I te tau 2004, te wā i whakahou ana i te Tūtohinga Kura, nā Evan Hippolite i tono atu ki Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal kia whakawhanakehia he whakataukī kura e whakamana ana i ngā mātāpono me ngā awhero o te whānau whānui mō tō mātou kura. Ka matapakihia e ngā māngai o Ngāti Toa nā wai rā a hua mai ko "He kura te tangata" hei whakataukī mō te kura. Nā tēnei wāhanga kōrero a Te Peehi e whakamārama i ngā kōrero tuku iho mō te whakataukī nei.
In 2004, while revising the Kura Charter and mission statement, Evan Hippolite from our Board of Trustees approached Te Ahukaramu Charles Royal about developing a whakatauki reflective of the kura principles and the concepts proposed. After discussion with other Ngāti Toa representatives, the whakataukī “He Kura te Tangata” was recommended and adopted. The extract below gives the history of this whakataukī.
In writing to Elsdon Best, Tāmati Ranapiri, a 19th century elder of Ngāti Raukawa, referred to the work of Whareaia, son of Kiripuai, a kuia of Ngāti Koata of Ngāti Toa Rangatira.
I te oranga o te tama a Kiripuai, he kura te tangata… te ritenga o tēnei whakataukī, mō te rangatira pai, atawhai i te iwi, whakahaere pai i te iwi, e kitea ana te ora o te iwi, me te pai i runga i te whakahaere a taua rangatira… e ora ana tōna iwi i ana whakahaere."Tāmati Ranapiri: letter to Elsdon Best
Owing to the existence and life work of Kiripuai’s son, the people are alive and prospering… this proverb refers to the excellent leader, one who cares for his/her people and administers their affairs with skill. One is able to see the people prosper under the leadership of this chief… the people prosper through his/her leadership and administration."Tāmati Ranapiri: letter to Elsdon Best
Another reference is also seen in the publication Te Wānanga September, 18, 1874:
E hoa tēnā koe, kua kite māua i tō pānuitanga. E hoa, aukaha te Waka, kia taru ora i te Waka. Tawharautia te whare kia maru, tirohia atu te mate rāua ko te ora. Koia rā tēnei, ko tō tātou kuaretanga ki te hanga ritenga mō tātou. I ngā rā o te tama a Kiripuai, he kura te tangata, waihoki me tēnei, i te mea e ora ana te whenua, e ora ana ngā mahara. Koia nei rā, e hoa kua taka nei hoki tātou ki te waha o te Parata. Ka tika, ka tika rā e hoa kia āta kimihia he oranga mō tātou, nā o tēnei iwi nā o te Māori. Nā, whakarongo mai e ngā Rangatira tai-tamariki o ia wāhi, me āta whiriwhiri he oranga mō tātou, kia kata rā tātou. Kīhai a te Karaiti i haere mai ki te hunga ora, engari ki te hunga e mate ana. Māu e uta atu ēnei wāhi kōrero, hei titiro mā ō tātou hoa Māori, Pākehā hoki i ngā wāhi katoa o tō tātou motu. HEPETEMA, 18, 1874.
 From a letter by Tāmati Ranapiri to Elsdon Best, Alexander Turnbull Library, MS Paper 1187-127.
Friend, salutation to you. We have seen your advertisement, do not press forward the canoe so that the canoe will live, build a house so that it will be dry, look at sickness and health. As to our ignorance of establishing laws for ourselves, in the day of the son of Kiripuai a person was a Kura and this also when the land was in its proper state, our thoughts were alive. But now friend we have fallen into the mouth of the Parata. You are right friend, to search for a way by which we the Maori tribes will prosper in circumstances. Listen all you young chiefs of all different districts, it is a proper thing that we should strive to find food for ourselves for which I hope we shall try. Christ did not come to the wealthy only, but to the destitute as well.You will insert these few words so that our Māori and Pākehā friends through the whole island will see them.