Hero photograph
Photo by John Murdoch

Principal's message

John Murdoch —

Kia ora, Talofa lava,Kia Orana, Marhabaan, Bula Vinaka, Malo e lelei, Fakalofa lahi atu, Hola

Today we were joined by Ngati Toa school,  their Principal Kay Brunton, Porirua Principal, Vanessa Hendry , Ngati Toa Preschool and Grow and Learn Early Learning Centre honouring the victims and families of the Christchurch tragedy. It was an honour to share the day with our community and thank them for coming over to be with us at Mana College.

At a full school assembly on Monday and Tuesday, I had the opportunity to speak to the events of Friday 15th March, providing key messages to consider over this time and reinforcing the views of our nation’s leaders, Prime Minister, Rt Honourable Jacinda Ardern, and specifically our Governor General, Dame Patsy Reddy who indicated ‘that now more than ever is the time to affirm the values that we hold dear - compassion, kindness and tolerance’.

Today was the third time we met at full school assembly this week to gather together to honour not only the lives lost Friday afternoon, but remember the anguish and pain caused by this act, to all New Zealanders and specifically the New Zealanders whose families were praying at the Mosque. This is a piece of NZ history that we now own and will have to live with forever.

As I have discussed with the school this week, it is important we think of our Muslim whanau in NZ and at Mana College and consider how they must be feeling.

On Monday the end of the full school assembly, I indicated that if anyone wanted to contribute to a plan of action, possibly including fundraising they should see me at the end. I had over a hundred and fifty young people wanting to contribute to an action plan. Let’s continue to be reminded how powerful this level of caring is.

On Tuesday, a number of students designed tributes on large scaled cards which were decorated with messages of love. Some presented gifts and flowers, and that afternoon, we visited the local Mosque in Porirua. The leaders there met with us and spoke about this tragedy. Their message to us spoke of love, hope and thanks to Allah. We were moved by their kindness and tolerance at this time and they are just the same as us. Humans with hearts and family and love for all.

For our Mana College Community it is also important that we learn from this terrible event and actions the values we hold dear as a community, particularly our school value of manaakitanga, but also other common values of respect, tolerance and inclusion. It is vital we activate these values in our actions and behaviours and in our language at school, home and around the community. Our sympathy must pass and move to being more aware of diversity, inclusion and tolerance. It is no good to be quiet in assembly and speak with ignorance outside.

Follow the events of the day on the Live stream on our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ManaCollege/