"Te Whanau Tahi, tū tonu mai".
What did that even mean? That was the question we asked ourselves when the 2015 Year 9’s were welcomed to our new school, Naenae College. We waited outside the school gates with some of our old friends from Naenae Intermediate and other kids we had never met before. Everyone was dressed in their new white blouses and blue shirts, standing awkwardly with their parents, waiting for the karanga to call so that we could be welcomed onto the school grounds.
We had never been to a powhiri before, so it was a weird experience. But nothing beat seeing all our new teachers standing there, freaking us out. It was like they were looking down on us because we were new! But then the shiny bald heads and hard faces in the front row of teachers turned to smiles, then we felt all good.
Matua Jennings did his whaikorero and so did Mr Forster from Rata St School. Then
Mr Russell also welcomed us and so did the Head Boy, Rajan. We were worried more about the ugly hot sun than the speeches. It was a helluva hot day and the staff of our new school made us sit and face the burning hot sun. They could have at least told us to wear sunglasses to the powhiri!
The one thing we remember from our powhiri was that first line from our new
school waiata: "Te Whanau Tahi, tū tonu mai." We didn't know it then,
but we do know it now, and it is something that our Learning Advisor always
reminds us to do -- to stand tall and be proud. Looks like the next 5 years are
going to be all about making sure we're meeting those expectations!
By Mafi Fale and Theodore Tavita