Cultural Narrative

Taonga tuku iho nā ngā tupuna: A cultural heritage from our ancestors.

The Sumner School Cultural Narrative was created in response to the property development work undertaken at the school as part of the Christchurch Education Renewal Plan. This property work gave the school an opportunity to consider how the cultural narrative of the Sumner area could be woven into the naming and colour choices for the buildings thus maintaining an important cultural link to our Māori tuku iho (heritage).

The Cultural Narrative was written by a group of Years 1-8 students in consultation with mana whenua following a school-wide inquiry about Tūrangawaewae (the place on which we stand). It recognises the importance Sumner (Ōhikaparuparu) had to Māori as a place to gather kaimoana (seafood).

Ōhikaparuparu is the name for the coastal area that the Sumner township sits on. A loose translation of the name is ‘place where you may fall in the mud’. The name is a warning to people that despite the variety of resources and abundance of flora and fauna in the area, if one was not constantly alert and aware of their surroundings, particularly the tides, they could get stuck in the mudflats.

The four learning hubs, Rapanui, Tuawera, Te Onepoto and Awaroa get their names from the four key landmarks that were used by Māori to identify different areas for gathering kaimoana. Rapanui (Years 0-2) was the entrance point to the fishing grounds and as such is the starting point for our ākonga (learners) as they enter our school.

As our ākonga navigate their way through the school they are guided through the landmarks of Tuawera (Years 3&4), Te Onepoto (Years 5&6) and conclude their journey at Awaroa (Years 7&8) the highest of the landmarks where they can look out on the wider world just as Māori have done for generations.