   Much of the surrounding land around the township of Kaikohe is either utilised as farms or Māori shareholder land.   Many of the Māori families have lived in this region for generations however with the ‘struggle’ many of them are currently experiencing, there are extended family relatives who are returning home to live on family land.   With this influx, the pressure to find suitable housing or living accommodation, has become another issue families are dealing with.   The situation for families renting within the township while on very low incomes, brings its own complexities for families starting out with a further limiting of disposable income because of rent payments.   However what is common for all families is the increase in third world health issues from poor housing, overcrowding, poor nutrition, and stress.   An inevitable outcome of all of this is then poor educational outcomes and a loss of hope.

It should be noted that although our families are in this predicament of ‘struggle’, they are good, hardworking, caring, tenacious people who would do anything to support their children and genuinely want something better for them.  However their choices are limited and so this does not allow them the right of agency - the ability to make choice and take control of their lives.

The Kaikohekohe Education Trust

The Kaikohekohe Education Trust is a result of Ohaeawai School, Tautoro School and Kaikohe West School initially forming a Learning and Change Network.  The Kaikohekohe Educational Trust was formed in order to provide an entity to develop funds so we could achieve our goals.   Funds are initially needed to provide the equity for the lease of the Chromebooks that parents are paying off, professional development for teachers and parents, plus employ an administrator for the Lease Agreements and administrative requirements across the cluster. 

Forming the Kaikohekohe Educational Trust came about because of the above reasons plus:

        We are determined to provide the best learning opportunities for our students so they can be confident in the world beyond Kaikohe.

        We are otherwise isolated so a digital solution that is manageable for teachers and families is essential.

        We are into solutions not barriers.  If we keep on doing what we have always done our students will always get what they have always got.

        Students can (and do) learn from each other within their class and school and this broadens their horizon considerably.  This is important in a town like Kaikohe.

        Parents and families can be part of their child’s learning every day.  It will be like their desk coming home each day.  Parents actively involved in their child’s learning does make a big difference.

        Parents will be empowered and will therefore develop a positive attitude to education.

        This initiative is being driven by professional and passionate people who are committed to see this succeed long term.