It was another busy year for Kaupapa Maori at St Thomas of Canterbury College. We embarked on the journey of discovery with our combined cluster consisting of Riccarton High school, Riccarton Primary school and of course us. This initiative is all about lifting Maori achievement and providing strategies to help Maori achieve success as Maori. We were super excited about Matatini and its return to Christchurch after so many years. Even more exciting was the prospect of some of our own students being involved (Te Matauira Te Aika-Puanaki, Kaiu Reweti). Senior students were in attendance at the powhiri which was as expected a major undertaking. It was also a great time for whanau to re-connect with relatives from the North Island. We took a large group of students who thoroughly enjoyed the day and got involved in every aspect of the festivities. We also had many whanau involved in the preparation and feeding of all the guests who attended this amazing event.
We continued to support Maori student hui that bring our students together to celebrate their similarities and their differences and also look at ways to better aid their ability to learn and reach their goals. We celebrated with our other Catholic schools at the cultural evening which is always a great night. This is a great opportunity to see all the cultures combined to celebrate their identity. The students were given a different lense on dance when they attended the Tiki Tane performance in the court theatre this was produced by a Ngai Tahu promoter under the guise of Tiki Tane music. We worked with other boys schools in Christchurch getting involved in a Maori leadership program that was specifically designed for students who aspire for leadership within their community. This involved meeting key figures within New Zealand who have been involved with the police, army, government and even culminating in the meeting of the Governor General Rt Hon Jerry Mateparae at the final hui which I know was a major highlight for myself and the students who attended.
We continued on our successful ways at the Nga Manu Korero regional competition which was held at Te Kura Whakapumau. We walked away with 3 third place medals. Delane Luke receiving 3rd place overall in Senior Maori, Te Rakitaunuku Tau receiving 3rd place overall in Senior English, and Tahuora Himona-Burcher receiving 3rd place in Junior Maori. We were very proud of our boys and their effort and their commitment to practice and represent us with pride.
During Maori language week - the theme of which was ‘Whangaihia te reo’. This is about nurturing the language with a particular focus on parents learning to speak and using te reo Maori in the home. We also welcomed ‘Moko’, a carving that was produced by a Ngai Tahu carver and purchased by Principal, Christine O’Neill. It is symbolic of the journey from a boy to a man.
We started a new program with the University of Canterbury alongside Dr Maree Hemingsen. This was an amazing opportunity for our students to work along professors at the University in a Science initiative. The students thoroughly enjoyed learning new skills and having the chance to work and use the equipment available in the labs. Maree is keen for this program to continue next year as are we and two of our own Science Teachers are now working with Dr Maree which has been a great learning experience.
We have only been able to do all of this because of the boys and their parents and the wonderful whanau that we have here at St Thomas and the support they give us. We thank you for all the hours you put in and we look forward to another successful year in 2016.
Keri Campbell (Teacher) and Hoani Matehe (Student)