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To our school community,

“Kua hinga he tōtara i te wao nui a Tane.”
A mighty tōtara has fallen.”

It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of one of our beloved teachers, Whaea Kaukura (Māmā Kau) Tepaki.

Māmā Kau is a long serving staff member who has worked at Western Springs/ Ngā Puna O Waiōrea (WSCW) since the beginning of 2003. She has held a range of roles at the school but is most well known for her contribution to netball and netball coaching, being the Pasifika Board representative for many, many years, the key driver of our annual Po Fiafia night and as our Head of Department for Gateway. Māmā Kau’s profile in the WSCW wider community and the Cook Islands Māori community is massive and her commitment to our students would see her here on many days during term breaks organising work placements for students and ensuring they had everything they needed to complete these successfully. Māmā Kau’s care and love for her students was evident in the way she ensured each of her ‘kids’ was pushed to achieve their best. She would often call them on their personal phones to encourage them to attend school so they could fulfill their end of the bargain for their work placements. She always demanded the utmost from them. Many ex-students were in touch with Māmā Kau for guidance, references and just a catch-up. She called them all ‘bubs’.

Māmā Kau has given endlessly to the school and to the wider community and we will miss her terribly, every single day. Her larger than life personality, endless positivity, beaming smile, and must do/can do/will do approach to all that she tackled here made her an absolute joy to work with. Māmā Kau used to say that she was blessed, but it is Māmā who blessed our WSCW community with her aroha & service.

As a school community, we offer our sincerest condolences to Māmā Kau’s immediate family, her son Matua Tetoki Tepaki (one of our media teachers and a TAK Whānau teacher), her niece Vaine Paniora (who works in our Learning Support Department), as well as her wider family and her many close friends at Springs/Waiōrea.

[UPDATED – Fri 12 Jul] – Māmā Kau will lie in state in Te Hōro (the old WSCW Hall). Viewings will be from Saturday 13th July, until Monday 15th July at 12 noon. All are welcome to come and pay their respects over this time. Contact details for any additional arrangements will be released through the family public notices.

Julie Debreceny
Acting Principal

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