Te Hā o Mātauranga – Learning in Kaikōura is a community hub. Local people people doing extraordinary things following the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.

Kaikōura is a small coastal town located on the east coast of the South Island – largely known for its whale watching and tourism economy. Te Hā o Mātauranga – Learning in Kaikōura , opened its doors in March 2017 only 3 months after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck the town the previous November.  Operating from what was once Kaikōura ’s museum building, the space has been transformed into a community collective with workshops and educational training.

Talking to Sarah Beardmore the Coordinator of Te Hā o Mātauranga,  it’s easy to see the enthusiasm and love the community have for their town.

“Our main ethos is to promote, enable and encourage learning opportunities within the community. With support of the JR McKenzie Trust, MBIE and the Lottery Hurunui Kaikōura  Marlborough earthquake relief fund we are building on exciting prospects, while recognising the impact the earthquake has had.”

One example is MBIE’s  Curious Mind Fund. “It enabled us to join with University of Canterbury to work with local youth who have become involved in the post earthquake science research that has brought so many scientists to Kaikōura  ” Sarah says SKIP has also been involved in funding positive activities for parents of 0 – 5 year olds – one of the activities,  a photovoice project designed to  share stories about sleep since the earthquake, will culminate in an exhibition in the anniversary week of the earthquake in November.

“But we want to look forward. So we’re running workshops to garner ideas and vision.  Megan Courtney and Kindra Douglas from Inspiring Communities’ ran two workshops here recently, helping the community to build on their existing strengths in a sustainable way.”

Community-led principles are also  scattered throughout Te Hā o Mātauranga’s approach to recovery and positive change.

Utilising existing strengths and assets

“The issues facing Kaikōura  existed pre-earthquake but they are just  greater now. The community Is turning a negative situation into something positive. By capitalising on the environment, using our contacts and our community’s strengths we have come together and enabled the community to move forward using tools like education. An afterschool programme for children run by a passionate local, to create crafts from recycled materials  has led to new ideas around adults creating items from recycled materials – hopefully for on-selling. Local experts have come forward to support learning – for example a primary school teacher has run reading afternoons for school children and another is running slam poetry workshops. “

Shared local visions drive change

The group and the  community as a whole are focusing on upskilling: promoting education across all age groups.  “So we encourage external providers to offer training in Kaikōura ,  but as well,  we support  locals to share their skills and ideas.”  Te Hā’s space has hosted a number of different educational training sessions from a partnership with He Toki, a Ngāi Tahu Māori trades training academy, who ran a 3 week course supporting people getting back into work, to a tertiary level business administration course run by ARA.

Many people, groups and sectors working together

Te Hā o Mātauranga is looking towards the next five years. The goal of the hub is for our Kaikōura  families to have the confidence and optimism to make the choices they want to. Sarah reinforced the important role Te Hā is now playing to “connect and enable  locals, local and central government agencies, philanthropists, businesses – basically anyone with a role to get us to that goal!

“By growing a culture of learning in Kaikōura  and promoting and enabling learning opportunities, we hope to give people the support they need to grow their skills, confidence and capability.”

For more information, see their Facebook page here.

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