Kia ora koutou katoa

This weekend we are honoured to be hosting the annual Bishop Lyons Shield cultural competition. This event has been running for decades and involves teams from the seven secondary schools in the Christchurch Diocese - JPII, Roncalli College, Marian College, St Thomas of Canterbury, Catholic Cathedral College, St Bede’s College, and Villa Maria College- in a hotly contested debating and public speaking competition. It has been postponed these past two years because of covid, so it is all the more special that we can gather this year on the stunning West Coast. Of course an event of this size – around 140 competitors plus staff – doesn’t happen without considerable time and effort from key people. I would like to acknowledge the extraordinary efforts of Madeleine Castle, Adam Baker, Jason Briggs, Leah Smith, and Jennie McMillan for bringing this event together. Thanks to our student helpers for giving up their weekend to host their peers. Special thanks to Joe Mason and Kylie Bellis from Greymouth High School for leading the Mihi Whakatau this afternoon on our behalf, too. You are all rockstars – THANK YOU!

Please join us for a celebration Mass on Saturday night at 6pm at St Patrick’s church. It would be great to see as many of you there are possible to share the Good News and celebrate our Catholic secondary schools and amazing students.

This week we had the privilege of celebrating Mass with Bishop Michael Gielen with the commissioning of the three West Coast Catholic schools. Thank you to Bishop Michael and the team from the Christchurch Diocese Catholic Education office for taking the journey to be with us.

No doubt you will have heard in the media that the PPTA (secondary teachers union) and NZEI (primary teachers union) are going on strike next Thursday 16 March. We will not have enough staff available to keep the school open for instruction and will be closed for the day. Students will be able to access support material to assist their studies online, however no teachers will be available to respond to the queries on Thursday.

Please feel free to drop in during the weekend to see some of the finest debating and public speaking you’ll see in any NZ schools or follow us on Instagram for updates this weekend (and other school events) @jpii.hs

Ngā manaaki

Renée Hutchinson