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In 1922, a sole teacher set up a scheme to teach children in the backblocks – remote farming districts and lighthouses – with only a vague idea about who her students would be, what level of schooling they were at, and of how she would communicate with them.
Janet MacKenzie was told that she would be teaching about 25 primary pupils. However, within a short time there were more than 100 eager young people on the roll, with applications continuing to pile up. By the end of the year, there were 347 students, the Minister of Education conceding in Parliament that another teacher was required.
We have come a very long way from 1922 when the Miss MacKenzie, started work in a small office at the then Department of Education, to 2022 where Te Kura is the largest school in the country with more than 26,000 enrolments this year alone. Te Kura is now a leader in online learning, and its work with vulnerable young people has been described as one of the great untold stories of the New Zealand education system.
By any standards, Te Kura has much to celebrate, with a remarkable history that has reflected social change and education innovation over 100 years.
Activities we have undertaken during the year have included the launch of our centenary website by the Associate Minister of Education, Jan Tinetti, the release of a stamp series marking our 100 years by NZ Post, and the publication of our centenary book, Going the Distance, with a foreword by the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.