Hero photograph
From the Principal
Photo by TC

Ben Hancock —

Kia ora whanau,

Ehara taku toa i te toa takatahi, engari he toa takatini
(My strength is not that of the individual, but that of the collective).

As we close off the end of our first term under a new normal at Tauhara it is appropriate to acknowledge the journey we have taken together.

Our kura has evolved in many ways since our flood, we have built a new village of learning, we have developed a new pedagogical model of learning and made the challenging possible, in having our seniors on site as much as we could.

Did we get it all right? No we didn't, we set out to ensure that all of our learners had every opportunity to learn and grow as best we could. There are more wins than losses, more achievements than failures, and more importantly all of these experiences have been learning experiences for us all. We will continue to grow and develop in our new normal, we will be better together. What we have achieved already is something special, something to be celebrated.

The collective mahi that the staff and students have put into making this situation work has been outstanding. It has been challenging for everyone involved, change under the best circumstances is difficult, add in the complexities that we have had to overcome and it becomes evident that what we have achieved together has been amazing. We all acknowledge that we are not finished, we still have a huge amount of work in front of us on our journey to the new Tauhara. We look forward to working with all of our stakeholders to develop our new Tauhara.

We would like to thank all of our community for their ongoing support during this period of change. Your understanding and support has been amazing. We all acknowledge that there are aspects of our current situation that are not ideal, we are working hard to address these issues to ensure that the students have the best opportunities to succeed.

Over the term break we will be working on our learning programs to ensure that all of our students are on site, every day- no more home days. We know that our senior students need more face to face time with their Kaiako (teachers). We have listened and seen that it is difficult for our seniors to be in the hub all day so we will be working to ensure that they have more traditional class time and no full days in the hub.

Our offsite technology space is due to be up and running at the start of term two, this will allow our hard material subjects to have practical lessons. There will be minor changes to our timetable to accommodate the seniors being on site every day and not in the hub all day.

We have two new kaiako starting next term- Vaughan Tanner will take up a position in the hard materials area, focusing on metal work. Vaughan has a number of years experience leading technology departments and teaching in this area. Morgan Morrow will also be joining our Tauhara team, Morgan will be working in our junior school. Morgan has returned from playing professional rugby in Japan and is a former Black ferns sevens player. Morgan brings a huge skill set to our team.

We would like to acknowledge that we didn't get our recent reports to whanau right. The intention we had was to provide whanau a quick snapshot on where students were. Due to a variety of reasons these reports missed the mark. We have reviewed this process and have put things in place to ensure that we will be better next time. We are aiming to have subject specific reports out to whanau towards the end of Term 2 and then whanau hui week 2 or 3, Term 3. We need to be better in this aspect of our kura and communication.

We have already received some of the new classrooms for stage 2 of our village. While there has been a delay in their arrival, we look forward to having these up and ready for Term 3. These new rooms will provide a better learning environment for all of our students. We will receive two new science labs, two new food technology rooms and another six double classrooms in stage two.

This term has thrown a number of challenges at all of us here at Tauhara, but together we have worked to overcome these issues. Our values of care, courage and commitment were on display all term by staff and students alike.

If we reflect upon the end of 2020 and the position we found ourselves in, and then consider the potential situations that we were facing: no classrooms to work in, seniors off site and online learning full time, no PE facilities- we have done a great job in making the most of a very trying situation. We have overcome so many challenges already. We haven't solved all of our problems yet, but we have made a huge dent in them and are grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such a great community.

Wishing you a restful term break, and look forward to seeing you again in Term 2