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Photo by Andrea Wall

Principal's Comment

Robin Sutton —

Kia ora koutou. Talofa. Kia Orana. Malo e lelei. Bula vinaka. Fakaalofa atu. Namaste. Kumusta. Haere mai ki Te Kura Te Huruhuru Ao o Horomaka. Warm greetings to the Hornby High School community.

Across all of humanity’s civilisations, cultures, and religions, there are many common threads of wisdom. As human beings, regardless of our background, we seem to settle on very similar beliefs about what we need to do, how we need to behave, if we are to live successfully together.

The idea that being kind to others benefits us all can be found across most (maybe all?) of the worlds great religions, whether that be Islam or Christianity or Bhuddism or... you get the idea. Similarly it seems cultures carry this value with them wherever they exist. This whakataukī captures it perfectly:

He aroha whakatō, He aroha ka puta mai

If kindness is sown, then kindness is what you shall receive

And we would be wrong to assume that this sort of belief is some ‘stupid piece of nonsense’ with no basis in western european science (assuming you need that validation for the belief anyway). Neuroscientists have established that kindness has measurable positive impacts on our brains and our bodies. Doing a quick Google search I found this:

“Physiologically, kindness can positively change your brain. Being kind boosts serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters in the brain that give you feelings of satisfaction and well-being, and cause the pleasure/reward centers in your brain to light up.”

Digging further you can find numerous academic/scientific papers that support the idea.

I began giving this message to our young people even before the Prime Minister made her now famous plea to the United Nations, but it is the same message. We ALL benefit from kindness. You can look at it this way: kindness is a most peculiar thing, the more of it you give away, the more you receive and the better off you are. At a purely selfish level, being kind to others is in your own best interest.

This doesn’t only apply to our young people. Our staff hear this message often, and in my 40 plus years of experience they are amongst the most empathetic and kind group of people it has been my privilege to work with. It also applies to you as whānau, in the ways in which you interact with our kura and our staff. We hold high expectations. We can all fall short of such expectations at times (we are all human, after all), but this is not an excuse for not trying. Whāea Chris McLaren has a wonderful saying: ‘Good manners are always in fashion’. We could and should equally say ‘Kindness is always in fashion’.

In the meantime we continue to celebrate such wonderful student success at both the individual and the group level, and every time I walk through our spaces I see engaged young people calmly focussed on their learning. It is a privilege to see and to be part of such a wonderful learning culture. Our rangatahi give us much to be proud of.

Please make sure you follow us on Facebook for the latest and most up to date news https://www.facebook.com/hornbyhighschool/, and on our website www.hornby.school.nz. You can also follow my thinking on our education journey at Hornby High School, and more generally, on my blog at https://whakataukihewakaekenoa.blogspot.co.nz/

Kia tau te mauri

Robin Sutton