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Linda Miller, Principal
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Principal's Report

Ms L. Miller, Principal —

Tirohia ake rā ki te rae o Pukekura,

pūnehunehu ai,

Ka kume ngā awa rua tae noa ki kōnei

Te tauranga waka o te tāone,

Mū ngā pakitara kupu,

Tū mokemoke te whare nei

Kua hoki a Tōroa e!

Earlier this week we lost a great leader in our region.

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Tahu Pōtiki, former CEO of Ngāi Tahu, runanga representative, language expert and history researcher. His significant work in business enterprise, in education and in Dunedin civics has had a huge impact on our community and beyond. His work in revitalising Ngāi Tahu language and history has enriched the knowledge of our Māori staff and students, in particular Wairua Pūhou. His connection with Kura Reo has seen our understanding deepen of our special relationship with mana whenua and many of our Māori students share whakapapa links with his wider whānau. He was a splendid academic and a shining example of what a chief should be; humble, gentle, knowledgeable and confident. Above all, he served people, and wove his community together. We also acknowledge the whānau pani, his wife Megan and their children, Rīpeka, Tīmoti and Tūkitaharaki. Moe mai e te rakatira i tō atamira rau aroha.

Thank you to Whaea Joe and Matua Mac for your tributes.

It is fitting in light of Tahu Potiki’s passing that we proudly acknowledge the efforts and achievements of Wairua Pūhou. Last weekend saw the culmination of months of hard work and practice by members of the combined OBs and OGs kapa haka group as they performed at Te Hautonga, the regional finals of the Kapa Haka Competition. The pride and dedication of these young people was clear to all who watched and their near flawless performance a real tribute to them, their tutors and their whānau. Their bracket of waiata, haka and chants was both relevant and sobering with its overall message on the impact of bullying. The entry performance referenced the Prime Minister’s comment about March 15 being New Zealand’s darkest day and named the places, battles and environments where colonisers perpetrated shocking attacks on Māori.The first song was about remembering the attacks on the Christchurch Mosques while the third item acknowledged the Taranaki prisoners who laid the foundations for both Otago Girls’ and Otago Boys’ High Schools. The poi was about women being precious and nurturing leaders and reminding us that we should all be like mothers raising and caring for the world, for people and for our planet. The waiata-a-ringa (action song) was about remembering all who have battled for equality and education and the haka was about bullying at school, by the system and by people who have that mind set. The final performance, the wātea, was about the joining of like minded people, peace and community.

Wairua Pūhou was one of two groups who competed in Invercargill to secure a place in the national kapa haka finals to be held in the North Island next year. There is much work ahead for this group as they prepare new material and fundraise to cover the significant costs associated with their campaign, but with the dedication they have shown to date and the support from whanau and community they enjoy, I have no doubt they will meet success.

Last weekend was also the final weekend for Netball, and other winter sports are in the process of completing their competitions for the year. We have enjoyed some satisfying results and it has been great to see students participating in team sports both competitively and socially. We do want to work on increasing participation in sporting and cultural events in the future as we have concerns that fewer students are taking part than in the past. I would like to acknowledge the contribution of the many volunteer coaches, managers and administrators who make school sport possible. Next week is winter tournament week and we wish all of our teams well for their competitions which take place as far away as Nelson, and as close as the Edgar Centre.

There has been much in the news over the past two days about the increasing spread of the current measles epidemic. Of particular concern is the speed with which the number of cases in Auckland has grown and with tournament week coming up it is important that we are aware of the immunisation status of students attending. Although requesting immunisation status is not a requirement of secondary schools, we have included this in our updated enrolment form and we will be requesting this information from all other students between now and the beginning of next year. If your child is not immunised please contact the school office, if you haven’t already, and let us know. Should a student present with measles type symptoms we will then be in a position to advise you of this.

Senior examinations are coming up in Week 8 and all senior students should have started a revision programme by now in preparation for these. Actions required to ensure your daughter is on track for success in NCEA should have been discussed at the Student Learning Conferences last week. If you were unable to attend and your daughter’s mentor has not managed to reschedule with you, please contact them directly or the school office to make another time. There is some excellent information about study tips and ideas in our school Careers site which can be accessed through the following link. Please support your daughter to set up a suitable space for study and spend time revising.