Hero photograph
Phil Holstein

A message from the Principal

Phil Holstein —

To students, staff, and whānau

Tēnā koutou katoa

We are in uncharted waters, with no reference book for this experience.

As we prepare to close our school for four weeks, and move into a period of lockdown, I wish to acknowledge and thank those amongst you who helped place Waimairi-iri/Burnside High School in the best possible position for what is to come.

My sincere thanks go to:

  • The Board of Trustees, especially to Charles Breurkes, Chairperson, for their support and wise counsel.
  • The Senior Leadership Team for their planning, strategic thinking and organisation; and for being a strong, cohesive team.
  • The Teaching Staff for their skills, the care they demonstrate for our students, and their willingness and commitment to provide ongoing learning and instruction.
  • The Support Staff for their tireless work to ensure the school runs smoothly, the work they did to make school as normal as it could have been, and the contributions they have made as we prepare the school for closure.
  • The Students for their positivity, understanding, co-operation, and support for each other.
  • The Parents, Caregivers and Whānau for the care, love, and support of their children; and their commitment to our school.

Thank you each and every one of you for the role you have played, and will continue to play in the next four weeks. It is now time to concentrate on yourself and your family.

As we face these uncertain times, I draw strength from tī kōuka, the historic cabbage trees that stand so proudly on our school grounds. Gavin Britt, a prominent local figure in the Burnside Community, explained the significance of tī kōuka to Ngāi Tahu and our school. Of the qualities of the trees he wrote: no matter what is thrown at the cabbage trees: wind, storms, fires - they have stood the test of time and they always come back, regenerate themselves and grow stronger.

Every day I look for the strength I need to provide the stability, support, encouragement and patience to handle the highs and lows that I face. This is te wero/the challenge that I give myself; and I invite you to join me.

As we adjust to a life where lockdown is our new normal, new routines and daily rituals need to be established; finding new ways to keep busy and productive, whether that be in learning or in working from home. We also have responsibilities and commitments to look after each other in our families.

During this time, it is important to be clear about what we can and can not control. While we can not control what has happened, we can control our response to the restrictions. Finding creative ways to connect with people, particularly during the two week school holiday period, will be important. I will still be trying to find a place for fun, for using humour, and for being grateful for what I have.

“Kia kaha, kia manawanui kotahi: Be strong, be kind.”Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister

Please look after yourselves in the coming weeks. Your health and wellbeing is critical, so do whatever you can to keep your own warrant of fitness maintained. Follow the government’s clear instructions, look after yourselves and your family. We are a strong community and we will get through this.

Ngā mihi nui

Phil Holstein