Hero photograph
Mr Phil Holstein
Photo by Burnside High School


Phil Holstein —

Dear Students and Staff Welcome to our 2020 Online Yearbook.

This Yearbook is a snapshot of the highlights and memorable events of the year, and a record of the students and staff members who formed the Burnside High School community in 2020. I hope it will remind you of good times with friends, the new people you met, our diverse cultures, sports, cultural, performing arts events, your year of learning and striving to be better in all that you do.

The year 2020 marks 60 years since the school opened. This is a significant milestone, and two foundation students spoke at assembly at the start of the year. What should have been a year of celebration, and a special final year for Year 13 students, was overshadowed by coronavirus. I am proud of what each of us did in response to the pandemic and what our school achieved, as part of the community of Aotearoa New Zealand. Well done to you for coming through the year so well, in the face of so much uncertainty.

For me, this year is summed up by these two images:

Burnside High School

The wooden crest of Ti Kōuka, the cabbage trees that stand so proudly on our school grounds, is a memento to acknowledge the 60th anniversary of Burnside High School. 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.

You have all been shaped by what I call the Burnside Experience and what some people call the cabbage tree years. Ti kōuka are the constant. We see them each day as we arrive at school and, knowing that they have been there for not only the 60 years of Burnside High School’s existence, but for centuries, reminds us that we are part of something bigger than ourselves.

The second image is the tui nourishing itself by ti kōuka.

Kia whakarongo ake au

Ki te tangi a te manu nei

Tui-i-i, tui-i-i, tuituia –

Listen to the cry of the bird

Weave … weave … weave

This Tauparapara (chant) is the cry of the tui as it builds its nest and translates: bind, join, be united as one. What draws us together with others is what matters in life.

How adaptable we can be when faced with challenges and barriers! In 2020, we learned what it is to be locked down, locked out, bubbled, hand sanitised, isolated, socially distanced, masked, traced, and tested. Like the tui, we found ways to unite and work together. With technology and creativity, we were able to maintain our sense of community. Students found ways to connect, have fun, be supportive, while continuing to access education. How we respond to life’s challenges, makes us stronger and builds our confidence.

Despite everything, 2020 has been a successful year. To those who have, directly or indirectly enriched the lives of our students this year; the teaching and support staff, the Board of Trustees and PTA members, the sports coaches and other community volunteers and to parents and caregivers, I extend my sincere thanks and best wishes.

To those returning next year I look forward to seeing you back in February, refreshed and ready to tackle another year of opportunities and challenges.

I pay special tribute to those who are leaving school. Our school motto - Recte sic dirige cursum- Kōwhiria te huanui tika. Along this path direct your journey correctly – is yet another reference to the historical significance of ti kōuka, a centuries-old guiding point in the landscape. I hope you feel you have been guided through Burnside High School - that you have attained the qualifications you were capable of and that you needed, and that you developed the personal qualities and confidence to choose the right pathways in life. I hope you will remember with pride and affection the security, support, shelter, and strength of your ‘cabbage tree’ years. To you all I extend my very best wishes for the future.

To all who are committed to the Burnside High School community, and who have made 2020 such a successful year, thank you.

I am honoured to serve as Principal.

Phil Holstein