Hero photograph
Lesley Vehekite -  new Board Chair 
Photo by CGHS Publication

Tēnā koutou katoa parents, caregivers and whānau

Christine O'Neill —

We are drawing to the end of a very difficult and challenging term with one week to go.

Thank you all for your support around the learning of our young people and the public health measures we have had to implement. None of us quite knows what next term will look like in terms of the pandemic and the winter influenza season but we do know we have strategies to manage whatever that looks like. Currently our case numbers of students and staff isolating as household contacts or through being positive with COVID is looking like a steady plateau.

Next week I will email you with a plan for the first five weeks of Term 2 if the situation continues. At the moment you are emailing positive student cases to us on covid@cghs.school.nz and household contacts to us on attendance@cghs.school.nz. This has been very helpful for planning and we track the numbers through to the Ministry of Education daily.

During the holidays please use one email only (as it will be monitored) covid@cghs.school.nz and continue to send us the positive COVID cases and the household contact cases, both on that email address. That will enable us to look at the state of play and plan for return to school at the start of Term 2.

Our Board of Trustees has been well informed of the planning and very supportive. In the March meeting our Board Chair, Julian Bowden, stood down as Chair after two terms and our Deputy Chair, Sally Nicholas stood down as well. Both remain as trustees until the September elections. I want to thank Julian and Sally on behalf of our community for the leadership they have provided through some turbulent times since the pandemic started. In particular, the Board showed significant courage undertaking the Sexual Harassment Survey work, including Julian fronting media as Chair. The Board has also continued to work with the MOE through to a successful outcome for our rebuild. As Principal, I have appreciated the professionalism, strength and compassion of our Board leadership and our Board as a whole.

It is a pleasure to welcome our new Board Chair, Lesley Vehekite, and Deputy Chair, David King. Lesley and David are new arrivals to the Board last year due to vacancies. Lesley was born and raised in Tonga, then migrated to New Zealand at the age of 15. She is currently a Business Advisor for Pacific Island Businesses and holds a Bachelor of Applied Management Majoring in Accounting. In addition, she is currently undertaking a Postgraduate Diploma in Business Enterprises. Lesley has two daughters at Christchurch Girls High School / Te Kura o Hine Waiora, and she believes in equity, fairness, and partnership between parents and the school. Lesley also sits in the CDHB Tamariki Ora Well Child Steering Group and the SDBH After Hours Care Board representing the Consumers.

David King - Deputy Chair — Image by: CGHS Publication

David is married to a CGHS old girl, he has been involved with the school since 2016 when his eldest daughter started in year 9 and he has two daughters in year 11. He has been a member of the CGHS rowing committee for four years and is a passionate supporter of the school and the opportunities it offers its students. David's background is in journalism and public relations in New Zealand and the United Kingdom and he is Corporate Affairs Manager at Ryman Healthcare. He is also a Board member of Alzheimers New Zealand and a member of the Institute of Directors.

At the end of next week we celebrate Easter – a time to be with family, share food and love together and enjoy chocolate! In most cultures, there is some form of celebration around the changing of seasons and celebrating new life and hope. For all of us, we hope to see an eventual end to the pandemic and a return to more normality, especially for our young people. I hope you are all able to take the opportunity to enjoy family and friends.

Ngā mihi nui

Christine O’Neill